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External Hard Drives and itunes

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by FaninPatsyLand, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. FaninPatsyLand

    FaninPatsyLand The Truth

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    Hi all,

    I'm currently in the market for an external hard drive, the problem is that I don't know much about them, thus the creation of this thread. First, let me give you some background on why I've come to need one. When I was in college I had a school issued laptop where I stored all my music. When I graduated, I was able to keep the laptop. Unfortunately, that laptop died within a year after graduating, leaving me with no songs.

    Fast forward to now. I'm looking to start an itunes library from scratch, but I have a problem in that I don't have my own personal computer, per se. I currently use a collection of computers (mostly my work issued laptop). However, I cannot store music on my work laptop (nor would I want to, as I would lose it if I ever changed jobs and had to return my work computer). Thus, my current plan is to buy an external hard drive, download itunes to my work computer and another computer I have access to, but to download the actual songs from itunes onto the external hard drive via a USB connection. Theoretically, that would make my music library portable, being able to access my songs from whichever computer I plugged my external hard drive into, correct? Is that even possible?

    Recently, I've been doing alot of research on external hard drives. Here's a list of things I would like in any purchase:

    - Easy to use. I'm not a technical guy. I'm not looking to install any software on a computer just to use the external hard drive. In my mind, the perfect external hard drive for me would mirror a jump/thumb drive -- plug it into the USB port, the computer recognizes it, and drag and drop files.

    - The ability to create folders.

    - Reliability is hugely important. I don't want to lose my library again.

    - I'm not looking to spend much more than $100.

    As I mentioned, I've been doing some research on hard drives (which has basically consisted of me going on Amazon's best selling list :lol:). Here's three drives I've been looking at (I realize two of them are probably the same drive sans the storage space):

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Iomega-Prestige-Desktop-External-34275/dp/B001D7REJ4/ref=pd_ts_e_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics"]Amazon.com: Iomega Prestige 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive 34275: Electronics[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Portable-External-Drive-HDDR320E04XW/dp/B002CM3N2Q/ref=pd_ts_e_4?ie=UTF8&s=electronics"]Amazon.com: Toshiba 320 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive HDDR320E04XW (Vivid White): Electronics[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-500-Portable-Hard-Drive/dp/B002BW6DBU/ref=pd_ts_e_2?ie=UTF8&s=electronics"]Amazon.com: Toshiba 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - Liquid Blue (HDDR500E04XL): Electronics[/ame]

    Like I said before, I'm pretty clueless about this stuff, so any help you might be able to offer would be greatly appreciated. Just to reiterate, my sole purpose for this drive is to store my itunes library. For those of you who have itunes libraries, what are some of the best practices you guys have used in regards to safe guarding your downloads?

    One last question. I have an iPhone, which is where I will be downloading these songs. Say, for a moment, that my drive crashes, but all the songs on the drive were on my iPhone. If I went out and bought another computer/hard drive, would I be able to transfer my music from my iPhone back onto a new computer/hard drive? Again, sorry for all the questions, I'm just extremely paranoid about losing my library again.

    The computers I will be using with this drive are PCs that run Windows XP and Windows Vista.

    Again, thank you in advance for all your help, it is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Desides

    Desides Well-Known Member

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    How many computers do you use in your house? Do you plan on accessing your music outside of the house?

    I ask because what you might actually be in the market for is Network Attached Storage, which is basically a hard drive or collection of hard drives hooked up directly to your router or DSL/cable modem that all of your computers can access. They're a little more expensive, but you get what you pay for. An external hard drive plugged into the USB slot of your router or DSL/cable modem (presuming you have one, and presuming the device recognizes the hard drive) could also be acceptable.

    But it depends on your planned usage.
     
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  3. NJFINSFAN1

    NJFINSFAN1 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    Interested in seeing the answers also, I just got a seagate 2 TB, but as of yet can't figure out how to do files.

    I really don't want to back up my whole PC (which is what it seems to be doing), but just my pictures, music and some documents.
     
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  4. azfinfanmang

    azfinfanmang Premium Member Luxury Box

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    It shouldn't back-up your internal?
    Have you mapped to it already Greg?
    It should just look like another drive or device in "EXPLORE" or view through "MY COMPUTER" if you prefer....same thing just different GUI :up:
     
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  5. Vengeful Odin

    Vengeful Odin Norse Mod

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    I have an older generation iMac with 80 GB of storage, and, like you, eventually needed extra storage.

    I've got a 500 GB My Book (by Western Digital) that I picked up about a year ago at the start of semester. I went with it because it can be used between Operating Systems (though I formatted it for Mac only). The My Book shows up as another icon on my desktop. I paid a little extra for the firewire connection (my iMac doesn't have USB 2.0), and from a transfer perspective it works great ... it's super fast. What's cool is that iTunes allows me to import music directly into the external drive, and also will play back music from the external drive.

