18 advantages and disadvantages of external hard drives (2023)

In this in-depth article, we take a look at the pros and cons of external hard drives connected via USB, eSATA or Firewire. With the advent of USB 3, all modern PCs, servers and laptops now offer a very simple interface for connecting portable storage, and as we summarize below, external hard drives are perfect for dozens of uses.

The pros and cons of external hard drives vary, but you should consider all of the following points before making your purchase. And maybe this article can help you get ideas on how to use your existing USB drives in new ways.safety chain Backup-SoftwareCustomers use external hard drives for backups and replace the tape drive with hard drives. They're a great way to save time and money; However, each technology has its advantages and disadvantages.

If you have other ideas not listed below, please feel free to do sodie Emailus to inclusion. Thank you very much! Even if you are assigned to a university, we offer yougreat discountsfor academic and non-profit organizations that purchase BackupChain backup software.sales contactFor an offer!

Advantages of external hard drives

Lowest cost per GB:There's certainly no storage cheaper than external drive storage when you consider the added benefits it offers over CD, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc burning. Yes, the material costs of the optical media are lower, but realistically the labor involved must also be taken into account. Also, optical discs are very prone to failure and don't last as long as they should (see more details here://Backupchain.com/por-que-no-debe-usar-medios-opticos-para-Backup.html)
Today in 2014, a new oneSeagateThe 4TB drive costs less than $140, which is only 3.5 cents per GB!

Space:The main disadvantage of CDs, DVDs and even Blu-rays when used for storage and backup is that they give you very little space to work. today you can buy one6TB external hard drivethat around 9,000 CDs fit into a small 3.5" drive. The life expectancy of a CD is almost three years, an archived hard drive definitely lasts longer and provides backup speeds of over 150 megabytes per second (= 9 GB per minute) .
Whenever you need additional backup storage space, just buy another USB drive. External drives can be combined with Windows Storage Spaces in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 and even structured into a pseudo-RAID, see this how-to article https://www.winhelp.us/storage-spaces-in-windows-8.html

Ease of use (disconnect):Everyone should have an external drive to back up if you don't have a centralized backup server or NAS backup device. USB and eSATA drives are very easy to move from one PC to another if needed. With plug-and-play functionality, you can plug in the drive and the system will automatically detect the partition. On the other hand, not everyone can or wants to install an indoor unit.

Portability:USB drives are portable in many ways.
Physically Portable - You can quickly move many terabytes by unplugging the drive and plugging it into a new PC or server. Imagine how long it would take to copy 6 TB over network or internet!
Cross-system portability: Different types of operating systems and PC/Mac support USB drives; Therefore, you can copy data between different operating systems simply by connecting the storage directly to it.

Easy exchange:Imagine your primary hard drive fails. No, you don't want to imagine it unless you've already had that experience. It's a mess and it takes a long time. A USB drive is replaced in a minute. Obviously, having good backups is a different story. If you don't back up your external hard drive, you'll still lose data... and end up in disaster.

You can buy many and expand as needed. To max out your server or PC to, say, 20TB, all you need to do is buy a couple of USB drives. Ideally you'd hook them up to separate USB controllers for better speed, but even on the same bus it works fine.

(Video) Are Hard Drives Still Worth It?

Speed!Speed ​​is a major benefit of portable drives. We're looking at over 150MB/s reads and writes from a single drive. If the RAIDs are in a striped layout, each drive adds 150MB. Plug four together into a RAID-enabled USB bay and watch transfer speeds hit 600MB/s!
Data backup to CD and DVD is more like a tortoise speed compared to a modern USB3 external hard drive. You can rip an entire music CD in just a few seconds. By backing up your primary hard drive, it means you'll finish faster; less downtime; fewer complaints; wait less; and therefore potentially more frequent backups!

External hard disk storage can be combined.External hard drives are compatible with Windows Storage Spaces, a new technology included in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. Some speculate that it is a viable alternative to RAIDhttp://betanews.com/2014/01/15/windows-storage-spaces-and-refs-is-it-time-to-ditch-raid-for-good/

simple rotation: For backup and storage, you can easily implement rotation with USB hard drives. The backup rotation scheme (cf//backupchain.com/Backup-Rotation-Scheme.html) is a popular and cost-effective strategy for reliable backup with no single point of failure. Place one drive in a vault and plug in the other.Backup-Softwaredo your thing at night In the morning, unplug and swap drives. Do you want to make it perfect? Use a third drive and keep it at home away from the office. No setup required, just plug and unplug, add and remove as needed!

