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Tips on looking after your external hard drive

Posted on 2006-07-09
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Hi all,

Just bought my first external hard drive today (Seagate 250GB) and would like to know of any tips you may have on how to best look after it.

A few questions that first came to mind include:
* Viruses/spyware etc can no doubt be copied when backing up my internal HD, so a frequent virus scan of my external HD is recommended?
* Do they need to be defragmented like your internal HD?
* How do external HD's handle frequent power ups? Is it best to turn it on/off as little as possible?

Thanks for your help
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Question by:spirax
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nobus earned 300 total points
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>>   * Viruses/spyware etc can no doubt be copied when backing up my internal HD, so a frequent virus scan of my external HD is recommended?    <<  Yes
 >>  * Do they need to be defragmented like your internal HD?  <<  Yes
  >>   * How do external HD's handle frequent power ups? Is it best to turn it on/off as little as possible?  <<  if you cannot turn them off and on, what would be their use ?  Some might say that turning off/on decreases the MTBF, or life span, but nbowadays i have never been able to see a practical difference. so : turn it off / on as you like
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by:nobus
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...just wanted to add that you malware protection protects ALL your disks, not only the C: drive
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by:garycase
garycase earned 200 total points
ID: 17068958
There are two key ratings for hard drives:  MTBF (mean time between failures) -- typically in the several hundred thousand to a million hours or so;  and Power Cycles -- typically 25,000 to 50,000 for modern drives.   If you cycle a drive 10 times a day, it will still take several years before you reach the rated power on/off cycle design limits;  so it's fine to turn it on/off if you want.   It is true, however, that frequent power cycles are generally not a good idea;  so I wouldn't cycle it unnecessarily.   I have several external drives on my systems and I never turn them off (but I also never turn off the computers).
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