Need external HD recommendations



I just had a Maxtor OneTouch II 300 gig external USB 2 hd die on me after 8 months – not a pretty site; it’s a good thing I had most of the data backed up on optical media (what irony!).

I’m looking for a new external HD solution. Have been considering getting a USB 2 case (like Metal Gear, etc.) and a fast internal Maxell (!), WD or Seagate. lets you select the case, hd and charges $5 to assemble it – $15 for a 3-year warranty.

Would appreciate any feedback before I purchase.


go for a lacie D2. those have seagate hdd’s inside. Or as you say, just go the external case and then the internal seagate hdd. at least then you are getting a 3 year warranty instead of 1 year.


Thanks, that was my thinking. But a funny thing happened a little while ago. I called Maxtor’s tech support to see what the heck may have happened to kill an 8-month-old external hd and the guy walked me through repartitioning and formating it. It worked perfectly, though of course the data was gone. It seems that Windows by default assigns these devices as “primary” instead of “secondary” partitions – which, according to the tech – is more likely to lose it from a shut-down glitch. Whatever, it’s up and running and I’m copying my backed up data from discs back onto it.

Darn, and I was looking forward to a new toy :rolleyes:


lol. in any case for future reference, if you have an external hdd it is always best to disconnect it before shutting down.

You might also want to download an app. to check the health of the hdd.


you could probably save some money buying an enclosure and a internal hard disk

as an example


you can probably find cheaper ones… this was a quick search…


You’re absolutely right – I usually use windows unplug/eject before I log off, especially with my external burners, but I’ve getting sloppy and not doing so with the Maxtor. Live & learn…

As for drive health, I’m a compulsive defragger – use O&O that does a great diagnostic before defragging.



I’m late on my reply but HDD’s what kind to use is like asking AMD or Intel… You have your die hard fans that had good results on a HDD but you may had a total disaster with the same brand. Maxtor and Western Digital both have always been kind to me though.


I saw some LaCie SATA versions the other day. They came with a PCI-card with connections for power and data for two drives. May be of interest, unless you have multiple PC’s or a laptop of course. Newer PC cases will have eSATA connectors as well.


like mine :bigsmile:

But what i find Bob, is that sometimes i might get some sort of conflict when starting up etc, if ive installed a new prog, had my computer freeze etc, that the computer needs to have all things that were plugged into usb ports taken out and then start afresh. I have my external lacie D2 plugged in all the time that the computer is on most of the time, but try to keep it off when im playing computer games, etc.

The thing i liked about Lacie and i guess applies to other prebuilt external hdd’s is that they are meant to take some punishment lol. I tend to believe the cases their hdd’s are better at dissipating heat and protecting the hdd inside than retail cheapy metal cases that u put ur own hdd in. I will admit that i have heard of lacie D2 users with the 500gb and 1tb D2 external hdd’s that those got VERY hot indeed, and heard of many of those failing. But as the rule of thumb goes, those who have had no problems are less likely to report than those with. But all the same, to be safe if you do decide to go with a lacie, you are better off with 2 smaller ones than one 500gb hdd. As they say, you are safer with you ‘eggs in more than one basket’.


Bobverens, can you tell me , if you remeber, the procedure Maxtor took you through. Also why are you supose to unplug an external before turning off your pc. I had a 80 GB die on me and would love to ressurect it. Also my new external has an off-on button. When I turn off my pc can I just turn the external off with this button. The liturature that came with this HD did not explain the use of this button or when to use it.


You are meant to use the green arrow in your task bar, click that, ‘remove external hard disk safely’ that way, it wont let you remove the hard disk if windows is still accessing it and therefor wont result in any loss of data. I only ever use the on/off switch when ive turned it on to listen to some songs, and them two hours later say, i know im not accessing on the hdd, THEN i use the off switch, otherwise its always the green arrow to safely remove hardare.

I try to remeber to turn the external hdd off before i turn the computer off, i find i more often get problems restarting when i dont.


I have, on one computer, 4 Segate HD’s in USB 2.0 external cases, and two HD’s in external firewire cases. They are connected all the time (via several powered 7 port hubs). I use a power controller to shut down everything connected to the computer at once. So after I shut down using Windows XP SR2, I just push the one switch and all goes off. Has been this way for at least 3 years and never had a problem with one of the hard drives yet. Also have 2 optical drives in external cases and they work the same way. Have a very similar setup on 3 different computers and, again, never had a problem! My systems are only on when I am using them so they are shut-down at least once to several times a day. If I wish to disconnect an external unit while the system is on I always use the green “Safely Remove Hardware” icon prior to disconnecting and powering down.