Isolation:USB drives are really impressive in many ways. Another big plus is the insulation. USB drives can be detached and stored in a safe, completely isolating them from the PC or server. When a virus or power surge destroys your computer, the drive is healthy and ready for a recovery operation. Many users keep their USB drive plugged in all the time, but if you don't use a backup rotation scheme, it's a mistake. The device is exposed to dangers from wear and tear, vibrations, viruses and overvoltages. When stored in the vault, it is fully insulated against even light flooding. A famous guy once said, "Only the paranoid survive". If your data is really important, you won't be paranoid about the idea of ​​isolating drives.

Unlike NAS, external hard drives can be used and formatted like an internal drive:This is another great benefit. Yes, you can use network servers andNAS backupdevices and access data from a central source over the network. However, in a single-user environment, it is much more convenient to use an external drive. First, it's much easier to use than a hammock. Second, the network has latency and speed issues, and it also requires management and maintenance.

Summary of all advantages:

External hard drives are perfect backup storage media and are a great alternative to tape, CD, and DVD backups.tape backupis rapidly losing ground to external hard drive backups. This is simply for the reasons listed above, including cost and ease of use. Many of the disadvantages of tape backup have been eliminated by using external USB drives; However, each technology has its advantages and disadvantages. External hard drives are the perfect storage medium for many SMEsVirtual machine backups.

Disadvantages of external hard drives

Speed:Speed ​​is actually one of the main advantages listed above as a pro, not a disadvantage, but there is more to be said. Especially when there are many drives on the same USB bus, data transfer speeds degrade because the bus is shared. Ethernet has exactly the same problem. It's cheap, and as you connect more PCs to the same bus, the likelihood of packet collisions increases rapidly, which in turn slows down the overall connection for everyone. If speed is very important, consider using eSATA or an internal drive. Software RAID might also be a good solution if you don't want to invest in expensive RAID controllers. But for most users, external hard drives are very fast, more than enough.
External hard drives can easily break: This is a big disadvantage. You can easily damage the external drive if you drop it. Electrostatic discharge is another common winter problem. To see//backupchain.com/16-coisas-que-destroem-seus-arquivos-e-seu-computador.html
Unfortunately, the drive isn't protected by a rugged case like your PC, so extra care is needed.
In the early 1990's we had 40MB hard drives that required a manual "park" command to move the hard drive heads to a safe corner so they wouldn't hit the platters during shipping. Fortunately, with modern drives this is no longer a problem. However, the risks of head crash and magnetic interference remain.

excessive heating: Internal drives are generally installed to allow adequate cooling from the case fans. Overheating can be an issue with some external USB hard drives. In summer and under heavy use, hard drives can heat up to around 50 degrees C or even more. You should choose a device with a good passive cooler design and keep it away from the sun and other heat sources, preferably with good ventilation.

(Video) Why you DON’T want a 20TB Hard Drive

same RAID🇧🇷 Normally, mirroring or RAID striping is not provided on a USB drive, but some enclosures and controllers have this feature built-in. Windows software RAID does not support USB drives, but Windows Storage Spaces does. Another solution is to buy a NAS backup device and use it over USB3.

robot: Corporate customers are generally very reluctant to use external hard drives. The potential for theft is very real as these small units are very easy to steal and hide. At lunch, a co-worker might take you for a ride, or a disgruntled employee might copy all your customer databases onto a drive and take them away before you leave work. therefore the unit itself can be stolen or become an aid to a thief. These are real questions and potentials to think about as a business owner.

External cabling and power supplies required (for 3.5" drives): Suppose you have 3 or 4 external drives on your desktop and each one needs a USB cable and a power cord. Now you have a problem: Too many cables on your desk and your uninterruptible power supply, also called battery backup, doesn't have enough outlets! And many users will complain that their desktop looks "unprofessional" with all those cables; Sure, it's not the cleanest way, and it's certainly not CEO-friendly. Also, you need more outlets, even if you're not a CEO.

Accidental Interruption.The more USB devices you have, the more likely you are to unplug the wrong one at the wrong time. Luckily, Windows uses a short timeout to free up writes to the external hard drive quickly, so you won't lose as much information if you accidentally unplug the drive. But if you have some important data on the drive, unplugging it at the wrong time may corrupt it.
Accidental disconnection also occurs when the computer is powered by a battery backup device and the external hard drive is not. Short, imperceptible power outages happen all the time and are long enough to damage and even destroy your USB drive. At the very least, the power failure will cut the PC's connection to the external hard drive and cause an error that may even corrupt the data file.
So use a battery backup device for your external hard drives too, and once it's on, you can't touch that!

Boot Windows from an external hard drive:The last disadvantage of external hard drives is that you cannot boot Windows from them. Some "hackers" have found ways to do this, but it's not generally recommended, nor will you be happy with the performance. We've seen people boot and work on virtual machines from USB disks. This seems to work well and gives employees the option to take the virtual machine home if needed.

