Choosing the Best External Hard Drive

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An external hard drive (EHD) is an essential part of an organized photo library. There are two types to consider: a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and a Solid State Drive (SSD). Here are a few features and pros/cons of each, plus links to drives I personally use and recommend.

Hard Disk Drive (HDD)

This is the most common external hard drive and the less expensive option, but it’s important to understand what comes with the cost difference.

  • Pros: less expensive 
  • Cons: moving mechanical parts (interior); higher rate of failure, especially if you’ll be moving the drive often or traveling with it
  • Bottom line: If you don’t need to move the drive or your computer often and cost is a primary consideration, then a hard disk drive is a great choice. 


Solid State Drive (SSD)

The technology of these smaller solid state drives continues to improve and the prices lately have made them even more affordable. They are considerably smaller than an iPhone!

  • Pros: no moving parts (solid); very small and lightweight, perfect if you need to travel or just prefer a smaller profile; speeds can be faster (especially the PRO version, linked)
  • Cons: more expensive
  • Bottom line: If you will travel or move the drive often, I highly recommend that you invest in a SSD. 


When should a drive be replaced?

As a general rule of thumb, I suggest replacing external hard drives every 3-5 years. It also depends a lot based on how you are using the drive. But if you ever hear a drive clicking or suddenly making noises, replace it ASAP

Use Your Drive! Create a Photo Hub for Organizing

Centralizing your photos is the start of any photo organizing project and an external hard drive is where I create a working “photo hub” for that process. The Centralizing Checklist will help you identify where all your digital photos are stored, plus any needed log-in and password information so we can easily access and centralize your photos.

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Hi, I'm Lisa

Photos have always brought me joy and are one of my favorite mediums for storytelling. But let’s be honest, the sheer volume of digital photos we all have can be overwhelming. It’s my goal through Scissortail Digital to help you enjoy, use, and organize your photos so you can go from jumbled to joyful!

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