Need to replace external HDD (OT- not Windows related)


pokeefe0001

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I have an old 3TB USB3.0 WD My Book external hard drive that is dying. (Twice it has simply disappeared from Windows' view - once during a backup and once during a speed test. It had to be powered down and back up to usable again.) I'm trying to decide what replacement to get.

The disk is used only for Macrium backups so speed, while nice, isn't critically important. 3TB is the minimum I need. I could get more, but I take weekly backups of this driver to a NAS and 3TB fits nicely on the NAS so I'd like to stay with 3TB. The drive stays permanently attached to the PC - no need for it to be portable.

Some questions:
I've always assumed (based on ignorance) that an externally powered expansion drive was more stable / reliable / had longer life than a drive powered via the USB cable. Is this true, or is that obsolete nonsense?

I've been looking mostly at WD and Seagate, but I've also seen Verbatim (which I haven't always associated with quality) and Avolusion (which I've never heard of). Are these as reliable as WD and Seagate. (For that matter, are WD and Seagate still considered reliable?)

I've seen some WD and Seagate drives labled "old generation" or "old version". Are these something to avoid? I assume those terms are not the same as "renewed" and "refurbished" (which I plan to avoid.)

And finally, even though I don't need portability and speed, is there any reason I should look at SSDs rather than limiting my search to HDDs?
 

My Computer

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    Intel Core i5-8400
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    Samsung SSD 850 256GB
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    Air CPU + 2 case fans
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    Logitech USB of some sort
I have an old 3TB USB3.0 WD My Book external hard drive that is dying. (Twice it has simply disappeared from Windows' view - once during a backup and once during a speed test. It had to be powered down and back up to usable again.) I'm trying to decide what replacement to get.

The disk is used only for Macrium backups so speed, while nice, isn't critically important. 3TB is the minimum I need. I could get more, but I take weekly backups of this driver to a NAS and 3TB fits nicely on the NAS so I'd like to stay with 3TB. The drive stays permanently attached to the PC - no need for it to be portable.

Some questions:
I've always assumed (based on ignorance) that an externally powered expansion drive was more stable / reliable / had longer life than a drive powered via the USB cable. Is this true, or is that obsolete nonsense?

I've been looking mostly at WD and Seagate, but I've also seen Verbatim (which I haven't always associated with quality) and Avolusion (which I've never heard of). Are these as reliable as WD and Seagate. (For that matter, are WD and Seagate still considered reliable?)

I've seen some WD and Seagate drives labled "old generation" or "old version". Are these something to avoid? I assume those terms are not the same as "renewed" and "refurbished" (which I plan to avoid.)

And finally, even though I don't need portability and speed, is there any reason I should look at SSDs rather than limiting my search to HDDs?
1) Nonsense
2) I always use WD or Seagate. Just stick with a brand name
3) Please post a link to where you see "old generation" as a description
4) No, not if all you're going to use it for is backup storage. Either is fine, but no need to go the extra money for an SSD
 

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Last edited:

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    Windows 11
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    Intel Core i5-8400
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    ASUS PRIME H370-PLUS
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    Samsung SSD 850 256GB
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If you don´t need special software or a fancy box, consider buying an enclosure and a disk separately. It´s much more flexible (you can replace the disk easily) and the cost can be lower. Choose a good solid, metal enclosure.
 

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    Windows 10

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    Windows 10 22H2
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    Intel Core i7 7820HK 2.9 Ghz
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    Samsung NVME EVO 970 1TB / Samsung SSD (SATA) 1TB
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    1 Gb/s
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    none.
If you don´t need special software or a fancy box, consider buying an enclosure and a disk separately. It´s much more flexible (you can replace the disk easily) and the cost can be lower. Choose a good solid, metal enclosure.
Hmm. I hadn't thought of that. A vertical orientation (such as some WD drives) would be more convenient for me, and I don't know if any of the enclosures are intended for vertical use, but I'll look into that
 

My Computer

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  • OS
    Windows 11
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    PC/Desktop
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    Microsoft
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    Intel Core i5-8400
    Motherboard
    ASUS PRIME H370-PLUS
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    On board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung SyncMaster 2043BWX
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 850 256GB
    WDC 1TB NVMe
    WD 3TB external USB drive
    PSU
    I don't remember
    Case
    Corsair something-or-other
    Cooling
    Air CPU + 2 case fans
    Keyboard
    DAS S Pro (Cherry Brown)
    Mouse
    Logitech USB of some sort
I have an old 3TB USB3.0 WD My Book external hard drive that is dying. (Twice it has simply disappeared from Windows' view - once during a backup and once during a speed test. It had to be powered down and back up to usable again.) I'm trying to decide what replacement to get.

The disk is used only for Macrium backups so speed, while nice, isn't critically important. 3TB is the minimum I need. I could get more, but I take weekly backups of this driver to a NAS and 3TB fits nicely on the NAS so I'd like to stay with 3TB. The drive stays permanently attached to the PC - no need for it to be portable.

Some questions:
I've always assumed (based on ignorance) that an externally powered expansion drive was more stable / reliable / had longer life than a drive powered via the USB cable. Is this true, or is that obsolete nonsense?