What about backups and backup software for external hard drives?

External hard drives are almost perfect for backups, but if you really do store your work on an external hard drive, you should back it up, too. When connected to a USB3 or eSATA interface, the transfer speeds are similar to an internal drive, allowing you to run the backup process frequently without wasting too much time. However, many users forget to back up their work because they don't use automatic backup tools. If you use professional backup software such assafety chain, not only does it come with a task scheduler so you don't have to remember to run your backups, it also uses the registry to keep track of every file backup in case something goes wrong.

When using external hard drives for backup purposes, there are several things you need to be aware of, as some drives can interrupt file transfers intermittently: use a good quality cable (same goes for internal drives) and a good quality USB hub if needed. 🇬🇧 Some USB controllers also become unstable under heavy load, so if you encounter connection problems on the hard drive, it is possible that you will have to change one item at a time to find out the cause of the problem.

manufacturer list

I follow

Intel SSD drives

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CMS desktop disks


IBM storage systems





Portable HD Kangaroo

Apricom Portable External Hard Drives

(Video) HDD vs SSD || Hard Disk Drive vs Solid State Drive Explained in Telugu || satelugutechzone






Fujitsu hard drives


Digital West


(Video) Advantages and disadvantages of gear drive #gear #advantages #disadvantages

see also

8 Pros and Cons of Hyper-V Backup with External USB Drives

External hard drive backup software for power users: BackupChain®


What are the advantages of using an external hard disk? ›

An external hard drive gives you more storage space to keep your data. When you store data on an external hard drive, you can only access it when the hard drive is plugged into your computer. You can use an external hard drive to store files that you don't access very frequently.

What are disadvantages of hard drive? ›

Hard drives can be difficult to manufacture. Hard drives are usually physically smaller than solid state drives, which means that they have less capacity for backing up data. Hard drives are prone to scratches because they have a moving read/write head, and this can make parts of files unreadable.

What of the following is an advantage of a hard drive? ›

Advantages of HDD:

It works faster. Very cheap to produce. Fairly fast to access the data. Easily replaced and upgraded.

What are the advantages of disk drive storage? ›

Advantages of HDD :
  • Cost – A conventional hard drive will in general be less in cost than a Solid state drive of a similar limit. ...
  • Capacity – Limit as far as capacity limit there are different bigger alternatives accessible for a client in HDD. ...
  • Accessibility – ...
  • Life expectancy Another bit – ...
  • Non-Volatile – ...
  • Moving Parts –
Dec 21, 2020

What are the 5 uses of hard disk? ›

What does a hard drive do? Simply put, a hard drive stores data. On a computer, this includes all of your photos, videos, music, documents, and applications, and beyond that, the code for your computer's operating system, frameworks, and drivers are stored on hard drives too.

What are the disadvantages of using portable storage disks? ›

Using portable devices can increase the risk of data loss (when a physical device is lost), data exposure (when sensitive data is exposed to the public or a third party without consent), and increased exposure to network-based attacks to and from any system the device is connected to (both directly and via networks ...

What are the 2 types of external hard drives? ›

External hard drives fall into two categories: Hard disk drives (HDD) and solid state drives (SSD). HDDs are mechanical devices that read and write data similar to how a turntable plays a vinyl record.

What are the disadvantages of a USB drive? ›

What are some Disadvantages of USB Flash Drives?
  • Physical Vulnerabilities - While the physical form and size can be considered an advantage, it also makes the device more vulnerable to being lost, stolen, or damaged. ...
  • Connectivity - A single person operates a USB flash drive at a time.
Dec 27, 2020

What are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud storage? ›

Pros and Cons of Cloud Storage Back
  • Advantage #1: Disaster Recovery (DR) ...
  • Advantage #2: Access your data anywhere. ...
  • Advantage #3: Low cost. ...
  • Advantage #4: Scalability. ...
  • Advantage #5: Security. ...
  • Disadvantage #1: Lack of total control. ...
  • Disadvantage #2: Difficult to migrate. ...
  • Disadvantage #3: Requires Internet.

What is the disadvantage of USB stick? ›

Drawbacks and Disadvantages of USB Flash Drives

The files on the drives would become unreadable; the entire drive would become useless. USB drives do not have an unlimited lifespan as there are limits to the number of reads and write cycles. It is about 100000 cycles after that, the USB drive will fail.

What are the external hard drive examples? ›

Nowadays, there are three main types of external hard drives: HDD (hard disk drive), SSD (solid-state drive) and SSHD (solid-state hybrid drive).

