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External hard drive prepartions.

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7y, 9m agoPosted 7 years, 9 months ago
Hi,

I've awaiting delivery of my first ever external hard drive (the 1tb Toshiba one!) and I'm looking to do several things once I get it. Also I've got a few questions as I'm really paranoid about it breaking down on me!

1) I've been told to format the drive into NTFS as it is the best? It means I can store single files over 4gigs? I may have use for this so why not. Are there any advantages or disavantages to this format option?

My laptop's hard drives is Fat32, will it matter when I plug the external one with NTFS format? Will file transfer etc be affected?

2) I want to partition the drive into several drives as it would probably be easier to organise files etc.

http://download.cnet.com/1770-20_4-0.html?query=Partition&searchtype=downloads&sort=edRating4%20asc&rpp=10&filter=licenseName=Free|platform=Windows&filterName=licenseName=Free|platform=Windows&tag=ltcol

which of these free software would be easiest to use for a complete novice like me?! I just want to separate the 1tb into, say, 5 drives. Nothing else..

3) Is there any software where I can password encypt files? E.g put 5 files into a folder and for you to open that folder, you have to type in a password. It's for work purposes but it doesn't have to be complicated, a very simple password would be enough.

4) How do you guys use your external hard drives? I.e Do you turn it on and keep it on for the duration of how long you keep your computer on etc? Then then turn it off? Are there issues of keeping turning on and off hard drives? Like keeping a laptop battery even with the mains plugged in (limits the amount of charges/usages etc)?

Sorry if the questions sound silly, I'm just a complete noob with these things!

Thank you for any help, I would really appreciate it guys.
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7y, 9m agoPosted 7 years, 9 months ago
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1 Like #1
Don't partition it, just use folders instead, much easier.
Only time I ever partitioned was to separate an operating system from a backup section.
So when I reinstalled I still had my backup partition.
For an external partitioning isn't required.
1 Like #2
1) Correct. NTFS is great because it's much more advanced than FAT32. You can encrypt files, compress them (which makes for NTFS-compressed WAV files, which is my personal #1 file format for music), you don't have to worry about file fragmentation since NTFS works to prevent that, your drive will be more reliable, long-term it will perform more smoothly, and yep, files over 4GB.

2) As Esq says, don't partition. Folders are easier and quicker to navigate, and have the handy knack of not needing certain amounts of space pre-allocated to them, which you will invariably regret further down the line.

3) With NTFS compression, I believe file access is controlled by your user account. ie, you can access the files when you're logged in as normal, but if you log in as guest, or if someone else logs in, or if the file gets accessed from a different computer, they get locked out. I might be wrong on this point. Regarding dedicated encryption software, there are options, but I never use them (I have no shame in my porn) and can't really help

4) Turning any electrical device on and off repeatedly shortens its lifespan. The initial start-up phase is where the vast majority of problems occur, usually for reasons of different amounts of power being drawn (going back to my high school physics, there's something about a motor taking morepower to spin up than to remain at speed). So leave it on for as long as possible, I reckon.
1 Like #3
Three things ,If you intend to use the drive for media playback IE: plugged into a DVD player you will find that most dont accept NTFS and will need FAT32,Secondly dont forget to use the "safely remove" icon in the system tray,There have been many people here recently with dead or corrupted hard drives and 1Tb is an awful lot to lose,Lastly dont rely on one drive for storing important data it is much safer to have a second backup as drives can fail for absolutley no reason,
#4
also if you plan to use it wit a ps3(as i do) it also only recognises fat32
1 Like #5
What "dxx" has replied is correct. However I will also add --
1) Unless you need files >4Gb, & on your own admission unexperienced, for simplicity keep FAT32.
2) Partitioning will not give you any advantage.
3) Look at the Freeware TrueCrypt. - http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/ - It's a bit of a heavy read for newbies, but thorough. The tutorials are good. It will give you the security for work documents & keep your other stuff private which would be the best policy.
Best of Luck
#6
OMG you guys are bloody awesome! Thank you for the detail responses people, much appreciated!

I guess it's an unanamious decision to not partition, so I will not. The hard drive will be for mainly my laptop so I guess the ps3/dvd player thing is kind of irrelevant. Apart from watching films/viewing stuff, what other uses do you guys have for hard drive>ps3?

I'm not a complete novice when it comes to computers but everything I've mentioned here will be my first time. If the advantages of NTFS are that great then surely it won't be that complicated?!