I've been looking mostly at WD and Seagate, but I've also seen Verbatim (which I haven't always associated with quality) and Avolusion (which I've never heard of). Are these as reliable as WD and Seagate. (For that matter, are WD and Seagate still considered reliable?)

I've seen some WD and Seagate drives labled "old generation" or "old version". Are these something to avoid? I assume those terms are not the same as "renewed" and "refurbished" (which I plan to avoid.)

And finally, even though I don't need portability and speed, is there any reason I should look at SSDs rather than limiting my search to HDDs?
If you are using Windows, then your question(s) are not OT. :geek:
 

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    Windows 11 23H2 22631.2861
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    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-10700 CPU @ 2.90GHz 2.90 GHz
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    16.0GB Dual-Channel Unknown @ 1463MHz (21-21-21-47)
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    That's all Folks!
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    Intel Core i7 (10th gen) 10700
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    16 GB
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    32 Gigs DDR5-4800
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    1 Gb/s
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    MalwareBytes'
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    none.
Hmm. I hadn't thought of that. A vertical orientation (such as some WD drives) would be more convenient for me, and I don't know if any of the enclosures are intended for vertical use, but I'll look into that
Be careful - some external usb drives are built with hardwired Sata links i.e. you cannot remove drive. I always buy separate enclosures and drives.
 

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    ASUS Vivobook 14
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    Yep, Laptop has one.
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    16 GB
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    Integrated Intel Iris XE
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    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
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    Yep, got one
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    72 Mb/s :-(
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    ASUS ROG Maximus VI Formula
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    M.2 512GB
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    …still on a horse.
Another way is to have a caddy in a front 5.25 bay. Handy for hotswapping, slide any 2.5 or 3.5 disk in and out.

I generally use this sort of thing. There are individual power switches so could have a 3.5 disk in the bottom tray and switch on and off as required.

Dual-Bay-3-5-2-5-Inch-SATA-III
 

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  • OS
    Win7
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    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    i5-8400
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    gigabyte b365m ds3h
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    2x8gb 3200mhz
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    benq gw2480
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    bequiet pure power 11 400CM
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    cryorig m9i
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    win7
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    CPU
    pentium g5400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
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    1x8gb 2400
    PSU
    xfx pro 450
Another way - especially if using "Spinners" == simply get a stand alone powered (mains powered) USB->SATA adapter - then you can stand the HDD anyway you like including vertically. I've got one attached to one of the ports on my NAS and it's driving a 14TB spinner running 24/7 - it's been on for the last 6 months without any problems either. Another advantage is that you can easily switch the drive without a problem between machines without having to open and dismount the drive from the caddy.

Screenshot 2024-03-08 101814.png

Cost around €14 or equivalent. Works brilliantly and does either 2.5 inch SSD's etc or the older 3.5 inch classic spinners up to 20TB.

cheers
jimbo
 

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    2 X Intel i7
Twice it has simply disappeared from Windows' view
I assume you replaced the cable to eliminate the possibility that the problem is caused by the cable & that the disk itself is still OK.


Denis
 
Last edited:

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  • OS
    Windows 11 Home x64 Version 23H2 Build 22631.3447
So I should include portable models in the list?

Good. That was my thought, too.

Here's one that says "old model".
Here's one that says "old generation".
I can't find one that says "old version" at the moment, but I'm sure I saw one.
I have to believe they are differentiating between mechanical drives ("old generation") and SSD's (new generation).

I wouldn't overthink this. Stick with a brand name and an inexpensive external enclosure and you'll be fine.
 

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System One

  • OS
    W10, W11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    2 HP Desktops, 1 Dell Desktop, 2 Dell XPS Laptops, 1 HP Laptop
I'd just buy an external ssd with the usb cable for connection, Its pennies between them. Wd, Seagate, Crucial, Samsung, Adata are also pretty under rated.
 

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  • OS
    11
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    Custom
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    10700k@5.2
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    Gigabyte Gaming X Z490
    Memory
    Viper Steelseries 32gb@ 3600mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte 2070 Super 8GB, +200 core + 600 memory
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    ASUS 4k HDR, Two 1080p Benq and Samsung
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    3840x2160/2560x1440/1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Adata XPG SX8200 PRO 1tb
    Samsung EVO 870 500GB
    PSU
    Corsair RX 650
    Case
    NZXT h510
    Cooling
    CM HYPER 212 RGB
    Keyboard
    Razer Ornata Chroma
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    Steelseries Rival 710
Comment: I got 2 x 4TB WD My Book drives couple years ago, the package was marked as for PC or Macintosh, they were formatted as exFAT, not NTFS. I had a WD Elements 2TB that had died but it was the interface in the case, not the drive itself which I removed from the case, reformatted and use as a Data drive inside my latest Desktop.

Mac OS X can read NTFS but not write to NTFS without an additional app being installed hence the need for exFAT. Can't say if the newer macOS has the same thing.
 

