? for Grant re external hard drives

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13 years 11 months ago #13750 by Sue
Grant, what are your thoughts on the 640Gb external hard drives being advertised for $199? I am interested to hear more-remember I'm no computer whizz so please use plain simple words for the elderly[;)]

Are they any good for back up, storing photos etc and can you just plug them in and update what is saved , like documents, family trees, photos etc. My puter is slow with all the guff I've got on it and I need somewhere else to store it and these look an option without buying a new computer and starting again!

Would be interested to hear what you think and how long they last etc
Thanks!

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13 years 11 months ago #211769 by Simkin
Hi Sue,

I'm not Grant but we've bought a 240GB external hard drive recently (that was before these bigger ones came onto the market). They are brilliant for storing photos etc. As it is external we can just pull out the power supply cable when we don't need it. When the power for the external hard drive is on, the computer is even slower.

It is also excellent peace of mind because I now have two copies of my most important files and if one hard drive packs up I still have the other one. I have DVD copies, too, but as they are not rewritable they 'age' quite quickly.

Installing it was straight forward. It came with a CD and we just put it into the DVD drive, the prompts came up and after a few times hitting 'Enter' it was installed and ready to use.

Most computers also have the appropriate slots (in the box) to put one or two extra hard drives in. They are quite cheap and available from Trademe. Our sons have also put in extra RAM (was about 60 Dollars) and that made our old computer almost as fast as a newer one!

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13 years 11 months ago #211786 by Sue
Thats helpful Simkin-when I bought this computer 4 years ago, the chap who came to deliver it transplanted the old hard drive into this one as well to double its capacity. But now I no longer need the stuff on the old Hard drive 120gbs I was wondering if I deleted it all that it would help the speed as well and give me more room? But then the question is-can I delete it on the old hard drive and not delete which I have subsequently shifted over? I'll have to have a little play this afternoon if the weather turns nasty!

So these external hard drive need an extra power source as well, or do they just plug into the box like a flash drive? Sorry to be computer iliterate-I just press buttons till the right thing seems to happen!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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13 years 11 months ago #211793 by GrantK

Sue;185963 wrote: Grant, what are your thoughts on the 640Gb external hard drives being advertised for $199?
...
Are they any good for back up, storing photos etc and can you just plug them in and update what is saved , like documents, family trees, photos etc.

I think they are a great idea Sue. The price is not much more than a 640GB drive on its own, so they are excellent value. To give you the comparison, one of my sons just bought a new 640GB drive yesterday to install inside his computer. It cost $142 wholesale including GST and Freight.

Be aware though, that they are not as safe as archiving your files to DVD. However, they are so much more convenient that it will probably mean you do backups more regularly which is always a good thing :)

Sue;185988 wrote: Thats helpful Simkin-when I bought this computer 4 years ago, the chap who came to deliver it transplanted the old hard drive into this one as well to double its capacity. But now I no longer need the stuff on the old Hard drive 120gbs I was wondering if I deleted it all that it would help the speed as well and give me more room?

I don't think it will give you any more speed, but it will definitely give you more room [8D]

Sue;185988 wrote: But then the question is-can I delete it on the old hard drive and not delete which I have subsequently shifted over?

Yes, you can, but be careful that you are deleting from the old drive (probably D: or E: ) rather than C: which is your new drive!

To be sure, I would make a DVD backup of the files you plan to delete first.

Sue;185988 wrote: So these external hard drive need an extra power source as well, or do they just plug into the box like a flash drive?

Generally they need an extra power source, in the form of a "Plug-pack" power adaptor.

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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13 years 11 months ago #211796 by wyseyes
Have a look at www.pconlineshop.co.nz , they have 600Gb external drives for $148 incl gst, plus probably $8 freight.

Most external HDs come with a little external black AC power pack, and a USB cable.

Your internal 130Gb HD - if you have copied all your useful files to your new/other drive, then yes you can delete all the unwanted files. This will give you room to store more stuff, but won't help the speed at all.

Usually the speed of the computer is linked to the memory (RAM), the processor (GHz), and the amount of installed programs. It may be a little cleaning out of the installed programs could help.

I see you shiver in anticip......................................................................................ation

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13 years 11 months ago #211835 by Sue
Thanks guys for that info. I was getting so frustrated what with dial up at around 34kbs and a slow computer I was getting really frustrated! Now I have got mobile Broadband as we can't get ordinary BB here, I've tried several times. At least I'm up to 115.2kbs speed now-which helps-plus people can reach me on the phone!

