External hard drives have a bad reputation. When I recommend them, I frequently get push back from my clients. “Oh, I don’t want to use an external hard drive. Don’t they always die?”
Sure, statistically speaking, the average life of an external hard drive is 4-5 years. But, here’s the deal. In my Backup Bootcamp course, I teach how to create a central Photo Library on an external hard drive and then back up AN IDENTICAL COPY IN THE CLOUD. So, even if your external hard drive does bite the dust in 5 years (by the way, I have some that are older than that and still running great), it doesn’t matter because YOU HAVE ANOTHER COPY. In a few clicks you can restore your files from the cloud.
This is why I preach the importance of having one onsite copy and one offsite (cloud) copy.
In an effort to try to change the perception of external hard drives, I’ve compiled my list of reasons to use and love them.
reasons to use (and love) external hard drives
- Moving photos + videos (any files for that matter) to an external hard drive will FREE UP SPACE on your computer. Computers get sluggish when they’re bogged down and tight on storage space. Move all that weight onto an external hard drive and let your computer breathe!
- External hard drives are reasonably priced. You can purchase a 1 TB external hard drive for only $50 (this is the one I use). Instead of paying for an internal memory upgrade on your computer, you can purchase an external hard drive for MUCH cheaper. Plus, you can continue to add additional externals if you run out of space.
- External hard drives are SO portable and convenient! You can start a project on a desktop computer, save it to an external, plug the external into a laptop and continue working on the go. They’ll fit in your purse (most are smaller than a wallet!) so you can take them anywhere.
the external hard drive I recommend
In my research I found most companies have the same fail rates so it doesn’t really matter. This is the one I use if you want to check it out.
how to extend the life of your external hard drive
Pro tip: To extend the life of your external hard drive, try not to keep it plugged in continuously. My Photo Library is saved on an external hard drive that I plug into my computer only once or twice a year. (Since all of my photos are saved in the cloud, I can find what I need there just as quickly.) If external hard drives can live 4-5 years plugged in continuously, think of how long it’ll last when only used sporadically!
Another tip: If you use Time Machine on a Mac, I recommend purchasing a dedicated external hard drive for that. Time Machine should be the ONLY thing on the external drive. Time Machine is an amazing way to backup your entire computer (automatically!) but it runs constantly and will wear out the external hard drive over time. It’s best to keep your Photo Library on it’s own external hard drive.
Well, have I convinced you? Will you embrace external hard drives and all their glory?
[Yes? Then consider checking out this post with a trick to quickly download your entire phone’s camera roll to an external hard drive!]