Your external hard drive is going to fail.
Every hard drive out there is going to fail at some point, the question is, when. Hard drives and CD/DVD drives are the components that fail most in computers. Why? They have a bunch of tiny little moving parts that break down and fail when they get dropped or too hot.
So what...? Most of you reading this know that hard drives are unreliable, and if I asked for a show of hands asking who has had a hard drive fail, the scene would look like a bunch of teenage girls at the front of a Justin Bieber concert.
I want you to know that there is a better way to back up your data and to store the files that you don't need with you all the time.
Backing up your computer: I use and recommend a service called Backblaze. This service automatically backs up your computer and any other drives you might have connected to your machine. It's great for making sure that you've got everything safe online, all the time. In my experience, it backs up and restores your data faster than Carbonite and Mozy. At the Apple Store, when someone would come in saying their computer was slow, Carbonite and Mozy were the first things we looked for. Backblaze however, does not slow your machine down.
Storing files online so you can delete them off your computer. This is a big deal for some of us. We want to have our files accessible, but some of this stuff just doesn't need to be with us EVERYWHERE we go. You can use Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, or many other services for this type of thing. By default, these services COPY files to an online location. So that means it's staying on your computer AND it's online. What most people don't know is that you can turn on Selective Sync so the files stay online and accessible to you, but they get deleted off your computer saving you space. Read more about it for Dropbox here, and Google Drive here.
If you simply need extra space on your computer and don't want to replace your hard drive: The Nifty Minidrive. This is a really cool device. Most of us have laptops with an SD Card slot on the sides of our computers for our camera cards that never get used. With this drive you can add up to 256 extra GB in your machine and the card fits perfectly flush with your mac. PC users: most normal SD cards will fit perfectly flush. The Nifty Minidrive is to make sure that when you're using SD cards for extra storage on a Mac, the card is perfectly flush.
For those of you who need an external drive to store a ton of data and need it really fast, get an external SSD.
You may have already looked into buying an external SSD but shied away because of the price. SSD's are expensive but they are cheaper than they used to be and I have a way to get one in your hands for even cheaper. Not only that, it will be faster and you have larger capacities available.
So how do we do it? Some knock off brand you order from China and wait 3 months for it to arrive? No.
Order a Samsung EVO 850 SSD from amazon. This is what I use for all the upgrades I do for my clients. This is the drive I use most often. If you want the fastest Samsung has to offer in this form, the EVO 850 Pro might be for you.
Order an external drive enclosure.
Unpack your items, put the drive in the enclosure, and plug it into your computer! The first time you plug it in it will need to initialize the drive. Follow this info graphic to set it up!
Now, as much as I love external SSD's and other small gadgets to store data, a normal old external hard drive might still be for you. I have most devices out there and still use externals, I'm just prepared for them to not work every time I pull one out. The bang for your buck on a standard hard drive is sometimes hard to pass up, but now you know some different options.
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Question: What has your experience been like using an external drive? Do you have some great ideas to share? Post it in a comment below!