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Jun 09 2015

SSD Or HDD: Which Hard Drive Is Best?

By Bob Hooper for Island Eye News

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Nowadays, Solid State Drives or SSDs are all the rage. Many Apple laptops, including the very popular Macbook Airs, come with them built in. They are fast hard drives and, as prices have recently dropped for the 128GB and 256GB sizes, it can make sense to replace that aging hard drive in your older laptop.

But be aware of some shortcomings: one of them being a loss of data. Unlike a “spinning” hard disk drive, which can show signs of becoming unstable (such as noises or sluggishness), an SSD can fail in an instant, without any notice. With the way the data is stored and how SSDs access the data once it fails, the chances of retrieving the data can be problematic at best. SSD manufacturers have different encryption technologies and proprietary controllers that make it difficult to use just one type of resource to recover the data. There are websites that offer recovery services, but be aware the prices are high.

The chances of this happening are low and, in doing work on both Macs and PC, I’ve only seen only a couple of SSDs and a handful of HDDs that have stopped completely. I was able to recover data from all but one HDD but could not recover either of the SSDs. The data was not deemed worthy to send out for “professional” recovery at a hefty price. In some cases it can cost as much as a $1 a Megabyte. (There are 1000 MB in one GB.)

So what do I do to stop this from happening to me? Well, I backup my data. Remember to backup, backup, and—oh yeah—back up!

You can do it locally in your home or office simply with an external hard drive or thumb drive, depending on how much you have to backup, or you can also get an external HD such as Seagate or Western Digital 1TB (terabyte) for around $60-70 locally or through Amazon. Carbonite and other similar programs (there are plenty) are good options for online backup. However, I always advise caution when putting data on the Internet even though most programs automatically encrypt the information. All are great for Windows-based laptops and desktops.

If you are an Apple Mac kind of home/office, then you have a choice that you should be using right out of the box. iMac’s and all types of Mac laptops come with Time Machine software that will backup all your data, software, 3rd party software, and operating software such as Yosemite or Maverick (or even Snow Leopard). Again, you can use an external hard drive to do this, and it’s pretty simple to set up. With Mac products, this is essential; even if you upgrade or the hard drive fails, you can be back to exactly where you were with Time Machine. There is another great option that Apple offers called Time Capsule, a backup hard drive and Wireless Router all in one. It will backup your machines wirelessly without you doing anything and provide a great wireless signal throughout your home or office. With your iPhones, iPads, and even iPods, you can do wireless syncing through iTunes on a iMac or Mac laptop. It will be backed-up on your Time Capsule through Time Machine so that, in the event that all else fails, you can still grab a new phone and get back to business by setting it up through iCloud once you get home.

Always, always backup regardless of what kind of hard drive you have—but especially with an SSD.

As always, if you have questionsor need help, you can call or email Rent A Bob at 843.822.7794 or rentabob@live.com.

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