A question for all the computer guys

Discussion in 'Vintage Topic Archive (Sept - 2009)' started by nicadflyer, May 8, 2008.

  1. I have a old (6 years) computer and I have finally filled it's 60 gig hard drive. I was thinking of installing a second internal drive, but maybe I should go with a USB external drive instead. I'm thinking an external drive would work with the new system when this one heads for the toilet.

    Are the external drives just for back up or can they be used as the main drive?

    Is there any other things I need to know about USB drives?
  2. Strangerous

    Strangerous Member

    If you had the OS and all other programs on your external hard drive, then it should be able to switch to and fro whenever you like. BUT it is a royal pain in the arse to have it set this way, especially when you think about having to go into the BIOS / CMOS settings and "Richard's nickname" with options before and after every "switch".
    If there were any way that you could NOT try to use it as an internal drive, it would be the best way. Just my opinion, but YMMV.

  3. I've never tried it but I would think if the BIOS allows booting from USB you could use it as your main drive. I personally would go with an internal for the OS and if necessary an external for data / backup.
  4. Strangerous

    Strangerous Member

    +1 on that, just for the ease of use factor alone.

    I don't know if you've purchased an external HD yet, but here's a link to a 250GB External HD, it costs $75.96 + $6.98 shipping. So $82.94 will have it sitting at your doorstep.
  5. Mike_AZ

    Mike_AZ U.S.S. Member

    You could, but the performance hit you are going to take over USB won't be worth it. USB is much slower that your internal hard drive connection. Hard drives are pretty cheap right now, Taurus may even still have some for sale.
  6. Strangerous

    Strangerous Member

    I'd support a member of the forum before I'd buy from an online store, too. if the option was available.
  7. AGuyNamedMike

    AGuyNamedMike Lifetime Supporter

    Just get the external drive and start copying all your important data (pictures, songs, movies, game saves, Office files, etc) to it. Get in the habit of doing this frequently, and deleting the infrequently accessed stuff from your computer's internal hard disk to keep it from filling up. I wouldn't bother putting a new drive in such an old PC, you'll probably be buying a new one within a year or so. As mentioned, don't try to use it as a system drive. By being more proactive in your data storage management, you will get a better grasp of just what you have in there, and prioritize it appropriately. You can use it to backup data from all your computers if you have more than one by just carrying it around your house, and you can take it with you if you need to share ALL your photos or music with somebody. And one of the biggest benefits drive for data storage is that when the house catches fire, it's the only computer device you need to grab.

    I'm a computer professional and am paranoid about my data, so I have separate internal system and data disks on all my PCs for performance reasons, and have scheduled backups going to my media server, with additional scheduled uploads to a server at my work for extra protection of what I consider very essential data, but that is more expense and trouble than most would bear.
  8. Thanks for all the info.
    Do the USB drives come with backup software?
  9. i had an external and used it as backup/storage only. it was a pain (for me at least!) to set it up the other way. good luck!
  10. AndrewST

    AndrewST Guest

    I have seen a couple come with Norton Ghost, but transferring files to it isn't that hard. In fact XP and Vista both have back up features built into them for this purpose.
  11. I would vote for Internal for the boot/os drive, but you could certainly use the external drive for storage of files and even running programs. I don't I'd load memory hogging programs like hi-res graphic games etc. on the external drive due to the speed factor.
  12. AndrewST

    AndrewST Guest

    Yup. USB is a huge bottle neck especially if it isn't USB 2.0 which at 6 years of age I doubt it would be.
  13. best thing to do is move all the collected data from your current drive onto an external and leave the OS on the internal drive. Like the other guys said, its possible but its a royal PITA. Not to mention that external hdd's have a higher failure rate(getting plugged in/unplugged, cheap hardware for the adapter, etc.) Plus like they mentioned theres the speed issues of usb as well.
  14. My vote is for a large internal drive >250 GB. Leave your OS on your existing drive and put all your data on the new drive. When you do upgrade, you can simply add this "data drive" to your new system.
  15. AndrewST

    AndrewST Guest

    Yup, that is what I would do. Your system will recognize the new drive and it will work just like a folder in a sense. A new internal HDD 250GB and less would be cheaper than a lot of externals any way.
  16. Carbin8r

    Carbin8r Member

    Just pick up a new, larger, drive and move everything over to it. Newer drives simply run faster even on the same data bus as they have lower latency and larger internal cache buffers.

    Your system will run faster this way.

    Use the old drive as a secondary drive for backups, additional storage, or in another old PC.
  17. elguapo

    elguapo Guest

    That is what I do now. I bought a couple of HDs from our very own Taurus357, and used the internal HD as a External, with an enclosure that I bought. I got taught that lesson after last year, when my computer and HD melted down last year. On top of that, Taking an interest of my system, and basic system maintenence as well.

    Just because it boots up: dont mean that everything is hunky dory inside.
  18. Carbin8r

    Carbin8r Member


    There are two types of Hard Drives...those that have died and those that will die.

    Too many people fail to take that to heart and become laxed with *critical* files/information that exists only on their PC's.

    Newer systems have SMART capabilities, which *help* predict failures but that only is helpful for specific types of failures and is not foolproof.

    An external drive for backups is essential, as is *actually using it for backups regularly*

    Anyway, don't want to hijack this thread or go down the rathole of data retention and redundancy...