Need extra space - is using an external drive best?

Dell Dimension Inspiron 15, 3000 series
Only 141 GB of 435 GB remain. I need  larger capacity. Much of the material on the system is storage (files which I rarely access - photos, documents). What are the options of significantly increasing capacity? An external drive or??
Michael MurphyAsked:
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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Yes, I would use an external drive.  I have a WD 2 TB and it works great for this type of storage.

Portable or desktop...pick which one will suite your needs best.

http://www.newegg.com/External-Hard-Drives/Category/ID-344?Tid=23043

Look at all of your options...you can get 4 TB for around $130.

You could also look at cloud storage such as DropBox or OneDrive.

https://www.dropbox.com

https://onedrive.live.com/

The benefit of these is that you can access your files anywhere you have an internet connection, the drawback is that there is a monthly fee.

You also can't drop cloud storage in a puddle or lose it in a stolen briefcase.

You need weigh your options.

I guess for as complete coverage as you could you could do both...portable drive and cloud.

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Dirk MareSystems Engineer (Acting IT Manager)Commented:
Plus 1 for external drive they are cheap and convenient another alternative instead of buying an external drive buy Office 365 as it comes with 1Tb of cloud storage.

Pros,
You get newer Office version
Tb cloud storage
And your data is protected against fire, theft and hard drive failure

Office 365

DirkMare
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
I prefer using a network storage. A NAS device which has a RAID feature (RAID1 or RAID5) - is more reliable than single HDD based USB drive.
At the moment I have WD NAS of 4TB capacity with RAID1. And it is working perfectly.
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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Another option I thought of would be to also burn your files to DVDs for an added layer of redundancy.
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
The real issues might address these things:

1) Are you ever going to be moving the added storage around?  From the sound of it, it appears not because you are trying to augment the computer itself.

2) Do you have adequate backup?  Not really the topic here so perhaps a separate topic.

3) Do you have reason to work with the data in the cloud?  Also a different question.

I will ignore the backup question and the cloud question and address the computer hard drive storage space question:

I don't think that an external drive is necessarily better than an internal drive - and sometimes it will be worse with respect to data transfer rates, etc.  USB3 will approach but not surpass internal data transfers.  And, we see a few too many of the external USB hard drive enclosures fail.  That is, the hard drive itself is OK but the little black box that powers it and interfaces to it will fail.  When this happens, one is tempted to put that drive inside a computer.

The computers you listed include both a full-sized desktop and a laptop.  So adding an internal hard drive may or may not be possible.   But replacing the hard drive would be possible.

1) With either computer you could image the existing hard drive, transfer the image to a larger hard drive (or just make a clone directly if possible)  and replace the original.

2) With the desktop, you could add a large internal hard drive along side the current one.  This is mechanically no harder than #1 above and is a bit easier in that a clone doesn't have to be created.

Having the drive internal to the computer has some advantages:
- it takes up less room on the desk
- it can't fall off onto the floor as easily
- it moves with the computer easily
- the data transfer rates should be as high as they can be
- it's likely more reliable

I'm not "selling" this approach, just giving some characteristics if your focus is on the computer and not so much on the broader data storage approaches.  Surely those have their own merits.
nobusCommented:
since you have only one USB 3 port -  and i don't know if it's needed regularly for other devices ;  i would say this :
if you can use the USB 3 port, the external drive  (obviously also USB3) would be the easiest choice
other choice is an intern disk of bigger size - up to 4 TB - you can realise this by imaging the old disk to the new one, with Paragon free imaging soft : http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/download.html
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
I should add to my earlier list re: internal drives:

- somewhat less susceptible to theft compared to an external drive.
nobusCommented:
i can add also a detail  - with usb3 your disk transfer is nearly as fast as the internal drive
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