External vs Internal Hard Drives



I would appreciate advice regarding the addition of another hard drive for system backups. Would an external or internal drive be better for the following scenario?

I want to end up with two working hard drives in my PC - one (40gb) dedicated for O/S & apps. The second (80gb) dedicated for video editing files & data. This will allow my video & graphics software to operate more reliably while increasing my storage. I still however, want a 40gb drive for full O/S backup. It will be shelved outside of the PC until needed.

The convenience of external drives is obvious. Simply plug in (either firewire or USB2) & go. Internal of course, requires opening the cabinet & swapping hard drives to backup/restore as needed - then reversing the swap (to remove & shelve the backup drive). On the other hand, I've heard horror stories about not being able to Ghost the O/S using some brands of external drives (Maxtor doesn't support DOS??) & some are slower than internal drives. Also, the cost is much higher than an internal drive.

My O/S consists of Win XP Home, Pentium 4, 1.6gb processsor & 512mb RAM. My PC has both Firewire & USB1 ports (but no USB2 card or anymore open drive spaces).

Your assistance will be very much appreciated.

Best regards, Dick

Bob S

I have not seen success in DOS (needed for Ghost) with the Maxtor and have not personally been successful with the BusLink. Iomega and Norton claim to be successful together, but I do not know and am dubious based on other claims by Norton over the years. Have you considered a removeable rack hard drive bay. I know Computer Geeks sells a cheap one that does work. You would need two so you could quickly swap drives without opening the case. This would work, I used to do it.

if anybody can tell you how to get a Buslink to work, let me know. I have a 40 gig I bought and haven't been able to use the way you (and I) want.
Well an external hdd for backup sounds very suiting. I don't know about the ghosting, I read something about it but I'm not sure if it solved itself. I don't think the speed is an issue as it is a backup drive and nothing else.

The price is higher, true, but a portable backup disk can be very handy.


I'm about to get an external one :)

Hi there,

I'm about to purchase one of Maxtors external Hdd's tomorrow because at the moment my system is being run on a 13gb hdd. (no where near enough with 9 odd gig of music on it)

I've also got an old Samsung 3.2gb hdd which is just full of music but because it's nearly 5 years old now i thought it would be wise to get another hdd, incase the small one crashed/burntout, on me.

Maxtor have a variety of ext. hdd's you can pick from but i chose the 5000 series 80gb one. It has that one touch backup thing ( a gimic in my eyes) but the 80gb of space suited me. The 3000 series has a 40gb one which i was initially going to go for but for an extra 60 odd € (same in $$) i decided to go for twice the space with the 80 one...

Anyway, opinion wise, i'm going for the external one not because of it's performance though i've read a few reviews and they all give it good ratings, but the practicality of it is just brilliant! Yeh you could use a removable rack, but i wanted something i could bring to my mates house etc. Or bring it to a mate's laptop in college which would allow me to transfer files back home within the day without having to open cases etc.

The usb 2.0 connection on it would give me quicker speeds then fire wire obviously but it's also usb 1.1 (with an obvious drop in performance) but still that compatibility is priceless..

And finally i'm basically just trying to say, if you want a hdd only for personal use, eg. your own files etc. and not for getting things off other comps etc. then i'd go for the removable rack. however if you'd want to back things up and get files off other people as well then i'd recommend the ext. one.

I hope this helps you a little..



Thanks to all of you for the helpful thoughts & your

Bob S: You've confirmed what I've heard elsewhere - that you can't do Ghost backups with most external drives. I also don't trust Nortons much exagerated claims, so Iomega isn't a candidate either.

I'll look into the removeable rack mount. But if you don't have to remove the covers, they must be designed for cases that have front accessed, slide-in bays. My HP doesn't. HD's install in a flip down rack that holds two of them. What about those conversion kits where you install an internal HD in them & connect to the PC externally? Maybe they're just another flavor of an external drive (but still no DOS)?

Nelly: Its nice to hear from Dublin. For your application, where you're only looking for space to store & transport music or other data (but no operating system backups) the Maxtor external drives could be ok. I use a partitioned, 80GB internal Maxtor & it performs well. You might look at the reviews on CNET. There are some people complaining about mechanical failures due (apparently) to heat buildup.

Zedric: I agree speed isn't important for backups, but it's nice to have. I don't mind the higher cost of an external drive if it would work for my application - but it looks like it doesn't.

Best regards, Dick


Very xp-erianced
Iomega does work with ghost.

Have a usb 120Gb that i use once a week for a complete hdd backup using the ghost 2003 that was included. The only thing my computer didn't like was the pc-dos drivers for usb 2.0 but if it uses 1.1 drivers it is fine. (takes about 5 hrs to do about 80Gb of info)


Thanks for the good Info Adek, it's appreciated.

Due to physical restraints of my PC, the Geek hard drive racks will not work for me.

I think however, that there is "another way to skin this cat"! Two internal drives - one with the O/S and the other with the Ghost backup. Then put the video editing files & other data on the external drive. That way, the external drive doesn't have to be used with Ghost.

Best regards, Dick

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