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What Is The Difference Between An 'External' Hard Drive And 'Portable' Hard Drive?

Hello. I have a question to ask you.

What is the difference between an 'external' hard drive and 'portable' hard drive? I also need to know what are the benefits of one hard drive over the other hard drive? Naturally, I would also need to know what the disadvantages of one hard drive over the other hard drive as well?

I know you are asking what the purpose of me having either an 'external' or 'portable' hard drive? Yes, this is significant question that you will raise as it usage is valid to warrant the type or kind of hard drive I need. I will answer you. I plan to use either an 'external' or 'portable' hard drive for backup purposes of folders and files I plan to store in case of hard drive failure. This is the end objective of an either an 'external' or 'portable' hard drive. At first and foremost, I plan to use it for accessing downloaded video clips for video editing purposes with a well known video editing software installed on my Windows 7 operating system.  

Please provide your own detailed facts, suggestions, hints, and tips; and/or the best possible well written, detailed and documented website links.

Please reply.

Thank you!
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RegulaOne
Asked:
RegulaOne
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10 Solutions
 
fleamourianCommented:
To my knowledge there is no technical difference other than form factor.  Portable drives being more portable (smaller footprint) so as to fit in your pocket/bag.  

Both types are subject to damage if dropped so a solid state drive may be preferable.
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
I suppose, strictly speaking, there could be a difference.  If I have an IDE socket on the front of my PC (and I do), and I connect a naked 3.5" drive to it and do a complete system backup, that is certainly an external drive but not what most people would consider a portable drive.

My own impression is that an external drive is a powered unit, while a portable drive is not.
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Daniel WilsonCommented:
"External" drives are often regular hard drives (as mentioned above, they can be SSD's) with an enclosure built around them.  As such, capacities up to 2 TB are not unusual.

"Portable" drives, if the Flash drives are meant, usually have much less capacity ... 64 GB being about the biggest commonly available.
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Jason WatkinsIT Project LeaderCommented:
I tend to associate portable hard drive as a device not requiring an AC power source to run, just the power from the USB/FW port.

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willcompCommented:
Portable hard drives are a subset of external hard drives and are based on laptop hard disks. As Firebar stated, they are powered from the USB port and do not require an AC adapter.

For your purposes, I recommend an external hard drive based on a standard 3.5" hard disk. They are more reliable in general and have higher capacities but do require an AC adapter. Some are available with eSATA connections. Both Seagate and Western Digital make very good external hard drives. You could buy an enclosure and hard disk and assemble your own external drive but it is cheaper to buy one already configured.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
7 out of 10 of the external USB and Firewire hard drives my customers have purchased have failed within about a year.  They said that they didn't drop them but I'm pretty sure that they either knocked them over or dropped something on them which is essentially the same as dropping them.
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willcompCommented:
I've had good luck with external drives so far -- both personal and installed for customers. Although the population is small -- about 10 drives -- haven't had any failures so far and one of the drives is 5 years old while most of the rest are are 1 to 3 years old. Most are Samsung Story Station drives and I just realized that I didn't mention Samsung drives in the response above.
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johnb6767Commented:
http:#36959876

I agree with that. My experiences with them, is that ALL of the failures have been the controllers inside of the case, not the actual drives themselves. I end up popping the drives into a system to pull the data off when they have failed..... And these are the ones that haven't been dropped (course you know how noone never owns up to admitting a drop though).....
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Jason WatkinsIT Project LeaderCommented:
I'll be the exception here and state that my external hard drives have lasted for years (except for one that has been dropped). My oldest is a 250GB drive from 2004, which still runs. Before moving an external or portable drive,  I make sure the power is off and the drive stops spinning before I move it. This has worked well so far, across numerous brands, though I tend to like WD drives.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
The two failed units that were left with me do have bad drives, I can hear them grinding or clunking.  I did notice that the 12V supply for one of them was sitting at 14V which at the least makes it run hotter.
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RegulaOneAuthor Commented:
@ fleamourian, DrKlahn, DanielWilson, Firebar, willcomp, DaveBaldwin, & johnb6767:

Hello.

Nice to meet DrKlahn, DanielWilson, Firebar, & willcomp! Nice to see again fleamourian, DaveBaldwin, & johnb6767! Thank you all for your responses.

I am closing this thread now since it has been inactive for a few days now.

Let me start with some fun facts! External: 4; Portable: 3. A close score!

Okay, this type/kind of question is where everyone wins, as long as we are not talking about Tinkertoys or Harry Potter! ;-) Reason: All your responses are all applicable to my initially posted question I have read. I have to say that DrKlahn’s comment alternate answer and solution I found most interesting in that I knew this but I didn’t aspire to put this same design towards portable drives. johnb6767 exemplifies this too where the external hard drive is just a hard drive inside. The ‘drop’ hard drive issue is interesting too. Again, I knew this; but it seems expert comments make the fact that dropping hard drives like a conducive factual experiment from experience. I take notice! The main difference I see is that external drives require a ‘separate’ power source and a portable hard drive the power source is not a ‘separate’ power source.      

All your comments answer my statement in my initial posted question, “Please provide your own detailed facts, suggestions, hints, and tips; and/or the best possible well written, detailed and documented website links.”; plus ‘differences’, ‘benefits’ and ‘disadvantage’ I desired in the content of my initially posted question.  

There are 10 expert comments regardless if you are an ‘expert’ per se or not. Therefore, 500 points divided by 10 is 50 or 50 points per expert comment. However, there is ONE “Accepted Solution”. Therefore 500 divided by 11 (11 is determined by adding one more comment to compensate for a greater number of points for the “Accepted Solution”) is 45.4545. Therefore I will award 45 points to the 9 “Assisted Solutions” and the ONE “Accepted Solution” will receive 95 points. So in essence, the “Accepted Solution” gets ‘double’ the amount of points from a typical “Assisted Solution”.

So… …who gets the ONE “Accepted Solution”???

After reading them, I found willcomp’s first comment to be the most inclusive in addressing the ‘most’ information I was looking for. This is the only fairest means I can see to address the “Accepted Solution” with factual information, comparison, and personal experience combined.

Again, I will like to thank you all!!
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