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  • OS
    Win11 Pro RTM
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Vostro 3400
    CPU
    Intel Core i5 11th Gen. 2.40GHz
    Memory
    12GB
    Hard Drives
    256GB SSD NVMe
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro RTM x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Vostro 5890
    CPU
    Intel Core i5 10th Gen. 2.90GHz
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Onboard, no VGA, using a DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter
    Monitor(s) Displays
    24" Dell
    Hard Drives
    512GB SSD NVMe, 2TB WDC HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender/Microsoft Security
Another way - especially if using "Spinners" == simply get a stand alone powered (mains powered) USB->SATA adapter - then you can stand the HDD anyway you like including vertically. I've got one attached to one of the ports on my NAS and it's driving a 14TB spinner running 24/7 - it's been on for the last 6 months without any problems either. Another advantage is that you can easily switch the drive without a problem between machines without having to open and dismount the drive from the caddy.

View attachment 89484

Cost around €14 or equivalent. Works brilliantly and does either 2.5 inch SSD's etc or the older 3.5 inch classic spinners up to 20TB.

cheers
jimbo
Oh, my. I'm embarrassed to say that I have one of those somewhere. Sheesh!

I assume you replaced the cable to eliminate the possibility that the problem is caused by the cable & that the disk itself is still OK.
I don't have a spare cable with a USB3.0 micro-B connector. I did try another USB port and it didn't help. While it could be the cable, the failure happened only during big data transfers - a large backup and a disk performance test. I guess it would make sense to get another cable and check.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Microsoft
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8400
    Motherboard
    ASUS PRIME H370-PLUS
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    On board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung SyncMaster 2043BWX
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 850 256GB
    WDC 1TB NVMe
    WD 3TB external USB drive
    PSU
    I don't remember
    Case
    Corsair something-or-other
    Cooling
    Air CPU + 2 case fans
    Keyboard
    DAS S Pro (Cherry Brown)
    Mouse
    Logitech USB of some sort
Oh, my. I'm embarrassed to say that I have one of those somewhere. Sheesh!


I don't have a spare cable with a USB3.0 micro-B connector. I did try another USB port and it didn't help. While it could be the cable, the failure happened only during big data transfers - a large backup and a disk performance test. I guess it would make sense to get another cable and check.
If it happened while testing the HDD, I would trust that the HDD is on it's last leg(s).
which app did you use to test it with? It's not just for Seagate's HDD. I use it on my WD External drives as well.

Try Seagate's Seatools if not tried it yet and run a Long test from the Advanced tab


 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    windows 11 22631.3447
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    MSI Raider GE76
    CPU
    Core i9 12th gen 12900HK 2.9 MHz
    Motherboard
    MSI
    Memory
    32 Gigs DDR5-4800
    Graphics Card(s)
    nVidia RTX 3070 Ti / 8 Gigs DDR6
    Sound Card
    DYNAUDIO - Klipsch 2.1 THX - Sound Effects by Nahimic 3
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" 1920 x 1080 360 Hz 3 ms, IPS / Connected to MSI 32 inch curved @ 165 Hz
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080 / Both
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 990 Pro 2TB (OS) - Solidigm P41 2TB (Storage)
    PSU
    280 watts
    Case
    MSI GE series
    Cooling
    internal
    Keyboard
    Steelseries
    Mouse
    G903 Lightspeed
    Internet Speed
    1000 Mbps
    Browser
    Firefox / Opera GX- Do not like Edge
    Antivirus
    Malwarebytes'
    Other Info
    just ask.
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 22H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    MSI GT73 7RE VR Titan
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 7820HK 2.9 Ghz
    Motherboard
    MSI
    Memory
    16 Gigs DDR4 2400 Mhz
    Graphics card(s)
    nVidia 1070 8GB RAM
    Sound Card
    DYNAUDIO / Nahimic 2
    Monitor(s) Displays
    IPS / 120HZ
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080P
    Hard Drives
    Samsung NVME EVO 970 1TB / Samsung SSD (SATA) 1TB
    PSU
    240 watts
    Case
    MSI
    Cooling
    Internal
    Mouse
    Logitech G903 Lightspeed
    Keyboard
    Steelseries
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s
    Browser
    Firefox / Vivaldi
    Antivirus
    MalwareBytes'
    Other Info
    none.
If it happened while testing the HDD, I would trust that the HDD is on it's last leg(s).
which app did you use to test it with? It's not just for Seagate's HDD. I use it on my WD External drives as well.
It was just a drive performance test - ATTO Disk Benchmark. The drive essentially disappeared during the test.
Try Seagate's Seatools if not tried it yet and run a Long test from the Advanced tab


I downloaded and tried it. The short generic test failed but the utility gave no specifics. (That may be my not knowing how to use the tool.) I suspect the drive is truly failing. The drive has been in daily use for nearly 10 years so it's probably due for replacement.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Microsoft
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8400
    Motherboard
    ASUS PRIME H370-PLUS
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    On board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung SyncMaster 2043BWX
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 850 256GB
    WDC 1TB NVMe
    WD 3TB external USB drive
    PSU
    I don't remember
    Case
    Corsair something-or-other
    Cooling
    Air CPU + 2 case fans
    Keyboard
    DAS S Pro (Cherry Brown)
    Mouse
    Logitech USB of some sort

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