General Question

monsoon's avatar

In what ways can I use an external hard drive to extend the life of my computer?

Asked by monsoon (2510points) July 7th, 2008

I have a MacBook, only a few months old, and some one just bought me a nice portable external hard drive, and I was wondering how exactly I can use it to it’s full potential to help keep my computer healthier longer.

So far all I’ve done is sync in with Time Machine, since that’s what my computer seemed to want to do when I plugged it in.

I’m not a real heavy anything user (i.e. musician, movie maker, pc gamer). I mostly use the internet and word processing, and use garage band to record the occasional song. I also store a lot of music and photos on my computer. I only know that in the past after about two years my computers become rip-out-my-hair slow, and I’d like to do what I can to keep this one kickin’. I’d be willing to carry the thing around with me (it’s very small) if I needed to to store things on it.

Thanks buddies. Another probably silly question from me about computers.

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5 Answers

battlemarz's avatar

I wouldn’t say extending the life of the computer is really possible through the use of an external hard drive. But in terms of performance what I do is as follows.

Store all of my data, for pretty much everything, documents, music, movies, profiles, anything on my external while backing up everything to an online service. Every six months I reformat and reinstall all my programs without worry of losing data because it is all saved on my hard drive.

This would solve your issue of you computers slowing down, but not necessarily extend the life of it. The major advantages of external hard drives is data storage and security rather then performance. This also depends on how comfortable you are with starting from scratch and making sure you do not lose anything important.

Overall i don’t see much performance gain possible with just an external drive.

Spargett's avatar

Your Macbook’s memory will live on.

The machine itself is almost worthless in contrast with much of the irreplaceable data on it.

PupnTaco's avatar

Using Time Machine is very smart.

monsoon's avatar

Thanks pnt. Helpful.

chaosrob's avatar

You won’t really preserve the machine in any meaningful way by reducing the use of the internal hard drive. From a performance standpoint, unless the external is some kind of big RAID 0 device with multiple high-speed mechanisms in it, it’s not really going to offer you any speed boost, either.

Spargett is dead right to focus on the data, rather than the hardware, and PnT is dead right to suggest that making the external a Time Machine backup of the primary system is the best use for it. I’d say if you need more performance, consider investing in an up to date MacBook Pro.

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