One of the things I’ve been looking at for a while are new affordable external hard drives for my computer. Right around the Christmas season, and especially on Black Friday, there always seems to be tons of good deals. Hard Drives that would normally cost you $150 could probably be found for less than $100.
But lately I’ve begun to wonder if using an online backup service would be not only a lower cost, but also a smarter alternative.
My Love & Hate for Affordable External Hard Drives:
Everyone with a computer knows you’ve got to backup your PC to some external unit. If you don’t, you’re leaving ALL your files at risk to hardware failure or nasty viruses and malware that can destroy your operating system. That means the potential to lose all your photos, videos, music, and anything else you have saved (such as the files for this blog!)
How often do you think hard drives fail? If you said less than 1% of time, you’d share the same opinion as most people. But you’d also be wrong. Depending on which kind you have, the failure rate for most drivers was between 2% and 4%, and as high as 13% in some scenarios!
If you’ve ever had this happen to you before, then you know that this is no fun. I know it really stunk when it happened to me. But here’s where the real punch in the gut came in: The day after our PC hard drive crashed, so did our external hard drive! What terrible luck!
What About Using an Online File Backup Service?
So rather than just sink money into more affordable external hard drives, I got thinking: What if I used approximately the same amount of money to instead pay for some kind of online file backup service? Looking at competitive rates from a vendor like Carbonite, it seems to take about 2 to 3 years of subscription ($59/yr) to equal the cost of a common external hard drive. Given my experience with these devices, that’s about how long they last!
One of the things I like about this alternative is saving my files to a remote location. Suppose a terrible tragedy happened and our house burned down! Even though we’re covered by home insurance to replace our lost items, both the PC and external hard drive would be lost – along with all our files. If there were at a remote location accessible through the web, then I’d have nothing to worry about.
Another nice feature of online file backup is that I’d be able to save and access my files from one central location. This would be a nice feature that would beat using a flash drive since I often work from various locations depending on where I’m at during the day.
Readers – I’m looking for opinions. Which one do you use: An external hard drive or online file backup service? Is anyone extra careful and use both?