Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


OK to keep user files on an external USB drive?

  1. #1


    Posts : 10
    Windows 8.1

    OK to keep user files on an external USB drive?


    Hi All,

    I plan to get a new Windows 8.1 laptop soon. I want it to have 8gb RAM and an internal 128gb SSD drive where I keep all the OS, driver and other system files. Then I want all my media files (documents, music, vids, etc) on an external USB 3.0 hard drive. I recognize that keeping files on an external drive may cause slow behavior in some situations. My my guess is that USB 3.0 is fast enough so this won't be a problem in most situations. And I plan to get an external drive that has USB 3.0.

    I'm not a power user. I don't edit video or do fancy rendering or stuff like that. I just browse the net, create some docs and spreadsheets, listen to some music and watch some vids. I play around with Audacity once in a while and that's about it. I'm an average user.

    So, any problems with keeping all my user files on an external drive?

    Thanks! Cheers,

    Advait

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    I could be wrong
    If it were me, I'd get a self-propelled external hdd with SATA III hdd and connect it to computer with eSATA
    From what I've read: SATA III transfers up to 6GBS and eSATA does share power like USB does


    If you only have 1 computer, why not just install an internal SATA III drive ?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64


    If you have 128GB drive you will have probably still have 100GB free after installing Windows. Certainly you can keep music, video and documents on a USB drive. I use USB2 and that is fine for that. Buy two so you can make a backup in case it breaks.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Maybe I just bad luck with SSDs but I've had 2 die. I lost a few files the first time. So I store all my personal data on old fashion SATA drives and OS and program files on SSD. The second time I just lost the OS
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 10
    Windows 8.1


    [[Thank you pcRat for your reply. My questions in brackets below.]]

    I could be wrong
    If it were me, I'd get a self-propelled

    [[By "self propelled" I presume you mean powered thru the USB cable? I haven't heard that term before.]]

    external hdd with SATA III hdd and connect it to computer with eSATA

    [[That implies that new laptops have an eSATAp 3 port. Is that indeed true? Remember I'm getting a laptop not a desktop.]]

    From what I've read: SATA III transfers up to 6GBS and eSATA does share power like USB does

    [[How many new laptops have an eSATAp 3 ports? Just a few? Or standard on most new laptops? And doen't USB 3 run at 5gbs which is pretty close to 6gbs for eSATA 3?]]

    [[Do some external eSATA 3 drives run over USB 3.0?]]

    If you only have 1 computer, why not just install an internal SATA III drive ?

    [[Your question implies that a spinning SATA 3 drive is comparable in speed to a quality SSD. Is that true? I was looking at SSD for internal drive so the OS can boot really fast. If the OS can boot just as fast from an internal SATA 3 drive, then I'll consider that. Do most new laptops use SATA 3 for internal drive? I'm not an expert on the latest laptop specs.]]

    [[Thanks! Kind Regards, -Advait]]
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 10
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by adamf View Post
    If you have 128GB drive you will have probably still have 100GB free after installing Windows. Certainly you can keep music, video and documents on a USB drive. I use USB2 and that is fine for that. Buy two so you can make a backup in case it breaks.
    Thanks for the reply. I'll install a number of programs on the internal SSD so the extra space will be useful for my peace of mind. And you're correct; any leftover space on the internal SSD I'll fill with my fave media files.

    So maybe I can get away with a 64gb internal SSD. I'll explore that.

    I'm a backup fanatic. I make a daily image of my internal drive and a daily differential backup of my media drive.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 10
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by pcRat View Post
    Maybe I just bad luck with SSDs but I've had 2 die. I lost a few files the first time. So I store all my personal data on old fashion SATA drives and OS and program files on SSD. The second time I just lost the OS
    I've heard that running SpinRite Level 2 on SSDs can prolong their life.

    As I mentioned earlier I backup up everything everyday. So if my internal SSD dies I'll just slap in the external drive that has the image. (The external drive is an openable case that has an internal drive that can be removed.)

    Thanks, Kind Regards, -Advait
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 10
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by adamf View Post
    If you have 128GB drive you will have probably still have 100GB free after installing Windows. Certainly you can keep music, video and documents on a USB drive. I use USB2 and that is fine for that. Buy two so you can make a backup in case it breaks.
    So it looks like keeping all my media files on an external USB 3.0 drive should not be a problem for my situation.

    Thanks! Kind Regards,
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by m3110w View Post
    [[Thank you pcRat for your reply. My questions in brackets below.]]

    I could be wrong
    If it were me, I'd get a self-propelled

    [[By "self propelled" I presume you mean powered thru the USB cable? I haven't heard that term before.]]
    Some ext hdd get power thru USB. A self propelled gets power from wall receptacle, cigarette lighter adapter etc.

    external hdd with SATA III hdd and connect it to computer with eSATA

    [[That implies that new laptops have an eSATAp 3 port. Is that indeed true? Remember I'm getting a laptop not a desktop.]]
    Not true. But you can get a Express to USB 3.0 & eSATA Interfaces 5 Gb/S Laptop Expansion Card for your laptop.
    From what I've read: SATA III transfers up to 6GBS and eSATA does share power like USB does

    [[How many new laptops have an eSATAp 3 ports? Just a few? Or standard on most new laptops? And doen't USB 3 run at 5gbs which is pretty close to 6gbs for eSATA 3?]]
    Not standard issue, more common on higher priced models & sale items. We learn by understanding the specs and comparing them before a purchase. My #1 peeve that I warn about is buying a new computer with a 64-bit OS installed but the RAM cannot exceed 4 GB; if the pc can't handle more than 4 GB memory, leave it on the store shelf.

    [[Do some external eSATA 3 drives run over USB 3.0?]]
    From what I've read, Yes, especially if you have other items in use thru USB 3.0 ports. Unless you use a Self-propelled USB Hub which acts like a USB extebsion cord and all USB traffic goes in at one point.

    If you only have 1 computer, why not just install an internal SATA III drive ?

    [[Your question implies that a spinning SATA 3 drive is comparable in speed to a quality SSD. Is that true? I was looking at SSD for internal drive so the OS can boot really fast. If the OS can boot just as fast from an internal SATA 3 drive, then I'll consider that. Do most new laptops use SATA 3 for internal drive? I'm not an expert on the latest laptop specs.]]
    After awhile, SSD boots slow too. Just like its predecessors, SATA, SATA II, SATA III; SSD gets slower as we get use to it. I can't say about SATA 3 vs SSD but
    I can say there isn't much difference in 8.1 bootup on SSD and 8.1 on SATA 2. The SATA 2 is partitioned 100 GB - Partition 1= OS and Program files , Partition 2= 100 GB - Partition 3= Program Exes and Program CDs copied .
    [[Thanks! Kind Regards, -Advait]]
    If you haven't bought your laptop yet. Post its model name and number for someone to check specs and maybe direct you to a better deal. Some of the new computers being sold now are actually 4-5 yrs old and have short memory limitations etc.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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