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  • Cloud Storage vs. External Hard Drives Part 2

    Anyone who has an iPhone, Android, Kindle, or other device using Cloud storage knows the benefits of being able to access saved files from anywhere, or download music to a laptop and have it automatically loaded onto their iPod. Many say that Cloud storage is one of the greatest advances in technology in recent years, allowing streamlined data sharing, on-the-go-access, and even disaster recovery. But even with all of these benefits, there are many who oppose Cloud storage because of security fears.
  • Cloud Storage vs. External Hard Drive Part 1

    Only decades ago, files were stored in filing cabinets. Documents, legal or otherwise, were printed on paper and painstakingly sorted and stored in storage areas ranging from the small drawer, to large room of shelves filled with folders and boxes of files. But for most individuals and businesses, those days are in the past. While we still have hard copies of certain things, most of the documents and photos we hold on to are stored in electronic format and kept in various means of data storage.
  • What is SATA?

    In 2009, Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) began replacing the old standard interface, Parallel ATA (PATA) in in computers (also called just ATA or IDE). These computer bus interfaces are what connect the hard disk drives and optical drives to their host bus adaptors.
  • Which laptop hard drive fits?

    When your laptop is ready for an upgrade, but you’re not ready to replace the whole thing, one option is to replace the hard drive. There are variations in hard drives to consider, but the most important factor is which hard drive fits your laptop and your needs.
  • Why are 2.5 inch laptop hard drives better?

    Most laptops now operate with an impressively slender and lightweight 2.5” hard drive. The Serial ATA (SATA) is currently the best version of the 2.5” hard drive, offering top speeds and superior performance compared to the older Ultra ATA/IDE drives.
  • Turning an Old Internal Hard Drive into an External Drive

    So, you have upgraded to a larger hard drive, leaving your old hard drive to collect dust on the shelf. But, what if that old internal hard drive could be put to better use than working as a paperweight?

    Having an old internal hard drive in use can allow you to transport large files, acquire additional storage space, or have a backup unit for the files you care about most. In order to do this, you will need to follow a few easy steps.

    You can actually purchase an external hard drive enclosure to encase your old internal drive. But, first you need to know which to buy. It is important to check if you have an IDE disk drive or a SATA drive.

    Most hard drives are IDE, if they are older. Some of the newest hard drives do have a SATA interface, so just double check before you order your enclosure.

    Another question to consider is which cable type you need. Most users will want a USB connection, but some Mac users may prefer a FireWire connection. There is also the possibility of an eSATA port, if your PC has that capability.

    Now for the fun part- You can select from special body designs and unique paint styles to really make a statement with your external hard drive. Once your order comes in, you will probably need nothing more than a screwdriver to install it in the casing. Then, your computer should automatically recognize the new hardware and assign it a drive number.

  • Top External Hard Drive Solutions

    When considering options for external hard drive solutions, it is important to consider the factors most applicable to your hard drive needs. For example, the cost, the quality of the housing, the hard disk space, and the components as well.

    Other important considerations are reliability, brand name, and professional reviews. So what are the best of the available options?

    Starting with Western Digital My Book, you have a line of hard drives to consider from one of the companies with the longest history of external hard drive products, now in its third generation of production. My Book 3.0 is the latest and greatest with USB 3.0 as its newest capability.

    While the Western Digital My Book 3.0 is very new, you can look to shopping websites to view the many professional and consumer reviews of previous models. My Book has been a very popular and successful choice all along. And with 1 TB and 2 TB offerings, you can definitely get the storage space you need.

    Iomega is another choice, in hard drive manufacturers. They were the first producers of the Zip disk and have stayed with the trends ever since. The Iomega Prestige comes in a sleek brushed aluminum case and comes in 500 GB, 1 TB, 1.5 TB, and 2 TB storage sizes.

    The LaCie d2 Quadra is a great option for those who need stackable external storage. They have USB, FireWire 400 and 800, and eSATA cable connections for further flexibility. In 500 GB, 1 TB, 1.5 TB, and 2 TB storage sizes, it comes in the same sizes as the Prestige, but doesn’t get equal reviews.

