Bigger Isn't Always Better For External Hard Drives - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Bigger Isn't Always Better For External Hard Drives

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If your personal computer struggles to turn on or makes a grinding noise, it may be time to back up your memory with an external hard drive. News 8 finds out the do's and don't's of defending your data.

Chad Baker's computer holds 15 years worth of memories he wanted to protect.

"Just to back up everything in case anything happened to my home computer, you know, fire or crash or whatever," he said.

So this civil engineer who likes to do his homework went to work, researching online the best external hard drives on the market, and he quickly found that there are more than 1,000 to choose from.

"So I've done a lot of research," he said.

Yet, the hard drive he picked crashed on him. So he sent it back for repair.

"I had it back for about two months after having it back from warranty and it crashed a second time," he said.

A couple of angry letters later, and Chad says the company offered to take the hard drive apart in a clean room and retrieve his data for a small price.

"Their initial estimate was $1,700 to recover the data, almost 10 times more than the cost of the original hard drive," Chad said.

Chad thought that was a rip-off, so he sought the advice of computer experts, who told him when it comes to hard drives, bigger isn't always better. Chad bought a 750 gigabyte external hard drive, and these days many people are loading up on 1 terabyte drives.

But several computer experts tell News 8 that mega memory can be temperamental, so settle for between 160 and 500 gigabytes and your hard drive will be more stable and less likely to crash.

So far it's working for Chad.

"Seems like anything over 500 gigs seems to always give me problems, so I'm kind of trying to stick with 500 or lower," he said.

Going cheap on a hard drive isn't your best bet either. Remember, pick the right product and you won't have to worry about it for years to come.

Computer experts say a quality 500 gig external hard drive should cost you between $100 and $150.

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