Recommendations for reliable USB Backup Drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Dirtyharry50, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    I have endured enough pain and suffering with my current Seagate GoFlex 2TB USB 3.0 drive being used for Time Machine on my mid-2011 27" iMac running OS X 10.8.2. It keeps turning off and disconnecting and its driving me mad. I have been on the phone multiple times with Apple Support and they feel the drive is the issue after all we've tried. I have scoured the Web and discovered many unhappy Seagate customers with Macs who made the mistake of buying this model of USB drive for backups.

    So, I am hoping not to make another mistake this time. Thus the request for recommendations of a decent USB Backup drive for use with Time Machine. If it happens to be available on that would be a bonus.

    Sometimes I wonder if I should have just bought a Time Capsule instead of a Airport Extreme but too late now.

    My hard drive is 1TB and I am wondering if 2TB for the backup was overkill, particularly where 250 gigs is given to a Windows 7 bootcamp partition that is not backed up. It's just for games. I do not create a lot of new data usually so one terabyte would probably be fine. It also does not need to be USB 3.0 since my iMac only supports 2.0.

    Anyway, I would be grateful for some tried and true advice here on a current model USB drive that is reliable and just works. That would be wonderful. Thanks.
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Many users here have the WD My Passport drives and they seem to work well. I have a 500GB version that has been trouble free. They are pretty reasonably priced also.
  3. Knoodles macrumors 6502


    Feb 2, 2003
    Gone to the Beach
    I've had very good luck with Western Digital External drives. Been using two of these for almost two years without a glitch. Bus powered. And it's sold through Amazon.

    WD Elements
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Anyway, I would be grateful for some tried and true advice here on a current model USB drive that is reliable and just works. That would be wonderful."

    I never cared for "pre-packaged" drives. Too much money and all-too-often they are quirky.

    If you want something that is "reliable", my advice is to do-it-yourself.
    DO NOT feel intimidated by this notion. It's easy. If I can do it (I'm a neanderthal), you can, too.

    For backing up, my suggestion is that you spend less than $30 and get something like this:

    Then, get either a 3.5" or a 2.5" "bare drive" from the vendor of your choice. If you're dissatisfied with the drive you have now, you might even open it, take the internal drive out, and put it into the dock.

    Just connect the dock to the Mac.
    Put the drive into the dock (it just "plugs in").
    Turn it on.
    Initialize it with Disk Utility.

    You now have a backup "docked drive" ready-to-go.
    It will be "seen" by the Mac same as an "enclosed" drive.
    It's bootable, too (provided you backup the right way, read on).

    Also, I would STRONGLY SUGGEST that you STOP using Time Machine for your backups, and instead download and try out CarbonCopyCloner.

    CCC will create a bootable "clone" of your internal drive that is identical to the internal drive. It can also do incremental updates, clone the recovery partition, and can even "archive" versions of files like Time Machine does. YOU CAN'T BOOT FROM A TIME MACHINE BACKUP (shouting very intentional).

    In a "moment of extreme need" (and you will have one of those someday), the thing you need closest-at-hand is a bootable backup of your internal drive. Just connect it you'll be ready to go in a couple of minutes -- to repair or restore the internal drive. You can't do that with Time Machine.
  5. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    My thought.....never every trust just one backup drive, whether it's connected via usb, firewire, ethernet, wi-fi, or anything else. Any backup drive can fail, period.

    I have three physical drives, all with Superduper clones, and cycle them and keep one in a vault.
  6. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    You partly can. You are correct you can't boot and operate the computer from a TM backup, but since 10.7.2 you can boot from a Time Machine drive and use that to format a new drive and completely restore a system. The first TM backup creates a copy of the Recovery HD partition on the TM disk.
  7. inscrewtable, Feb 20, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013

    inscrewtable macrumors 68000


    Oct 9, 2010
    What Fishrrman said is good advice.

    With a dock it's easy to slip in another raw internal HDD to create a double back up.

    Personally I use the voyager q because I wanted firewire as well as usb 3. It's a pretty solid unit and the best thing about external docks is that they are completely silent. The Voyager also uses the Oxford chipset which I believe is a good thing.

    I also use SuperDuper to make a bootable clone I've never had the need to time machine I think it's a bit gimmicky but I'm sure that it has it's uses for some people. However I prefer the watertight security of a bootable clone.
  8. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    I use the speedy Hitachi Touro Mobile Pro USB3 drive. Although quickness isn't a requirement for a backup drive, it gives the flexibility to use as a decent work drive if necessary.
  9. Dirtyharry50 thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    Thank you very much Weaselboy for the recommendation and helpful link. I just purchased it from there. Should be here on Tuesday. :D

    Lots of good user feedback on this one from the Amazon site. I checked out the WD site and had no trouble finding the firmware update and Mac ML compatible utilities available for download as well.

    It was only 75 bucks and since I have Amazon Prime I got free two day delivery.

    Hopefully, I win.

    Thanks a lot to everyone else too who took the time to reply. I appreciate it.
  10. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    I would go with....

    WD, LaCie and Hitachi/Seagate, from first to last. I still own a 250 GB external WD., almost 4 years and no problem in all.:)


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