Author Topic: USB External HDs/SSDs  (Read 229 times)

Darius1968

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USB External HDs/SSDs
« on: July 04, 2022, 04:05:33 AM »
If I keep Terabytes of data on USB external storage (ie., HD or SSD), in the opinion of others on this forum, is it better to leave it plugged into the USB at all times, or is it better to remove it when not in use?  Can repeated unplugging/plugging shorten its life? 

sinus

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Re: USB External HDs/SSDs
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2022, 10:09:58 AM »
Darius
a good question.
to be honest: I do not know this, in this case I am in the same boat like you.

My opinion is, that I would not let plugged it in all the time.
I would plug in maybe once a month, because put it away for years, I think, is also not the best.

But maybe a "tech-guy" can say exactly, what is the best in this case.
(though, some month ago, I googled about, what it the best to charge a handy ... unbelieveable, so called experts did know it for sure, and then other experts wrote exactly the contrary  ::) ???)

Best wishes from Switzerland! :-)
Markus

Darius1968

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Re: USB External HDs/SSDs
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2022, 10:22:58 AM »
Markus - Thanks for your contribution to this post  :)
In my case, if I went the way of unplugging when not in use, unplugging/plugging-in could/probably would happen daily, as on the removable 4TB hard drive, I would keep my collection of movies, video recordings, and photos.  This, to free up storage on my internal SSD. 

digedag

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Re: USB External HDs/SSDs
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2022, 11:32:27 AM »
[...] to leave it plugged into the USB at all times, or is it better to remove it when not in use? [...]

I would say: For security reasons, it is better to plug in only when you need access to the data.
Reason: If your computer gets infected by ransomware and your USB hard drive is permanently connected, then all your data on it will be encrypted!


Bernhard

mopperle

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Re: USB External HDs/SSDs
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2022, 01:45:14 PM »
I would say: For security reasons, it is better to plug in only when you need access to the data.
Reason: If your computer gets infected by ransomware and your USB hard drive is permanently connected, then all your data on it will be encrypted!


Bernhard
Security is for me the only reason to unplug certain devices. Others (HD/SSD) are connected for years now, without any problem.

Mario

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Re: USB External HDs/SSDs
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2022, 02:13:59 PM »
Windows shuts down unused spinning hard disks after 20 minutes by default, to minimize power consumption.
So, not much gained by un-plugging. Except more safety, in case your PC becomes infected by disk encryption malware.

Also to consider (from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_hardware):

Standard USB has a minimum rated lifetime of 1,500 cycles of insertion and removal, the mini-USB receptacle increases this to 5,000 cycles, and the newer Micro-USB and USB-C receptacles are both designed for a minimum rated lifetime of 10,000 cycles of insertion and removal.

Assuming you unplug the computer-facing plug and it plugs into a standard (big A type) USB plug, you have 1,500 plug-in/pull cycles before (in theory) the receptacle kicks it.
1,500 cycles means that when you plug/unplug once a day, the receptacle or plug will last about 4 years.

For safety, assume a lifespan of 3 years for an external disk. Many live a lot longer, but if the data on the disk is important, replace disks every 3 years (and always have a full and up-to-date backup of course).
To reduce the wear on the USB receptacle in your PC, always unplug on the disk side. If you replace the disk (with enclosure) every 3 years, you get a new USB receptacle when you replace the disk.

Darius1968

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Re: USB External HDs/SSDs
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2022, 03:41:23 PM »
About the lifespan of the actual USB receptacle itself:  I usually have a USB extension cable between the computer's USB receptacle and the USB cable going into the device itself.  This way, no (or minimal) damage done to the receptacle on the computer. 

Jingo

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Re: USB External HDs/SSDs
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2022, 11:33:05 AM »
I've pulled drives from external USB and popped them into faster/newer enclosures many times over the years... simple to do and quite inexpensive.

However, modern drives are also much faster than older drives and as Mario mentioned, the connectors both external (usb-c) and internal (sata) are much more robust and faster as well!