to commonly asked questions.

Which backup drive should I buy?

I’m looking to get one (or many if you suggest) and not need another one for many years. There isn’t a computer at my firm bigger than 4TB, so I’m thinking at least 5TB.

  1. Me - Can I get just 1 and plug it in at home to capture all computers I work on (since most everything I do is in the cloud)?
  2. Other Employees - Even though everything is on the cloud, some may not be and I can’t stop it. Should I get one for each person’s iMac at the office and mandate that it’s plugged in at all times for auto-save?
  3. Which one?
  4. ___________

1. It’s always a very good idea to have a backup drive (controlled via Time Machine) connected to your computer either full time or as often as you charge. That way you are guaranteeing not to lose data. I have high confidence in Time Machine as a reliable piece of software for backing up. So that then leads to the question of what type of drive to use.

2. A backup drive doesn’t have to be expensive or fast. It need to only be reliable. No need to ever buy a solid state drive for backups. The backup data will write at its’ own pace anyway so always use a spinning SATA drive unless you just have a massive amount of money to spend without care. Then the question becomes, do I buy a 3.5 drive or a 2.5 drive? The difference is that the 3.5s have to be plugged into the wall as they are powered over AC. The smaller 2.5 drives can power over USB. Pros/Cons. The 3.5s are usually larger and faster. The 2.5s are cheaper with a little less space but hold the advantage of a smaller footprint on the desk and portability. Honestly, either choice is fine. Just whatever you prefer.

3. It’s a good idea to have one backup drive per computer. While you can share drives between computers, humans are lazy and we forget to move drives around. Just buy one per computer and be done with it.

4. Seagate always over WD. I’ve had way more problems with WD than any other brand drive. Every drive dies, but the Seagate drives seem to die less often.

5. The larger capacity a backup drive has, simply the farther back in time it will be able to keep data. So the bigger the drive, the more history you have. That may not be important to you. I personally am more interested in just having a backup of my computer rather than the ability to find data from long ago.
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