Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

agoraphone

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 20, 2023
2
0
I have several external USB hard drives and ALL of them seem to corrupt eventually. These include a Western Digital 4TB, and LaCie Rugged 1TB and 5TB models. After a year or two, they always seem to get an error that disk utility can't fix, and my only option is to reformat and restore from backup. This is especially annoying if the drive failing IS the backup drive.

So I'm looking for large portable hard drives that will stand the test of time and not corrupt. Any recommendations?
 

pmiles

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2013
809
676
No such animal.

Platter drives are more likely to fail than SSDs, but in general the largest capacity drives are still platter drives. Some drives are built for specific uses, such as NAS drives. These are rated for much high higher activity than your standard drive is. That being said, all drives fail, eventually. SSD drives won't have a mechanical failure, but they are suspectable to shorter life expectancy with extensive read/writes, especially on full drives. Most people don't experience an SSD failure due to this because they have usually migrated to a higher capacity SSD before that day comes.

Question about your usage... are your drives at or near capacity when they go corrupt? Drives need swap space to work with, a full drive is like suffocating its air.

To be fair, some corruption has zero to do with the drive itself, but rather the means in which you use to access and store data onto them. Improper mounting/dismounting and even backup software can be your most common culprits. Sometimes the old school method of backup works better in the long run than using backup software. As in, you manually copy the files you wish to store on them, rather than let some software decide how to store such information. If a backup gets corrupted, and they do, your drive isn't bad, your back up is.

Do you share your drives between multiple platforms (i.e. Windows, Mac, or Linux)? The format you choose needs to be friendly towards both. The sad truth is, each OS prefers their content to be stored in a format that is native to it, so NTFS for windows, APFS for Mac, et al. The formats which support multiple OSes sort of do it, but they can be unreliable at times. exFat for example. You format a drive in exFat on a Mac and the PC will likely have issue with it. Format it on a PC, and the Mac might. I have never had any issues with FAT, only exFAT has. If you work solely in one ecosystem, stick to the format it likes best (i.e. native to it).

A true backup scheme is having the same data stored on multiple drives, so that you have a "back up" in case the other ones fail. Most people tend to play with fire and rely solely on a single drive. May work for them, but the risk is there, nonetheless.

And disk fragmentation is real on a platter drive. Defragmenting helps with the capacity issues, but sometimes just copying the stuff directly to a new drive is the better solution since it doesn't have to find space to temporarily write stuff as it defragments.

Sorry no advice on what to get as it really depends on how you use them. Do you have a NAS, use backup software, have massive amounts of data to store, the list goes on.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,636
12,756
As pmiles said (well) above, NO drive will meet your stated requirements. They all fail, sooner or later.

For reliability, gravitate away from WD and Seagate.

Try Toshiba and HGST (former Hitachi).
 

agoraphone

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 20, 2023
2
0
Sorry no advice on what to get as it really depends on how you use them. Do you have a NAS, use backup software, have massive amounts of data to store, the list goes on.
Thanks for the detailed thoughts. I use a 1TB for music (will probably need to upgrade to a 2TB) and 5TB for photos. These are the two that I'm looking to replace. Looking for a portable (2.5") form factor that I can travel with easily.

As pmiles said (well) above, NO drive will meet your stated requirements. They all fail, sooner or later.

For reliability, gravitate away from WD and Seagate.

Try Toshiba and HGST (former Hitachi).
Thanks - as reliable as possible is all I can ask for. I searched for HGST, and it looks like they're made by WD?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,636
12,756
"I searched for HGST, and it looks like they're made by WD?"

Yes, but I think they are still "different than" the regular WD drives -- built to former Hitachi specifications. I could be wrong.
 
  • Like
Reactions: agoraphone

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,636
12,756
OWC doesn't "make" any drives.
They buy drive mechanisms from the main suppliers -- and then put them into their own enclosures.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Basic75

MBAir2010

macrumors 603
May 30, 2018
6,433
5,923
there
OWC doesn't "make" any drives.
They buy drive mechanisms from the main suppliers -- and then put them into their own enclosures.
which will stand the test of time!
or least twelve years as that '09 drive I purchased finally failed in July.
a spinning disk.


perhaps 'sells' instead of 'makes' is more accurate,
I think they will get the message tho.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.