Critical Audio/Video: External Device(s)?

I am needing to store critical, remastered archival audio & video externally from my laptop. Should I use a HDD or a “personal storage device?” My HP G60-235DX has three USB 2.0 ports and runs Windows Vista Home Premium, along with Nero 9 Mutimedia Suite. Since I want to keep my PC as “clutter free” as posible, I thought it would it be a good idea to have two 1TB drives: one for videos/picures, and the other for music/documents. Should I use two? Am I on the right path to achieve my objectives? A great deal of work goes into these remasters, so I need a stable device (or two) upon which to store the masters for myself and clients. Thank you in advance,
Eric :slight_smile:

Based on what you describe, you will need two sets of storage for your work - one set of drives for storing your content and some other medium to store a backup copy of everything.

Unfortunately, there is no 100% reliable external drive available, as there is always a risk that an external hard disk will fail, whether it is networked or attached externally. Hard disks can fail without any warning sign, one day without a glitch and the next day not being able to spin up at all.

If you can afford it, I would highly recommend going for dual HDD external USB (or NAS) drive that supports RAID1. This way if one hard disk fails, you can work as normal with the other until you get the failed hard disk replaced. Note that RAID1 is not the same as keeping a backup, since as both hard disks are constantly mirrored, if you accidentally overwrite any important file or end up with a major file system corruption, it affects both HDDs simultaneously.

For your backup, you can choose between going for another external 1TB HDD, optical media (DVD, Blu-ray, etc.) or tape. Here’s the pros and cons of each from my experience:

[B]Another external HDD as backup:[/B]

[li][B]Pros[/B]: Handiest to use, as it’s quite simple to do a periodic mirror or incremental backup of your files to it. Quick to search for files to recover, as you’ll likely only need two external HDDs. [/li][li][B]Cons[/B]: In the unlikely event that it fails at the same time as your original fails, you lose everything. If left plugged in and a major power surge occurs (e.g. near-by lightning strike), both the original and backup are zapped. Hard disks are fragile and a fall on a hard surface can permanently destroy its content.[/li][/ul]

Optical Media:

[li][B]Pros:[/B] You back up to media as you need to. Each disc can be labelled, so you can search for past work just by looking at the discs, assuming they are stored away and organised properly. Safe from power surges, since they have no electronics. If one disc fails, you only lose that disc. [/li][li]Cons: A bad batch of recordable discs can result in the lot becoming unreadable (although no worse than a backup HDD failing). In the event of a major data loss, recovery from disc after disc will be a tedious process.[/li][/ul]


[li][B]Pros:[/B] You can either do a full or incremental backup. Tapes are generally fairly cheap per gigabyte, so they are cheaper to store multiple backups. Like optical discs, they have no electronics, so cannot be damaged from a power surge. Tend to be more reliable than optical media (from my experience with DLT tapes over the years.) A full recovery is fairly quick, a lot quicker than restoring from a large set of optical media. [/li][li]Cons: A tape drive is very expensive to purchase, especially large a capacity model. Recovering individual files can be a very tedious process (several minutes for a set).[/li][/ul]

A better backup option, again if you can afford it, is to use a combination of backups, e.g. make your backup to disc (DVD, Blu-ray, etc.) as well as to a second external HDD.

Thank you very much for the advice,
I failed to mention that I will be doing all of my editing work with the internal HD and storing the finished [B].wav[/B] file masters externally. There won’t be much back-and-forth between the external drive and the PC, except for saving and later bringing up a stored project to burn, edit, etc. Something akin to a safety deposit box or a safe. I have had horrible results with optical media; I’m still working the bugs out of that one.
Eric :slight_smile:

I do much the same.
All audio editing on the lappy…and burn finished sets to CD (usually 5 copies), and stored in two different locations (in case of fire etc).
All raw and finished data is also stored on a separate HDD, with a second copy of the final WAVs on a second HDD.

Thank you for the advice, :slight_smile:
I thought that two external drives would do the trick, but what about the size of the drives? Would 1TB each be about right? I am limited to three USB 2.0 ports.
Just out of curiousity, what does “Get AnyDVD CloneDVD2 CloneCD here, and don´t forget to read The RulesOh yeah, and single!” at the end of your post mean??? Any more suggestions would be greatly appreciated,


If you want to get the software…it´s highly useful and many recommend it…you can go directly to the site by clicking my link. As for The Rules, some posters seem to have difficulty knowing them, or following them…it´s also just a handy link. The last part…a kind of advertisement I guess…not sure if it´s “single and looking” or “single and recommending the status”


Why would I need Clone CD to master my own music projects? I just want to burn the .wav files of my edited projects to CDs that will play in anything, just as the discs made in my Denon professional standalone do.
With all do respect, the hopefully unintended innuendo of "…not sure if it´s “single and looking” or “single and recommending the status” is not needed in my quest for mastering analog audio/video to CD/DVD. Thank you,
Eric :slight_smile:

You can use two external drives, 1TB or more would be recommended.
Another solution is one USB-drive and one NAS that runs RAID-1, RAID-5 or RAID-Z which backups to the USB-HDD on its own and uses the network instead.

Sorry Eric…didn´t mean to confuse you. The stuff at the end of my post is only my “signature”…it appears automatically on all of my posts…and has nothing to do with your question. So, yes…you can ignore it completely.

The top part of my posts is related to the topic however.


Thank you to all who gave me helpful comments. I am now better equipped to make wiser decisions in my audio/video steup. :slight_smile: