Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


USB Flash or External HD - Which is better?

  1. #1

    USB Flash or External HD - Which is better?


    I need to make a backup image of my HD and my question is this. Which is easier, when it comes to restoring the image, USB flash or External HD? I ask because I wonder if I made an image on an external HD when it comes to the actual restoration, would the external HD boot, if say my OS is so corrupt it won't boot into the OS. I have an ASUS K55N DS81 laptop. Also, I feel I would need a 128GB flash drive because of the size of the saved space on my HD and I wonder if I should just go ahead and buy the external HD and save money. Thanks for your help.

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  2. #2


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Either one should be able to be made bootable, assuming your backup software has that function. The external hard drive should be cheaper if you compare the cost per gigabyte. More room for more backups too. Thumb drives are easier to carry. I use thumb drives for my Windows install media. I have one just for installing Windows, another one with just drivers on it for my hardware, and one with Office etc on it. I also have an external hard drive for backing up my Data. I don't image my OS but I do backup my documents, pictures and other Data just in case I have a hard drive failure etc.
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  3. #3


    Thanks for your reply alphanumeric.I have a 32 GB flash drive for saving documents, etc. I would just feel more comfortable if I had an image that I could use. Looking to make it as fail safe as possible.
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  4. #4


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    There are pros and cons to both. The thumb drive will be more portable and less likely to get damaged by bumps and knocks etc. It should have faster read times too. Its going to be more expensive especially for a large capacity like 128 gig though. I have at last count about 18 thumb drives in sizes from 1 gig to 16 gig. I wouldn't mind having a few larger ones like 32 gig, or 64 gig. 4 or so external hard drives, some are just recycled laptop drives, 60, 80 120 and 750 gig. The 750 gig drive is a new laptop drive that I put in an enclosure when I put SSD's in my new laptop. That's the one I use for backup. The other ones are just for messing around with Windows to Go installs and such.
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  5. #5


    The Western Digital Passport drives are small, and I bought a 2Tbit one for $129US they are very handy and will do the job you require.
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  6. #6


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    Quote Originally Posted by bobbyk View Post
    Thanks for your reply alphanumeric.I have a 32 GB flash drive for saving documents, etc. I would just feel more comfortable if I had an image that I could use. Looking to make it as fail safe as possible.

    I use Macrium Reflect.

    All local drives are 43 GBs total.
    The image I created is 27 GBs due to the compression used.

    I saved the image to a 32 GB usb & it works good.

    Click image for larger version

    Click image for larger version

    You may not need a 128 GB usb.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    Another option is to get a docking station. Even the USB 3.0 ones are cheap these days. You can get internal drives such as WD and slide them in the dock. I got a plastic stack of drawers from Walmart for about $8 that held 6 HD. A benefit is you can use them for video storage as well as backup images. It's good to have backup images on more than one drive. Using internal drives and a dock makes that more economical.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by bobbyk View Post
    I need to make a backup image of my HD and my question is this. Which is easier, when it comes to restoring the image, USB flash or External HD? I ask because I wonder if I made an image on an external HD when it comes to the actual restoration, would the external HD boot, if say my OS is so corrupt it won't boot into the OS. I have an ASUS K55N DS81 laptop. Also, I feel I would need a 128GB flash drive because of the size of the saved space on my HD and I wonder if I should just go ahead and buy the external HD and save money. Thanks for your help.
    I use both, I use a flash drive to boot into macrium reflect and have my Images on an external drive. I Rather not have my external drives bootable. That's for my notebook. my work stations being MBR rather than GPT I use Acronis and same protocol I use a flash drive to boot up in Acronis and have my images and back ups on an eSATA external dives. I again don't want these external hard drives bootable as I leave them connected all the time for scheduled daily data back ups. I'm invested in Acronis however they for some reason haven't sorted out how to rebuild a UEFI GPT boot OS disk. That's been solved with Macrium Reflect and works flawlessly. I will probably migrate to macrium reflect with my work stations as it seems to be as good in some ways way better than Acronis. Acronis tech support sucks Reflect tech support and forums much better.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Again I want to thank everyone for their responses. This forum is great and has very knowledgeable people. So far, I'm thinking I do have the 32GB flash drive and Macrium Refelect Free. So, maybe I'll see if the image can be compressed onto it. I have a hard drive from an HP PC that has a bad motherboard and I checked on EBay and found an adaptor kit to make that drive connect to USB. It's 250MB and I could use it for backups of data and the adaptor is only 14.99. That would be my only cost. Great guys, I can be protected and not go broke, as I'm not in a position to spend much. I'm really glad I joined this forum.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    Quote Originally Posted by bobbyk View Post
    Again I want to thank everyone for their responses. This forum is great and has very knowledgeable people. So far, I'm thinking I do have the 32GB flash drive and Macrium Refelect Free. So, maybe I'll see if the image can be compressed onto it. I have a hard drive from an HP PC that has a bad motherboard and I checked on EBay and found an adaptor kit to make that drive connect to USB. It's 250MB and I could use it for backups of data and the adaptor is only 14.99. That would be my only cost. Great guys, I can be protected and not go broke, as I'm not in a position to spend much. I'm really glad I joined this forum.
    If you make an image with Macrium also do what is in this picture:

    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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