Flashmatic

USB vs External Hard Drive

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I have just joined the modern world of computing. I saw that because I've been using an old computer with Win 98. As soon as I set up the new one, I'll be up to Win7. Now, a have an external hard drive someone gave me and I have a flash drive someone gave me. Which is better for backing up important files and documents, or would you use both?

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I doubt the flash drive will have the capacity you want...though it depends on what you mean by backing up. If you plan on imaging the entire drive, you'll have to go external. If it's just documents, etc, then either is fine, but both is better if you have the patience.

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For important documents, I suggest that you use a CD or a DVD if there are many. Flash drives and external hard drives tend to have corrupt files when doing a backup. I'm not saying that a CD or a DVD won't have problems but at least you have a copy that won't be deleted or edited, unless it is a re-writable type of disk.

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True but then you're buying media, which is ultimately garbage. Meh, do what you want but drives are reliable enough for backup I'd say and often show signs of trouble before total collapse, so you have time to save your data. It would be odd for your system drive and backup drive to fail together, especially since they're different drives and possibly different manufacturers.

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First, welcome to the modern world of computing. :) I am still contented with XP and will not move to the newer Windows in the next future. Regarding the backing up, you can do both medias but if I were you, I would go for the external hard drive. Like what Brian implies, the hard drive should have much bigger capacity than the USB. A flash drive is designed to transfer data, not to store it.

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Thanks to everyone for the responses. I think I will make use of the external hard drive for regular backups and then use the flash drive as a secondary backup just for the most current important files that are updated daily.

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Errors on external HDDs - never had a problem...

I'd generally say HDD if its 2,5" and new - if its old, the Flash drive might be better, but they can fail just like that...

On an HDD that fails there is generally always a way to recover data - it might be expensive though...

If that HDD is old it might have been bumped around a bit and could fail sooner than expected - it could have been bumped around a bit and work for years...

There is no way to tell.

CDs - I prefer not to use them - too messy, and also way too small...

I'm personally relying on HDDs for backup... and I haven't got 2 copies of everything because I lack space to do so...

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The advantage of a flash drive for backups is it's much easier to carry it around with you, so if your house burns down there's less chance that your backups will go with it. Of course, it's wise to use Truecrypt or similar encryption for anything personal, just in case the backup is lost or stolen.

Personally, I backup My Documents, and a few folders for emails, saved game files, etc. - it totals less than 2 GB. The rest I can rebuild from CDs etc. - I'm overdue for an OS rebuild, and I'd probably take the opportunity to upgrade from XP to Windows 7 at the same time. I can live with the downtime.

If, on the other hand, you need to get back up and running as fast as possible, then taking an image of your OS partition every month or so wouldn't go amiss, and you can automate backups to external or network storage if you don't mind leaving it permanently connected.

So, you can occasionally image to the external drive, and also copy documents to that and the USB drive (encrypted) on a more frequent basis.

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