Sunday, December 8, 2013

Waste Nothing. Reuse Everything.

When I upgraded this older notebook to a 500 GB Seagate hybrid hard disk a while back, I kept the 120 GB Hitachi drive that came out of it.  Partly, I wanted to make sure that if something was corrupted during the transfer, I could retrieve it off the old drive.  (I bought one of these cheap enclosures that lets you connect it up as a USB drive.)  Also, if I ever needed to reinstall Windows XP Pro, I could do it from the RECOVERY partition.

It has been many months now, and nothing was corrupted.   Furthermore, I have upgraded to Windows 7, so I did not need it for recovery.  I was trying to find a way to free up some disk space on my external 1 TB hard drive so that I would be able to do a full system backup, and I found myself wondering if I should just buy a 2 TB Ethernet external drive -- and then I saw this 120 GB drive sitting on my desk.  I back up my wife's desktop PC, and my notebook, to the 1 TB drive. 

Yes, it's a bit ugly -- I network map the 1 TB USB drive on my wife's desktop, so performance is not startling, but big deal, it's a backup drive.  Every morning at 2:00 AM, a batch file runs XCOPY to copy all modified files from her hard disk.  There aren't that many files that get copied each night, and no one cares at that hour.

So I looked at the 120 GB drive, and I realized, while too small for much of anything else, it is perfect for backing up my wife's desktop.  Its hard drive is only 100 GB total, so doing a full backup is not a problem -- and talking to it through the USB port, while less than optimal, is still faster than backup over the network to my notebook, and then to a USB drive.  In addition, anything that causes my 1 TB external hard drive to fail will only lose my backups, not hers.

Look around: you probably have some 20 GB or 50 GB disk drives that you aren't using, but would perhaps be useful for backup drives.  The enclosures are not expensive; I think this is the brand that I bought last time, and while $16.99 is twice as expensive as the cheapest versions, it is a cheap way to convert useless hard drives into backup media that, in the event of fire, you can grab and go as you run out the door.

1 comment:

Bikeboy said...

I've got a box of old disk drives... and I use one of those disk bays where you stand the disk vertically, connections down into the bay. That way I can swap disks without much trouble.

(There's also an external connector that consists of a power supply with standard 12vdc "brick" and the molded disk power connector, and a data connector with SATA on one side and IDE on the other.)

It probably wouldn't be ideal for a routine scheduled backup, but it's perfect for the archive/image -type backups. (I keep a disk with a copy of my critical data at the office. Hopefully the earthquake or volcano or zombie uprising won't involve both the house AND the office!)