And yes thanks for the advice on backing up on a 2nd drive or something; I think I was rather rash in getting such a large-come-long-term external hard drive but oh well. Let's hope this doesn't die on me :(

I still haven't received my drive yet but I will let you guys know how I get on.

Again thanks a lot!
banned#7
1. Not necessarily, FAT32 is ok, up to the limit of file size. NTFS for the added security if it is a multi-user system & extra file size. But older systems like win95/98/ME cannot read NTFS, so it depends if you want to transfer data to them at a later date.

2. Acronis disk director works well, as does the open source GParted program.
Acronis is available as a 30 day trial from here: http://www.acronis.com/enterprise/download/
Gparted from: here: http://gparted.sourceforge.net/ Find older version works best for me.

3. As mentioned Truecrypt is a good free encryption tool, but has its limits, several encryption levels/speed etc. But a good free tool.

4. 2 camps on this one, ON all the time, or ON only for backup schedule, personal preference imo.

5. Oh yes, and You can convert your system to NTFS by doing the following if you are using 2k, XP:
Select START, RUN, type CMD , and in the shell type Convert C: /FS:NTFS
(Presuming your boot drive is “C”)

6. Almost forgot 5., lol

7. If you need to read/write from/to a linux drive try: http://www.it.hs-esslingen.de/~zimmerma/software/ltools.html Good tool.

Hope it helps :)
#8
^Thanks for that.

Hey guys, I finally got it! I've decided against formating it into NTFS because 1) it takes absolutely ages from what I've read 2) I suppose I don't need to go that advanced but I've got a feeling I'll regret it..

Anyways, it is a pretty nice drive. Feels solidly built, sturdy and a nice finish. Plug and play as they say. The transfer speeds are decent (I think) but I've found it varies depending on what/how many files you are transfering. I found 1gig of pictures (say 300 files) takes longer to copy from my laptop to external hard drive, than a 1gig movie file. Is there a way to check transfer speeds etc and what kind of times are you lot getting?

I'll mark some down and post later. Cheers guys! The advice has really helped.

Edit: One more question. Is it 'safe' to burn dvds straight from the external hard drive? I mean will it buffer under run thus mess up the dvd and will that constant transfering mess up the hard drive? This will be for when for example I have a certain collection of music/film I want to put onto a single dvd..
#9
fama
^Thanks for that.

Hey guys, I finally got it! I've decided against formating it into NTFS because 1) it takes absolutely ages from what I've read 2) I suppose I don't need to go that advanced but I've got a feeling I'll regret it..

Anyways, it is a pretty nice drive. Feels solidly built, sturdy and a nice finish. Plug and play as they say. The transfer speeds are decent (I think) but I've found it varies depending on what/how many files you are transfering. I found 1gig of pictures (say 300 files) takes longer to copy from my laptop to external hard drive, than a 1gig movie file. Is there a way to check transfer speeds etc and what kind of times are you lot getting?

I'll mark some down and post later. Cheers guys! The advice has really helped.

Edit: One more question. Is it 'safe' to burn dvds straight from the external hard drive? I mean will it buffer under run thus mess up the dvd and will that constant transfering mess up the hard drive? This will be for when for example I have a certain collection of music/film I want to put onto a single dvd..


NTFS shouldn't take particulaly long to format compared to FAT32, although obviously if it's already in FAT32 that saves you a lot of time.

NTFS is a microsoft format so it only guaranteed to be compatible with windows, if you're likely to plug it into a OS X or Linux computer then you'll probably want to keep it as FAT32. If you've got an OS X or Linux laptop you may prefer their advanced filesystem, I believe it's HFS+ for mac and a choice of several for Linux.

If you do decide to partition it in the future then the default windows disk management should be able to do that.

Truecrypt does seem to be the standard for encrypting external drives.

Transfer speeds will vary depending on whether you're transfering a single large file or lots of small files, that's normal and how hard drive works. If you're running vista it should tell you the transfer speed (if it's a USB drive it'll top out around 20-30MB/s, if it's eSATA you can expect anything up to 80MB/s for large files). There are also hard drive benchmarks like HDTach and IOmeter availible.

If it's eSATA it should be perfectly safe to burn from an external drive, If it's USB then I'd be a bit more doubtful, but I don't know how much problems USB will give you if you try it in practice.

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