    Regarding moving songs from your phone back to the drive, you can do it but you'll need to find a 3rd party program. I've got a Mac tool that works perfectly well, but I'm unfamiliar with the PC arena.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  6. azfinfanmang

    azfinfanmang Premium Member Luxury Box

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    As far as the original post, I don't want to go view those you have posted from my phone, but they make portable external hard-drives. It is pretty much just a very large "Thimb-drive" and is already loaded with ots own executable so where ever you plug it in, it is recognized.
    I will try to post some examples later.
    I don't think you want one as big as a Tera-Flop unless you are gonna store LOTS of movies as well as songs.
    A 64 gig hard drive will store thousands of songs.
    EDIT: I just noticed that you are gonna be running it on both XP and Vista?
    You more than likely are gonna see some problems.
    iTunes runs on 32-bit XP OR 64 bit Vista. It does NOT run on 64 bit XP, and the 32 bit and 64 bit are different builds all-together.
     
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  7. FaninPatsyLand

    FaninPatsyLand The Truth

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    Lots of good replies in this thread, even though, admittedly, I don't understand some of the real technical stuff. Of course, I really do appreciate all of you taking the time to reply.

    After thinking this over, I thought rephrasing the question might bring out some creative approaches to handling this situation. Instead of me telling you all what I think I need, how about you guys offer some recommendations for me?

    I'll quickly summarize the circumstances from the orginal post:

    - I have no digital music as of right now. I recently bought an iPhone and am looking to start an iTunes library from scratch.

    - I don't have a personal computer. I have a work issued laptop and access to another laptop.

    Basically, the whole reason I don't want to just start downloading songs to my computer right away is because I'm paranoid about something happening to the said computer, and losing my library again.

    That said, EVERYONE has some type of digital music library and ipod/mp3 player, do they really just download songs to their personal computer and pray that it doesn't crash and leave them S.O.L.? Maybe they do, but that just seems crazy to me.

    Also, based on VO's reply above, if my computer does crash but all of the songs on the computer were also on my iPhone I would be able to transfer the music from my iPhone back onto a new computer. Does that eliminate the need for an extrenal hard drive all-together?

    Thanks guys!
     
  8. Desides

    Desides Well-Known Member

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    Generally, yes. It's stupid. But hey.

    No. An iPhone is not a backup device. There are also restrictions on when you can and can't sync content to a different device via the iPhone.

    What you want is some form of centralized storage, preferably attached to your home router or DSL/cable modem. (You do have internet access at home, yes?) Thus, network-attached storage. Plugging an external hard drive into the USB slot on your router or DSL/cable modem is a more basic version of the same concept. Basically, you get some form of remote storage available over your home network, then go into iTunes and specify the networked drive as your iTunes media destination.

    If you've got internet access at home you should be able to do this without a problem, as long as your internet-accessing box has a USB slot and supports sharing a hard drive over the network. Not all do, nor do they do it very well, which is why the more advanced concept of network-attached storage appeared.
     
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  9. FaninPatsyLand

    FaninPatsyLand The Truth

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    After some more research, I think I'm going to purchase a 16 GB flash drive. Is there any reason I should be wary of buying a flash drive to store only music? I assume they're as reliable as having a full-fledged external hard drive.

    Here is the flash drive I'm currently looking at:

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/HP-v125w-Flash-Drive-P-FD16GHP125-EF/dp/B001QVN9Y6/ref=pd_ts_e_4?ie=UTF8&s=electronics"]Amazon.com: HP v125w 16 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive P-FD16GHP125-EF: Electronics[/ame]

    Some of the things I like about this drive:

    - The HP name.
    - Easy to use, no software install required.
    - Plug in - Drag and drop files.
    - Price.
     
  10. FaninPatsyLand

    FaninPatsyLand The Truth

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    Desides, thanks for this writeup, extremely informative. My only hesitation regarding this approach would be the commitment to my current living situation. If I move in the near future (a distinct possibility), the setup at my new place might not mirror my current situation.

    That's why I'm leaning towards the cheap approach of a flash drive.
     
  11. Desides

    Desides Well-Known Member

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    All you would have to do is take the external drive with you. It won't be tied down to the place you live at or the networking hardware you currently use. You'd just have to make sure that whatever networking hardware you have in the future can support external hard drives via its USB slot. I have a Netgear WNDR3700 router that does just that, for example.

    If you're THAT worried about compatibility, even though you shouldn't be, it's best to go with an entry-level NAS box and a low-power hard drive. Instead of USB, it attaches via an Ethernet jack on the back of your router or DSL/cable modem and is assigned an IP address just as if it were a computer. You can then set up network sharing in whatever OS you're using at the time, and you can do this with any computer.