    Finally, for some other considerations, check out Western Digital Passport, Toshiba, and Seagate FreeAgent offerings. Only you can decide which will be best for you, but the product reviews indicate that Western Digital, Toshiba, Seagate, and Iomega provide the best customer satisfaction.

  • Seagate Secure Self-Encrypting Drives

    Identity fraud has become one of the top crimes in the United States today. It is so common, that many people now pay a monthly fee for various credit protection services such as credit monitoring or identity theft insurance.

    Hard drives are notorious for leaving traces of private information behind, even after it has been supposedly erased by the user. Viruses can even creep in that would allow someone remote access to your computer and thus your personal information with it.

    Hard drives have been stolen from companies and homes, in an attempt to get at such protected information as can be found in hard drives. We use account numbers, passwords, and even do financial transactions online, all using our computer.

    There is one great option to protect your information from loss, theft, or misuse. You can use some type of encryption device to store your data in a way that a random user could not retrieve your information.

    Seagate Secure encryption hard drives do that for you. As soon as you save some information, within less than a second, it is encrypted safely into the special drive. When you want to erase information, Instant Secure Erase makes all the information on the hard drive unreadable in less than one second using a cryptographic erase by the data encryption key.

    And, if you power down the computer, take the hard drive out, or someone else does, Auto-Lock automatically locks the drive and protects the data from access. Nothing could be more important, with hard drives, than data protection, because of the impact undesired access could have on nearly every aspect of your life.

  • Magnetic Recording on Hard Drives

    Have you ever wondered how the magnetic recording works on hard drives? Hard drive disks or HDDs record data by using magnetized ferromagnetic material. It actually magnetizes the material as it goes.

    Sequential direction changes of the magnetization create patterns of binary data bits. The data can be retrieved by the disk detecting the alternating magnetization patterns.

    There are specific encoding schemes that are used to achieve these storage and retrieval results, like Modified Frequency Modulation, run-length limited encoding, and group code recording, along with others.

    The HDD typically has a spindle that holds disks shaped like little flat circles. These little disks are called platters. It is on these platters that the information is stored. The platters themselves are non-magnetic, made of aluminum alloy or glass. But they are coated with a thin layer of magnetic material.

    Over this layer of magnetic material, a protective layer of carbon is placed. The magnetic material is only about the thickness of standard copy paper, just one or two sheets thick.

    The platters spin at a very fast pace of anywhere from 3,000 rotations per minute (RPM) to 15,000 RPM in high performance servers. Read and write heads pass over the platters, within tens of nanometers from the surface, to write magnetization codes or to read them.

    While the hard drive may seem complicated when described in this way, the interesting thing is that it is based on rather simple science using magnetization to leave a detectable trail of information. Of course, it did take many years for the technology to take it to this level. But it is just interesting to think that it all started with a concept based on a magnet.

  • Formatting Your Hard Drive for Your Operating System

    Because there are several different operating systems available as well as many different file systems, the inherent difficulty is determining which operating systems can support the use of which file systems. New operating systems do support a variety of different file systems.

    Linux offerings can now cover the use of several file systems including ReiserFS, Reiser4, JFS, XFS,GFS, GFS2, OCFS, OCFS2 nilfs, ext2, ext3, and ext4. The external systems are based on the original boot Linux file system and are thus also supported.

    If, on the other hand, it is one with another operating system like UNIX or Microsoft Windows, certain requirements must be met. Linux also supports Linux XFS, JFS, FAT, and HFS. Finally, the Microsoft Windows NT is also covered.

    If what you have is a Mac operating system, it will natively support HFS+ and will allow you read and write access to FAT and UDF. Mac operating systems also support almost all file systems supported by the VFS.

    Microsoft Windows is able to support FAT, NTFS, FAT16, and FAT32. The ISO also supports Windows 9660 and UDF CD, DVD, and Blu-ray systems. If it’s Windows Vista you have, however, it can only be installed on NTFS drives.

    Most removable storage devices, such as floppy disks (if anyone still uses those), flash memory cards, and digital cameras use the filing system, FAT. However, Compact Disks (CD’s), DVD’s, and Blu-Rays use the ISO 9660 and Universal Disk Format (UDF). Make sure you format the hard drive for the correct operating system.

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