How does a external hard drive work? ›

An external drive attaches to the computer, generally through a USB port. An external drive gives you more storage space for backup files, pictures, music, or particularly large files. External drives are also portable; you can move them between computers. This will allow you to share things like pictures more easily.

What is hard disk very short answer? ›

hard disk, also called hard disk drive or hard drive, magnetic storage medium for a computer. Hard disks are flat circular plates made of aluminum or glass and coated with a magnetic material.

What are the disadvantages of data storage? ›

1) Disadvantages of cloud storage
  • Vulnerability to attacks: Security vulnerability is another downside of dealing with cloud computing providers. ...
  • Downtime: That's because your cloud provider may face power failure, poor access to the internet, maintenance of services, etc.
Sep 28, 2022

What are two disadvantages of local storage? ›

Disconnecting the drives from the network makes your data safe from attacks. The downsides to local storage are major. Creating and maintaining a local storage system is expensive. The hardware and software can cost thousands of dollars depending on how much space you need.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of state? ›

​Introduction:​ Paraphrase the question/topic and briefly mention some of the advantages and disadvantages you will discuss in the paper. ​Body Paragraph One:​ Introduce the main advantage. Give supporting details and examples. ​Body Paragraph Two:​ Introduce the main disadvantage.

What are two disadvantages of SSD? ›

SSD Disadvantages:
  • Price: The biggest disadvantage of a solid state drive is the cost. ...
  • Recovery of Lost Data: The inability to recover old data is one of the biggest disadvantages of a SSD. ...
  • Storage Capacity: Solid state drives are highly expensive and are sold with a hefty price tag unlike conventional HDDs.

What is better than an external hard drive? ›

The difference between hard drives and solid state drives is in the technology used to store and retrieve data. The table below illustrates some of the differences. HDDs are cheaper and you can get more storage space. SSDs, however, are incredibly faster, lighter, more durable, and they use less energy.

What are the features of external hard drive? ›

An external hard drive is a portable storage device that can be attached to a computer through a USB or FireWire connection, or wirelessly. External hard drives typically have high storage capacities and are often used to back up computers or serve as a network drive.

What are the 3 different drive types? ›

These names come from the way they connect to the computer. So, there are PATA hard drives, SATA hard drives, SCSI hard drives, and NVMe drives.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an internal hard drive? ›

A hard disk drive is good as it can contain a lot of data as is faster than DVDs. It is also easily changed which is good as technology is always changing something new to develop, so this is handy. But one of the biggest disadvantages is that, If it crashes and the computer does not work and your data will lose.

What are three advantages of hard disk drives? ›

5 Benefits of using HDD for Data Storage
  • HDDs are more affordable compared to other data storage devices. ...
  • HDDs are readily available in the market. ...
  • HDDs have a larger storage base capacity. ...
  • HDDs have a non-volatile memory. ...
  • HDDs have a longer lifespan.

Are external hard drives still worth it? ›

SSD external hard drives easily outperform their traditional rivals: the mechanical hard drives. This is because these external SSDs are faster, more durable, and efficient and have higher portability. They even manufacture external SSD for gaming now.

Is it OK to leave external hard drive plugged in all the time? ›

Can you leave an external hard drive plugged in all the time? Yes, no problem. Might be a good idea to have it spin down when not in use for a while - most disks come with a configuration program to do this, if it's not already the default.

What is hard disk and its advantages? ›

It is said to be rigid magnetic disc that stores data. It is located within a drive unit. Hard disk is a non-volatile storage device that contains platters and magnetic disks rotating at high speeds. Non-volatile means the data retains when the computer shuts down. It is installed internally in our computer systems.

How long does an external hard drive really last? ›

The average lifespan for an external hard drive, assuming no physical damage occurs, is around 3-5 years, depending on the make, model and conditions it is stored in. If you're using an external hard drive to back up your data, you might want to consider replacing it every few years to ensure your data is safe.

How reliable are hard drives? ›

With an average age of 80.4 months (almost 7 years), the AFR of the drives is a mere 0.11%, with only 1 out of 886 drives failing during 2021.

Can a hard drive last 10 years? ›

Unlike film, records, cassettes and CDs, hard drives have a lifespan of only three to five years – maybe 10 at the most – so it's probably time to think about how to preserve that data over the long run.

What happens if you just unplug an external hard drive? ›

Pulling a memory card out of its reader or removing an external drive out of the USB port could cause corrupted files, unreadable media or both. Ejecting your external storage safely decreases these chances.

How often do hard drives fail? ›

The first segment links to the first year and a half where 5% of the hard drives fail per year. The high initial failure rate can be chalked up to manufacturing defects. Every batch of hard drives will have a few lemons. After that, the failure rate levels out to 1% per year.


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