    Ultimately it's up to your preferences and budget. I would NOT use a thumb drive, however: they generally don't have the storage capacity for even a small iTunes library.
     
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  12. azfinfanmang

    azfinfanmang Premium Member Luxury Box

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    Depending on how much music you want to lug around, that should do fine. -
    Just a thought, I got an iPod Nano 5th gen, 16 GB for 170 bucks at xmas.
    That might be a good way to go :up:
     
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  13. FaninPatsyLand

    FaninPatsyLand The Truth

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    Again, sorry for my ignorance, but I currently only have a 16GB iPhone, so all the music that I could not fit onto the above (16GB) flash drive also would not fit on my iPhone, correct? Or am I completely missing something?
     
  14. FaninPatsyLand

    FaninPatsyLand The Truth

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    Thanks AZ. Any idea around how many songs a 16 GB flash drive might store? I'm not going to be downloading videos or thousands of songs, either.

    I think the most songs I ever had on my previous library was around 700.
     
  15. azfinfanmang

    azfinfanmang Premium Member Luxury Box

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    According to www.everymac.com
    A 16 gig 5th gen Nano will hold 4000 songs approx.
    I don't know about anybody else, but that's a sheetload of songs folks.
    Seriously, unless you are making a living, do you really need more than that?
    BTW: I would post a better link, but I am on my phone.
     
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  16. Desides

    Desides Well-Known Member

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    There's more to an iTunes library than just the music files. There's database overhead to deal with, applications, and the possibility of future expansion. (The thing can play TV shows and movies; you might get tempted and buy an iTunes Season Pass or buy one or two movies.)

    Another reason to go with some form of external drive: actual warranties.
     
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  17. FaninPatsyLand

    FaninPatsyLand The Truth

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    That's so much more storage than I'll ever need.

    Thanks for all your help AZ, it is greatly appreciated.
     
  18. azfinfanmang

    azfinfanmang Premium Member Luxury Box

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    Anytime my friend, and keep in mind the great insight brother Des has added.
    Chances are, you will eventually wanna go to a regular hard-drive, and he has added some great advice. :hi5:
     
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  19. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    So you know, external hard drives are nothing but regular hard drives enclosed within an external case. They generally cost about 50% more than regular drives, so you're basically paying $20-$50 for the plastic frame.

    Instead, get a flash drive. You can grab a 16 gig flash drive off Newegg for around $30, and that will hold around 4,000 MP3's. It fits in your pocket, uploads/downloads easily, and is a great quick fix.

    What you really need is a new computer system...while you're at Newegg grab the parts and build a solid starter CPU for around $250. Don't buy a $200 device to play songs when you can have an actual system for the same price.
     
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  20. maynard

    maynard Who, whom?

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    this is a topic i really have no idea about. i have always had desktops. i have recently been thinking of getting a thumb drive for transferring data from my college labs to my desktop if i want to work on them at home, but i really have no idea what i want

    i also currently have no backup to my PC and have been thinking i should do so. im pretty computer savvy, but have complete ignorance on this stuff because i just havent needed it before.

    i would also appreciate a suggestion.

    doesnt make sense to create a new thread on this
     
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  21. FaninPatsyLand

    FaninPatsyLand The Truth

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    Any recommendations on a particular 16GB flash drive in the $30-$50 range?
     
  22. azfinfanmang

    azfinfanmang Premium Member Luxury Box

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    They are all pretty much the same.
    I would also suggest perusing TigerDirect. They have been Supergood to me in the past.
    Heck, if you would rather, you can drive down to best buy and ask for piece match :up:
     
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  23. Wicked Vex

    Wicked Vex Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233042

    or

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820171375

    The first flash drive I linked has the most reviews and is highly rated. Reading through the poor reviews it seems like it has a short life span, but the excellent reviews say otherwise. All I know is that Corsair makes good RAM (been using them for years); USB drives I don't have any personal experience with.

    The second flash drive I linked I can sort of vouch for. I have been using the 4GB version for a bit over 4 years now, it has taken a beating (hangs from my key chain) and still works like a charm. It is slightly cheaper and doesn't have as many reviews and ratings as the other one.
     
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  24. GridIronKing34

    GridIronKing34 Silently Judging You Club Member

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    Flash drives can be easily lost, go through the wash, etc.

    I'd stick with an external hard drive, they're not as bad as some make them sound.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822186134

    This is what I would suggest being you seem to want to back up your music library and other things. I've had good luck with Iomega and it's pretty cheap too. Obviously you can pay more and upgrade... but I don't think a lot of space is what is needed.

    I do a lot of video editing and use up drive space VERY quickly and I would say that external drives are just fine, especially for someone who will likely plug it in and leave it in... or plug it in then shelf it. You're not going to put it through the wash, you're likely not to lose it, and they are not as overpriced as suggested.... especially when you consider the convenience factor.

    I would be worth backing up your computer as well... better safe than sorry.
     
