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My laptop recently crashed (by the way, thanks again to those of you who responded to that post =] it works now) and so i was looking into the area of external hard drives for back up between my desktop and laptop

i don't really know much in the hardware area, much less on external hard drives, and i would really appreciate any recommendations on external hard drives. I don't need anything too huge, just around 120 - 160GB and i'd like it if it was right around $100. Other than that, i'm open to any suggestions on brands and specs.

if it matters, i have two PC's with Windows XP, and if i need to be anymore specific, just let me know

o, and if someone could explain what SATA and eSATA are, that would be great =]

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I actually just bought an external harddrive. I have not yet received it to tell you whether it is good or not.

Here is the NewEgg link:

Aside from an actual "external harddrive", there is the option of an External Enclosure. If you use 2.5 harddrives (laptops), you can get a USB External Enclosure that does not use an AC adapter. (

I almost chose that option until I noticed it topped out at 160gb. I needed at least 250gb.

Good luck!

Me I like to build my own. And I like to keep things cool. So I had a 7 yr old WD 80 gig hard drive so I got a external enclosure from
It's got a 80mm fan blowing right on the hard drive. & years ago when the 7200 rpm hd's came out they ran HOT! This was the last replacement WD sent me and I still had it in the box, slapped it in and it runs nice and cool as my backup.

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sweet =]
i'm kinda liking the idea of external enclosures. just to make sure i understand it correctly, you take an internal hard drive and "convert" it so to speak, into an external hard drive by putting it into an external enclosure? so you end up with the essentially the exact same thing, but you have more ways to customize it, right?

might be worth a try, i'm just wondering a few more things

  1. Will either way end up more or less expensive, or does that just depend on what options i want?
  2. If i do choose an external enclosure, does it really matter what hard drive i buy to put inside it as long as it's the right size?
  3. I think that i need one that's for USB but i've heard that SATA drives can run faster. Am i just confused or misinformed? and if SATA drives can run faster, is it possible to still connect them through a USB port?

and by the way, i have one desktop and one laptop (i'm pretty sure it doesn't really matter, but just in case)

thanks, your help is very much appreciated =]

SATA and IDE are types of connections used inside a PC.

An enclosure takes a regular SATA/IDE disk and allows you to connect it using USB. Thats all an enclosure really is, a device that houses your drive, allows for easy USB connection and converts home power to the sort the drive would expect if it were actually inside a PC

Well I all ready had a hard drive so all it cost me was $37 for the external enclosure. And I just built another on with the same external enclosure, but bought a 200 gig Seagate HD
to put in it all for $107.
You can get enclosures for 2.5, 3.5 hd's and for 5.25 cd and dve burners.
Yes SATA is a lot faster but unless you have a SATA port on the back of your compter, usb is the way to go. That way you can us it with your desktop and laptop.
I like to be able to control what I'm backing up. Not everything but just what I want to backup.
Most of today's externals have a one button backup were you back up everything. But if you have a problem like a virus, trojan, or spyware it backs them up to so if you crash you will put them back on.
So if you get a external Hard drive get a well known brand. ( WD, Seagate)
Don't go with brand x because you get what you pay for.

I got a maxtor 350gb external usb hdd (all in one, not an enclosure) for about $150

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yeah i'd at least enjoy it more if i got to make my own, so i'll probably go with that if it works out to be cheaper.

i know SATA would be faster, but if i'm connecting it through a USB port, that's gonna limit the fastest speed, right? So should i just stick with an IDE? cuz i don't want to pay more for a SATA drive if there's no other pros to it besides speed.

You could go with a sata or ide.
Sata would be a couple bucks more. but the transfer rates will only do what usb2 or usb1 will let it do. just go to and check them out. Read the reviews and check out the prices.

If you do go with building your own. There a some free Backup programs to use. I use Syncback. Go to and get the free version and set it up the way you want.

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