I knew half of the speed problem was clogged computer, so that is when I started putting photo folders on DVD, cleaning out various programmes I didn't use anymore, deleting old sent emails etc and got the free space from 8% to 25% and was able to Defrag as well! So I am on a roll! Perhaps I don't need another computer, just clean up this one!

That is interesting about not being as safe for storing as DVDs, I thought they had a set lifespan-say for storing photos.

Now another dumb question-you all mention DVD rather than CD's-what is the difference please? I've put some photo folders on to CD.R-is this OK?

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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13 years 11 months ago #211837 by GrantK

Sue;186042 wrote: Thanks guys for that info. I was getting so frustrated what with dial up at around 34kbs and a slow computer I was getting really frustrated! Now I have got mobile Broadband as we can't get ordinary BB here, I've tried several times. At least I'm up to 115.2kbs speed now...

Telecom's Mobile Broadband cards always report 115.2kbps, but that is misleading. In practice, it is usually much faster. Try the Speed Test on this web site using the Auckland server:

www.speedtest.net/

Sue;186042 wrote: That is interesting about not being as safe for storing as DVDs, I thought they had a set lifespan-say for storing photos.

The magnetism on a Hard Drive will gradually disappear over time unless it is refreshed, which happens whenever you use it.

So, the comment about not being as safe was intended to refer to 2 situations:

- Where you simply put a Hard Drive in the cupboard and don't use it for many years. Eventually, it will become unreadable but that could take decades, so as long as you keep using the drive, it should be fine unless it fails completely as mentioned below.

- Hard Drives are inherently less reliable than Optical Media and will eventually fail. However, I have some hard drives that are well over 10 years old and they are still going fine, whereas others failed within a couple of years. In reality, a Hard Drive is a ticking time-bomb waiting to go off, so you should always make backups for long-term archival on Optical Media.

Sue;186042 wrote: Now another dumb question-you all mention DVD rather than CD's-what is the difference please? I've put some photo folders on to CD.R-is this OK?

CD-Rs are excellent for long-term archival, in fact they are one of the best. There are 2 reasons that they aren't used so much nowadays:

- Capacity is very small compared to a DVD

- You can only write once to a CD-R compared to many times (typically 1000) for a CD-RW or DVD+/-RW.

There are 2 types of DVD RW: DVD+RW and DVD-RW.

Different schools of thought recommend either or both for various applications. Personally, I use DVD+RW for backups. I can backup 30GB or so of data in less than 2 hours, including verification of each disc. This is much slower than an external hard drive, but it is much more reliable in the long term.

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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13 years 11 months ago #211849 by Sue
Thanks for that tit bit-so download speed is 268kbps and upload is 66kbps. I used the Wellington one as we are 50 miles away.
Good or bad?

Thank you so much for the additional info. re Cd's v DVD's.

I hope that helped some other folks as much as it has helped me get to understand my computer a bit more.

Yes I found a CD was a bit limited for photo storage space, so now I know what to get I'll put a whole lot more on DVD+RW. Does that mean you can put all your photo folders on, then say weekly, or monthly, put the DVD back in and re save the folders as some might have new photos added-like the cow ones!!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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13 years 11 months ago #211865 by GrantK

Sue;186057 wrote: Thanks for that tit bit-so download speed is 268kbps and upload is 66kbps. I used the Wellington one as we are 50 miles away.
Good or bad?

Those are good speeds for an outlying area Sue. I have a similar card, and those are the kinds of speeds I get if I'm quite some distance from the nearest cell site. When you compare it to dial-up at 40kbps or so, your speed of 268kbps is pretty good really. And there are no wires to get dug up or flooded with water [8D]

By the look of it, you are getting "Rev.A" coverage (a small A should be visible in the Watcher program).

If you were in a more remote area, you would only get 1X coverage, which is about half the speed you are currently getting.

Sue;186057 wrote: Yes I found a CD was a bit limited for photo storage space, so now I know what to get I'll put a whole lot more on DVD+RW. Does that mean you can put all your photo folders on, then say weekly, or monthly, put the DVD back in and re save the folders as some might have new photos added-like the cow ones!!