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  25. azfinfanmang

    azfinfanmang Premium Member Luxury Box

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    As Mat said, IOMEGA is good, so is Kingston and Sandisk.
    Whatever you decide on, compare the price at Tigerdirect.com. They have daved me mucho money in the past.
     
  26. FaninPatsyLand

    FaninPatsyLand The Truth

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    Well, first let me thank you all for the input. It is much appreciated.

    As for my decision, I've flip flopped more than a political candidate during an election cycle :lol:. Honestly, I have no idea which direction I should go -- Flash Drive or External HD.

    The cost of each are similar enough that my decision isn't going to be swayed by price -- I just want the more reliable of the two. And based on some of the above comments, there seems to be conflicting thoughts about the more reliable approach.
     
  27. azfinfanmang

    azfinfanmang Premium Member Luxury Box

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    I think you need to decide exactly what it is you need this for.
    If indeed you want a portable device you can take and use on multiple computers, which is what I understood, you definately want a flashdrive.
    If you want to create a library of all your songs that will reside at one place, but not eat up all your existing hard drive, then an external is what you want.
    I have had a Sandisk flashdrive for several years now....never ever a lick of trouble, and I used to use it A LOT!
    An external will last....well, a long long time.
     
  28. GridIronKing34

    GridIronKing34 Silently Judging You Club Member

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    Agreed, if you just want to back stuff up and not really move your disk around... then external. But if you want to move it around, then flash drive. As Kenny said, depends on how you want to use it.
     
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  29. daphins

    daphins A-Style

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    When I shop for Hard drive's, there's only one company I look at....Western Digital.

    I was in the same boat as you, had to lease my laptop from the school, it had an 80 GB HD but I needed to store about 300 Gigs worth of digital models and art. I ended up buying a 500 GB Western Digital HD at the time for about 120 bucks.

    After I graduated I got a job and needed a portable HD....so I went out and got a Western Digital Passport 300GB for about 100 bucks.

    IMO Western Digital sets the bar for HD's. There's a reason Apple uses them..they're reliable. I've had 2 different Toshiba's in my laptop...I'm on my 3rd. I had a Maxtor External HD and it failed on me after about a year and a half. The WD's are about 3-4 years old and going strong.

    You can get a 1 TB WD External My Book for $80.00 if you wait for a deal..otherwise you'll be spending about $120.00.

    You can get a passport for slightly more than that..the benefits of the passport is that it's portable (very small) and doesn't require an external power source (it powers itself from the USB cable). Both are plug and play and went between my laptop, my girls laptop, the computer lab, and my parents desktop seamlessly. If you want something portable I HIGHLY suggest the passport...they're damn cheap for what they are. You can get a 500 GB for $95.00 on any given day, and 1 TB for that if you keep an eye out.

    Love them both and won't buy another brand again.

    Links to what I'm talking about
    My Book:
    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Essential-External-WDBAAF0010HBK-NESN/dp/B002JMYCTC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1265079838&sr=8-1"]Amazon.com: Western Digital My Book Essential 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive WDBAAF0010HBK-NESN: Electronics[/ame]

    Passport
    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Passport-Essential-WDBAAA5000ABK-NESN/dp/B002KG2LOA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1265079867&sr=8-2"]Amazon.com: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive WDBAAA5000ABK-NESN (Midnight Black): Electronics[/ame]
     
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  30. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    TigerDirect and Newegg offer comparible prices, and the ultimate savings usually comes from who has the best special on the particular day you are buying. However, all electronics equipment have occasional issues, and Newegg customer support is 10x better than TigerDirect. I have returned items to both companies and Newegg is much faster and more proficient. I build CPU's for a secondary income and can personally testify how huge customer service is in this industry.

    Like others have said the brand name is not huge....you're buying the technology and reading 30 personal opinions can vary greatly and bias you towards one item or the other. Either it works or it doesn't. By all means pick one with good reviews, but do not spend more tha a few extra dollars for it. Like I said earlier, there are daily sales at both websites and if you shop them you can save good money. For an item like this TigerDirect should be fine...so if it's cheaper there buy it. If not, definitely shop Newegg.
     
  31. GatorDrew84

    GatorDrew84 New Member

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    Like everyone else said, most hard drives are the same. The enclosures they are in to make the "external" are nothing more than a standard SATA (most likely) to USB/Firewire/eSata. If your computer has an eSata connection, I highly recommend you purchase an enclosure that has one. As for where to find it, I personally have used Newegg for all my computer purchases because of price, customer service, and delivery is usually fast and cheap.

    In regards to flash drives... these are not the same across the board. Some have much faster read/write capabilities than others. After tons of research, I've come to like the Patriot XT line of flash drives. I personally have the 16GB, but they also make a 32GB version. Check out the search results here on Newegg.
     

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