Reliable Portable Hard Disk Options

Hey guys,

I need a hard drive to back up and also use as portable storage for important work documents.
Been using a Toshiba Canvio, but the connection seems to have got a bid dodgy with wear and tear.
Also wary of Seagate failures mentioned on deals.

So sounds like probably I should jump on WD deal when it comes up next?

Is a desktop plug in one any safer than a portable one?
Also is it worth getting one which can be dismantled so that at least if there's some problems with the enclosure you can recover the drive?




  • +2 votes

    If you go for a portable beware that some of the drives inside don't have SATA interfaces but have a USB interface on board. Also avoid drives with hardware encryption like MyPassport or MyBook as they cannot be decrypted without the original hardware.

    BTW I've read complaints about USB drive connectors wearing out. It's better to leave the cable with the drive and unplug the USB A end from the computer.


      Everything you've said is true but it's poor practice to only have one copy. If you need to dismantle the drive your backup plan has already failed.

      • +1 vote

        I have said nothing about my backup practices. Also there are valid reasons to dismantle. In one case the adaptor electronics failed but the drive was fine and could be used elsewhere.


    There are equal amounts of wd and seagate failures if you look hard enough.

    If failure is a real concern then spend a bit more and get a portable ssd (or buy a external case for the ssd)


    If you are worried about connection wearing out or having the ability to dismantle, you can buy a 2.5 inch laptop hard drive and use it with a USB3.0 HDD enclosure. However do note that 2TB naked drives are hard to come by. 1TB is common.

    That being said, there isnt any compiled list of drives which come with SATA connections (which means it can be taken out of the case as some boards are soldered on). But if you browse PS4 Reddit or forums, there are discussions on this as players normally buy off the shelf portable HDD and rip it apart for PS4 upgrades.

  • +1 vote

    I have three and a half back ups running on schedule:

    An image of my machine to my NAS [Weekly]
    A bootable drive (USB Flash) [Hourly]
    Crucial files to cloud via rclone (OneDrive & Google Cloud) [Twice Daily]

    And finally, an image on an external desktop drive I run every three months - this gives me a good baseline to return to in the event of failure or I am not satisfied with the hourly backup.

    When the Flash starts to wear I'll replace it, they're cheap enough.

    My Mac has two internal SSDs but the OS and files generally only take up 20-25gb. Everything else (i.e. movies etc) is on the external and doesn't get backed up. I'm really not bothered if I lose it. It can be replaced. Family photos on the other hand…

    ** tl:dr - have multiple back ups - don't rely on one drive.


    Would a portable SSD be better? Granted the data you are trying to protect is worth the extra cost.

    • +4 votes

      To be honest, I think backups are best done on mechanical HDD. Because SSD also do fail and if they fail it is sudden, whereas mechanical HDD fail over time and you have opportunities to copy out as much as possible before it totally breaks down. The extra cost for SSDs is for read/write speed, not security of data. That is why people mainly use SSDs for the OS drive and you would have a secondary HDD. This is a common misconception.


        Thanks. I just learned something.


        Yes they go out with a bang, no warning, at least a hdd gives a little notice, and can sometimes be coaxed to give up its goods. I only use SSDs for OSs. That way all my programs and files are sitting on the slave drive and i just need to reinstall OS on new SSD, no biggie.

  • +1 vote

    I will never buy Seagate again personally. I find WD non-power cable external drives reliable, but any external drive that needs a power cable has failed on me somehow, possible power surges. I have a few WD My Passports of varying ages 3years to 6months, all work well. All portable drives can be cracked into with a little effort.


    My experience with 3.5" powered external drives is that every single one has failed within two or three years. I'm not buying one again any time soon. By contrast I use several "passport-style", 2.5" drives of various brands in my job and they've been kicking around for years.


      i have 2 toshibas which I bought 3 years ago. Both work but the connection became dodgy.


          @Gimli: I'm about to purchase a WD MyPassport 4TB, hoping that'll work out well. It has three years' warranty which is reassuring… Most issues seem to occur within 2-3 years for electronics purchases in my experience. I've been able to replace two graphics cards thanks to three year warranties.


          @Zenyatta: I was actually thinking the first external 3.5'' HD I bought about 8 years ago. (was seagate) still works fine. haha. But I rarely use it (USB 2.0 —> to slow)

          Good luck with your new WD HDD


    I have a box full of external hard drives that have failed, all my seagate HDD's are in there,
    I have a shelf where all of my working external HDD's are, all of my WD's live there.

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