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I'm looking into finally getting a big external hard disk (will probably be usb-connectable) but I recently heard that 1TB (or bigger) external disks are prone to overheating and, eventually, stop functioning exactly because of that.

Now I'm planning to buy a good quality disk, probably something from the Western Digital My Book series, but the overheating rumors are heard got me worried.

Has anyone had similar experience of external hard drives failing because of overheating, supposedly because they are 1TB or more? And, while still on the topic, any feedback on the my book series especially?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Relying on a single hard disk to keep your data safe is UNWISE. Either backup regularly so a failure is little more than an annoyance, or use RAID.

All drives WILL fail. If not kept cool, all drives will fail sooner than later.

Drives should not fail too soon if you keep them cool (35-45 degrees C). But the could. I've had new drives that were DOA. There's no reason you can't too. Just buy a drive with AT LEAST a 3 year warranty. (I just bought a 1TB drive for my own backups and I've got two 1.5 TB drives for my media archive). My only requirement in buy a drive is a 3 year+ warranty. I don't care who made it. Think about it - they'll have to replace the drive if it fails before then, so producing bad drives does nothing more than cost a company more money (especially when they have a three year warranty). And keep in mind something else - EVERYONE will make bad drives from time to time. EVERYONE. EVERYONE will have bad batches and botched firmware. That's why you use RAID and have backups. That's why you DO NOT trust the drive - EVER - to be the sole thing to keep your data safe.

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true-dat. But I'm not sure I'd worry about heat as much as I'd worry about spinup/spindown cycles,… – bobobobo Nov 6 '09 at 2:02
RAID is not backup. If you delete a file from a RAID array accidentally, it's gone from all disks. RAID saves you from drive failure, not user error. Backup is for both. – tomfanning Apr 17 '11 at 21:57
User error, fires, theft, power surges that take out both disks, ... – Hennes Dec 25 '13 at 9:05

I have a Seagate 1TB external that I have been using for about 12 months.

I have repeatedly dropped, kicked and knocked the drive as I take it to and from work each day. I actually kicked it one day while it was at a friends place on the floor and the USB cable was outstretched (to make it reach his computer from the spare power point), doing so has made the USB socket on the drive become sort of loose. However the drive still hums along no problem.

But I stick to the golden rule of delicate media - Never put any data on there that you're not prepared to lose!

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Nope, they are no more reliable or unreliable as any other hard drive.... only difference is if they go bad, you will lose a lot more!

Just remember, Raid is good for countering degradation / one hard drive going faulty and there is no excuse for a proper backup plan.

What you may have heard is Seagate recently had a whole generation of hard drives that had faulty firmware and decreased warranty from five years to three (on standard drives).

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s/loose/lose ;) – Joel Coehoorn Sep 28 '09 at 22:44

I use a My Book Mirror Edition and it does not get too warm. Granted it's a little bulky but having mirrored copies of my data just makes me feel safer.

This is a secondary repository though as I just built a new server with 4x1Tb HDD (3xRAID 5 with 1 cold spare) so that my data is safe.

I would recommend this product or something like it if you are after something a little portable or a nice >=2 disk NAS system

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I learned my lesson with large external drives, and it was a fairly painful one, twice.

If you're really worried about losing that much data (or any amount of data to be honest), my advice is to sink some cash into an external drive chassis with the ability to configure mirroring and buy two drives. I have a NetGear ReadyNAS Duo with a pair of 1TB disks and it was the best money I've spent in a long time. It seems expensive, but you'll thank yourself one day.

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Or if RAID1 is not inconvenient or impractical, just make sure you have a decent regularly updated and tested backup of any data you would be overly bothered about losing due to drive failure. And remember that an external drive will generally experience more detrimental conditions (knocks while running (and while not) and being carried about) so expect them to survive less time/use on average than the equivalent drive sat safe in your out-of-the-way floor-dwelling PC. – David Spillett Sep 28 '09 at 23:23
Kev: RAID 1 is great against drive failure. But it will not work against theft, fire, lightning strikes etc. In short, it does not replace backups. OP: Arrange regular backups first, then consider RAID1 as a second safety. – Hennes Dec 25 '13 at 8:24
@Hennes - all I wanted was protection against drive failure, my drive contents aren't that critical. – Kev Dec 26 '13 at 18:17

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