This 2TB USB 3.0 portable Seagate drive is perfect for backups

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I have the older 1 TB USB 2 versions of this. They work fine. They have some software on them, but I just copy my files over.

OK, I guess I’m going to be that guy. Sorry.

You should really consider a backup service that lets you back up your computer over the Internet when you have good Wifi service somewhere. The problem with backup devices like this is if- and I really hate to say this, hopefully it never happens- is that your most likely cause of data loss is loss of device, and if your laptop and your hard drive are either in the same bag or in the same van, it’s sadly quite possible that you’d loose both at the same time.


Actually, you should really have both.


I used to have an earlier model of that drive that I used to store a clone with Carbon Copy Cloner. My MacBook Pro went into the shop for that stupid keyboard thing, and when I plugged the clone into an extra MBP I had, it was painfully slow because the laptops both had SSDs and the clone was a traditional hard drive.

The next day I ordered a 1TB SSD ( and I couldn’t be happier. Ended up sending the Mac to Apple again for the keyboard and this time I had no speed issues.

Which is to say, if you’re using this as a clone and have a laptop with an SSD, consider an SSD for the clone as well.

Especially if you regularly deal with large files (like raw video) that take a long time to back up over a WiFi connection.


There is a good segment on this podcast (main topic is sound but shouldn’t matter much on what you’re backing up) talking about personal and project/company backups.


Hard drives are good temporary backup for a month or two out or on project level. Then push to cloud based or other secure back up options.

Just a word of caution, as it seems overlooked with online backup services. Always, always test and see how long a restore takes.

Off site backup is a must though,if your data is worth anything.

Just a heads up. External storage drives are one of the most frequently discounted items in tech. There’s pretty much some model on deep discount at all times. Usually quite large ones.

It’s to the point that people will “shuck” them. Pull the drive out the housing for use as system storage or in a raid setup. Since it’s often enough cheaper to amass bulk storage through discounted external drives than waiting on pricing from bare drives. I’ve actually seen drives labeled as “shuckable” on places like New Egg.


I can’t remember where I read it but a few years ago there was a story about someone who worked for a company that did backups and needed a constant source of cheap hard drives. So they’d constantly be on the search of sales, and then brought friends in to buy drives when stores limited the number of drives each person could buy. They were all external "backup"drives, and tgey’d pullout tye drives.

I was given an external backup drive last year, nice and small, but it looks like one piece.

I.have a few 320gig hard drives, big for me but now “small”, that were in DVRs waiting for the garbage. Though, I haven’t seen them in a few years.

Apparently some of them aren’t shuckable because of how they’re put together. I assume they’re soldered to the connectors or otherwise built without the typical bare drive with sata connections. But not many of the enclosures are usable after shucking. Supposedly it’s a fairly cost effective way to line up huge amounts of storage over time.

I used to get all the hard drives I wanted by the bucket full from my dad. They had an excess of stripped computer parts hanging around, and hard drives were always up for grabs. Most recently all 500gb HDDs since they mostly came out of routine office grade desktops. I still have a bunch hanging around but they’re sort of minimally useful. When you can grab multi terabyte drives so cheap, and there’s only so many hookups in your PC. You get to a point where you can keep having like 6 smaller drives, or you can have more storage with one or two new ones. I pulled most of the smaller drives I had on my last build. System drives you kinda want SSDs. So just this side of too small for bulk storage, not flashy enough for a system drive.

Dad uses them almost like memory cards in something like this. Colloquially referred to as a “toaster”. I should probably pick one up cause I’ve got a bunch of those old drives just hanging out, and it’d make them useful again.

This is a bit off topic but can anyone recommend an external harddrive that will work with both Mac and PC out of the box? I know it’s possible to format some drives after the fact to work with both but I’m wondering if anyone sells anything already formatted that way. I’ve done some searching but haven’t found much. Thanks in advance!

I can’t remember what brand mine is, but it came with software for both Windows and Mac. I don’t think it will be hard to find one (or reveal those tgat do both).

One thing, most are backup drives, whike a few are “external drives”. I gather the backup drives are intended for ease of use, and at least some of them encrypt the contents. I’ve seen comments that that can be a problem, something about losing the key.

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Online backup is probably most important because it’s offsite (in case of theft or fire) and happens continuously without intervention. But I’ve restored from my local hard drive backup way more often. I periodically mirror to a local drive and explicitly do it before I take it to the shop, do a major update, or do anything else risky. What’s extra nice is I can boot from my USB drive in a pinch. Which could mean only a few minutes of downtime if my hard drive dies unexpectedly.

My Internet backup has been a hassle to do a full restore. I have no idea how long it would take do download 100s of GB. Last time I restored data I had them ship me a drive. Even though they overnight the drive it took a week to populate the drive with my data and get it to me.

If you have some Dollars to spend:

In a van, for offsite backup, leave a thumbdrive at the 23 mile marker out on route 57.

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Costco has a 5TB for 80 bucks!

I use drives like that as main storage for my top tier Raspberry Pis. (Fast USB sticks for the tier below that.) They make quite a performance difference over SD cards. (And never mind the odd Pi thing of SD cards wearing out. My website HD has been in service since 2014 on a secession of Pis.)

“If he needed to backup his data, he could activate the archival plan by standing at the bread shop on Kutuzovsky Prospekt with his Safeway bag at 7:30 on a Tuesday evening.”

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