I also recomment the external enclosure and seperate HD or whatever. I always try to get enclosures that can hold a HD or optical drive and are USB and firewire compatable - provides the greatest flexibility. I have one enclosure (USB) that holds (at the same time) a HD, optical drive, and has a USB port and 4 card readers built in (called The Tank) - connects to just one USB port on the computer or hub.


in regards to the maxtor that you “fixed”

if it died once it’s twice as likely to die again…and maxtor only offers a 1 year warranty (i think…correct me if i’m wrong)

if it starts acting the SLIGHTEST bit strange, I’d contact maxtor and demand a replacement, not just a fix.

my hp system came with a maxtor as the factory installed hd and it bombed one day. i jumped through all the hoops with formatting and chkdsk with all switches imaginable and then repartitioned it. tech support said it was fixed.

a couple months later i was in the market for a new hard drive as the one i had was non-recoverable and imagine that…it was about a month out of warranty.

at the moment i only trust seagate. i’ve had no problem with WD hard drives, but you can’t go wrong with a company that offers a FIVE YEAR warranty. I’v ebeen using 2 seagates and a WD for the last 3 years and had NO problems whatsoever.

everyone will have different experiences and different luck with different brands, but it’s my opinion that seagate offers that extra insurance just in case and it’s more than worth it.


I had much the same thing happen (twice) with a 40 GIG portable HD (USB) - I unplugged it when I should not have and it would no longer be recognized by my computer. Luckly I got another computer to see it, reformatted the drive and re-loaded the data. All seemed to be working fine but since I had 2 months left on the warranty I had it replaced - just in case! I have had great luck with segate but not with western digital - even with the long warranty, who wants to have to restore everything when the drive fails!


The process Maxtor described (I’m running Win2k, XP may be slightly different, though I doubt it) was to:

  1. Goto Computer Management
  2. Locate Disc Management under the Storage tab
  3. Highlight the drive you want to manage (External Drive in my case)
  4. Create a [B]secondary[/B] (NOT primary) partition, then format.
    Voila, my drive was back & running.

The reason to unplug an external device through Windows rather than just flipping the off switch is because the unit may still be active reading or being written to – and by allowing it to be shut down correctly avoids any problems such as the one I encountered – or worse. It’s the same reason you close Windows via the shut down before turning off your computer rather than just powering off your computer.


Ironically, the [B]only[/B] hard drive of mine that completely and utterly died (and I mean totally dead) me was a Seagate ST373207LW (Cheetah) scsi hard drive – super fast, about $350 – only 5 months after I purchased it. And to get a replacement I had to fax them my receipt and return it at my expense. Probably standard, but it was disruptive, to say the least.

I agree that strange behavior of a hd may lead to eventual complete failure, but I doubt it in this case. After I regained use of the drive, I recalled that the day before I’d shut Windows down…while hitting the power switch on the Maxtor…seeing an error message (too fast to have digested during the shutdown) to the effect of “still writing to drive “J” – ([I]the Maxtor external[/I]) – data can not be saved” or something to that effect.

It was the next morning after booting up my system when I discoverd the problem. Another contributing factor (beyond my expertise) according to the Maxtor tech was that the drive was partioned as “primary.” Of course I’ll keep a watch on it – I have 4 months left on the warranty.

So whether it’s a Seagate, Maxtor, IBM, WD or whatever drive brand, all are prone to failure – none are perfect. My experience with the Seagate scsi hasn’t prejudiced me against them – it was just “one of those things.”


I am also going to suggest an external enclosure kit, or one of those USB2IDE hookups


Well, I invite you guys to say “we told you so!” That Maxtor 300 gb One Touch external has now truly died – no reformatting or re-partitioning this time. It’s gone gone gone!

I just placed an order for an external usb 2 box with 250 gb WD hard drive. A Maxtor 300 was an option but HELL NO!

A more humble,

Bob :rolleyes:


haha incredible.

i’m not laughing at your situation…any time a component dies it SUCKS, but the irony is pretty funny.

that’s more or less the same exact sequence of events that happened with my drive. i accidentally knocked the surge protector out of the wall plug while moving furniture then the next thing you know i’ve got error messages.

i manage to get it up and working again then a couple weeks later it had seen its day.

I’ve never had a problem with WD. I think you’ll be very happy with your purchases. i still have a spare 160GB WD drive that i don’t have a home for at the moment…it comes out ot play once in a while with my ide to usb adapter. i almost wish this drive would die so i could make an excuse to buy another bigger and better drive haha.

honestly, i think you’re better off with the maxtor dying now. at least you’re prepared to buy a replacement. better now than in the middle of finals week when you ahve 5 papers due which also happens to be the same week rent and the credit card bills are due…err anyway…


(notice, i never said i told you so through all of that…i had to fight that urge :))


also, your warranty is still good…might as well get it replaced. i mean you did pay good money for it.

i wouldn’t trust it with anything super important but you can never have too many hard drives :slight_smile: