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I have a couple external hard drives I use for backing up data. The way I use them is simply keep them stored until needed, and then I plug them in, let them get recognized and then backup data... I then remove the drive as per protocol and store again.

But I want to start doing auto-backups of some files (using rsync or other programs, scripts, etc... So the question is, if I plug in and mount (on Ubuntu) an external hard drive (a SeaGate FreeAgent Pro MSeries, for example) will this be OK, i.e., will there be an adverse effects to the drive by running it continuously?

Ideally I would get something like a Drobo setup, because these are built for this type of system... But they are expensive.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The drive will receive no worse effects from being connected all the time than your internal hard drives do. Standard wear-and-tear.

But for backups, if they're connected directly to your machine all the time there is a potential danger if you have something happen that damages the entire machine (think strong power spike or virus attack - the latter less of an issue given you're Ubuntu) and may cause you do loose both the original data and your backup.

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This is kinda what I thought... I have several machines on a network, all very secure by a pfSense firewall. Plus, the machine on which the drive will be mounted is Ubuntu, so this should be fine, like you say. Thanks for the answer. – nicorellius Sep 7 '10 at 18:31

Yes You may connect your external hard-disk as long as you want.

One Big Disadvantage would be , it will no longer be a safe Back-up since a Simple virus infection could infect your Back ups as well .

A Workaround to this problem could be to download and install WinRaR, and convert evreything you want to back-up into rar file. Most virus attacks dont aim at rar files.

And uh forgot to mention that power fluctuation for some reason adversely affects all plugged in external storage media. My 3 pen-drives became corrupted :(

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Good points. I would have the power running the a UPC anyway, so this wouldn't be a factor. – nicorellius Sep 7 '10 at 20:01

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