Yes, exactly :)

That's the benefit of using RW discs rather than ordinary R versions. You just overwrite any existing files, and save new ones, as much as 1000 times per disc. That should keep you going for quite a while :)

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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13 years 11 months ago #211877 by Sue
Now you've got me :confused:

By the look of it, you are getting "Rev.A" coverage (a small A should be visible in the Watcher program).

If you were in a more remote area, you would only get 1X coverage, which is about half the speed you are currently getting.


In the Watcher window I have only the first 2 columns of the bar graph thingy lit up, then there is a 1X highlighted, then EVDO over an A, then
an unhglighted R in a box (non roaming)

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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13 years 11 months ago #211885 by GrantK

Sue;186087 wrote: In the Watcher window I have only the first 2 columns of the bar graph thingy lit up

This means 2 bars of signal strength out of a possible 5 i.e. still perfectly usable although speed will be lower than if you had 5 bars.

Sue;186087 wrote: there is a 1X highlighted, then EVDO over an A,

Both 1X and EVDO Rev.A coverage are available. This is a good thing as Rev.A is much faster :)

Do you know about using the Data Byte Counter to keep an eye on your usage Sue?

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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13 years 11 months ago #211926 by Sue
No I don't Grant, but would love to, if it's not too complicated!

I have been trying to get connected to a link through Telecom that is meant to keep track of useage for the month, and give an alert at whatever % you choose to be alerted-I did that bit I think, but when I try to find out what I've already used it goes on about Cookies all the time and I go round and round in circles!

Thanks for enlightening me on the meanings for 1X and A. ;-)

This forum is just the best for finding such a wealth of information on a myriad of subjects. Hope all my questions are not too dumb sounding and there might be others that will benefit from your wisdom-Thanks!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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13 years 11 months ago #211930 by Simkin
Hi Sue,

if your computer was new 4 years ago then it should be reasonably fast. Our fastest one is about 5 years old and its speed is 2.8 GHz. The more modern ones have dual core processors and their speed is around 3.2GHz. Not much difference I'd say (unless you want to play high-end computer games).

My sons have made a 10 year old computer (almost) as fast as a 5 year old computer with additional RAM - thats different from a hard drive. RAM stands for Random Access Memory. RAM is used while working on the computer, for instance for keeping track of the position of the cursor - things you don't want to store.

We clean up our computer every now and then with SPYBOT - it's a program that finds and removes spyware and it is amazing how many 'trespassers' are found. Spybot can be downloaded for free from

www.download.com/Spybot-Search-Destroy/3...8022_4-10122137.html

We found that removing spyware speeds up a computer significantly.

I don't know whether you remember but a while ago PG started a thread about her harddrive packing up - all her precious photos gone. That can happen with an external harddrive just as likely as with an internal harddrive. If you use a DVD you are much safer unless you break it or scratch it badly.

We use DVD-R because they cost only about half of what DVD-RW cost and save photos and files every now and then and put them away for safekeeping. I also have two USB drives (little things that can be plugged into a USB port) to save important files. I even can change the files on the USB drive and can take them with me and load them on a different computer like a laptop.

Our boys carry a USB drive each on a string around their necks - kids do that sort of thing just in case they get the opportunity to get a game or a file or a song or whatever from someone. They are little portable harddrives - 2GB is a common capacity but there are bigger ones.

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13 years 11 months ago #211934 by Sue
Thanks for the extra info Simkin. Yes I have a little 1GB USB drive which I take on holiday to download photos on to from my digital camera, as the memory stick only takes 56, and I'm too tight to get a bigger one!
I also took a a 40 page family history to UK for the rellys on it, much lighter than carrying paper, although I did burn a CD of it to give to each of my cousins as well.

I'll have to find out what GHz this is-where do I look?! No I only play cards on the puter, not high speed games!

Now I'm just off to look at the Spybot thing-sounds like some weird disease!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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13 years 11 months ago #211936 by Simkin
I don't know where to look for the GHz - I only call out 'hey, boys, how many GHz has this computer and that computer and then they tell me :D

... so I just called out 'where can I see how many GHz this computer has and in an instant they both stood behind me and brought it up:

press 'winky' and Pause/Break simultanously and then a pop-up window appears. 'Winky' is the button with the 'window symbol' between 'Control' and 'Alt' and 'Pause/Break' is where the 'Delete' and 'Insert' keys are.

Learnt something new today :)

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