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Does anyone use a laptop as external hard drive, for storage?


madteaparty
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I'm trying to think about this. Long story short I hate most recommended laptops and especially the trend of running them like tablets (I know, I'm a Luddite. I'd use a typewriter if I could).

I'm thinking of buying a simple inexpensive laptop, never connecting it to internet expect for one time to download Office Libre, and using it for my writing only. I'm also thinking of using it to store my photos and such (I guess I need to justify the purchase ;)). Anyone do this?

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I haven't done it especially, but I don't see why that's a bad idea.  My laptop is a fairly basic one, a Dell Latitude E6410 that I got inexpensively from ebay about 18 months ago.  I use it for a little web surfing, OneNote, OpenOffice, basic photo editing. . .  I like it well enough that I also got two more just like it for DD and DS1.  No touch screen/running like a tablet.  It's only got 4GB RAM and an i5 processor, so it's not quite as fast as say, my iPhone (which is only a 5s), but it's fast enough that when I want the bigger screen/keyboard/all the features of OneNote, it is plenty good enough for me.  I had to replace the hard drive in mine because it got dropped, but now I have a 500GB one.  I do use it to store a lot of photos, but I also have a 1TB HD from my old desktop machine, and I back photos up to that (I got it a USB case that lets it function as an external hard drive), plus I send them to Amazon Prime.

 

So yes, I think that's a very reasonable option.  I paid about $140 for mine, but then when I got DS1's, it was only $100, and it has Win 10, whereas mine only has Win 7.  I guess that's the biggest drawback, that older/simpler/less expensive ones won't have support at some point.

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I dislike laptops also...except for writing so that I'm not trapped in one place.

 

To me, a laptop doesn't feel like a reliable *solo* backup system because there seems more that can go wrong.

 

I think it's reasonable to have a laptop *just* for writing!

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I think buying a lightweight cheap laptop just for your writing is a great idea.

 

And...because I am paranoid and know that technology is most likely to fail when it has something important in it (like your writing)... spend the extra $50 and buy an external hard drive. Get in the habit of backing up your writing to that external drive at least once a week.

 

You will be glad you did.

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I don't think most cheap laptops are reliable enough to be used as EHD. Maybe put on some kind of internet blocking program and only allow Google drive to be accessible? (Schools do something like this.) Then your work is always backed up.

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Yes, of course.

 

I have an IBM T20 with a Pentium III processor and the RAM maxed out to a whopping 512 megabytes. It runs on older release of this:

 

cool vintage software

 

V1.4, which I enjoy using for writing, listening to music, viewing saved websites, and other offline purposes for more or less the same reasons your granny enjoyed listening to her 78s on her old hand crank victrola.

 

You would, of course, need something newer to run Samba or whatever filesharing software your OS of choice uses to connect with other devices, but that would be easy enough to do with inexpensive hardware that is not quite so vintage but is no longer internet capable.

 

You can't boot drives that are bigger than 2 TB with BIOS, in case you didn't know; you can share files that are located on a second, larger drive so that's never been a problem for me.

 

hth

Edited by Guest
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Possibly an inexpensive laptop, plus an inexpensive Removable Hard Disk Drive?   We have 2 Removable Hard Disk Drives, low end, made by Western Digital. Both almost 2 years old and trouble free.  Stepson uses the first one to store Music on.  I use the second one to store System Image Backups of the hard disk drives (and this SSD) on.  

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I haven't done it especially, but I don't see why that's a bad idea.  My laptop is a fairly basic one, a Dell Latitude E6410 that I got inexpensively from ebay about 18 months ago.  

 

A Dell Latitude E6410 is not a fairly basic laptop.  We have 2 of those in the house. DD has one and my wife has the other one. Those are Enterprise grade machines, that were sold or leased to Corporate or Government customers.  Check out what those sold for when they were brand new...  I think they came out in about 2010?  The Dell Precision M4500 Mobile Workstation I am using is basically a Dell Latitude E6410 on Steroids.  It has a Larger Screen, etc., than an E6410.

 

ETA:  Our Latitude E6410 laptops and this Precision M4500 Mobile Workstation have 8 GB of RAM in them and i7 processors.  This M4500 has an SSD, because it was sold without a hard disk drive and I thought I had an HDD in good working condition, but after I installed Windows 7 on it and made the first System Image backup, I was notified that the HDD was bad. That was true and then I bought this SSD.  

 

Suggestion: If you only have 4 GB of RAM in the E6410 laptops, consider buying 8 GB. The RAM is very inexpensive. I bought from a company in CA, on eBay, several times. Works perfectly.

Edited by Lanny
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A Dell Latitude E6410 is not a fairly basic laptop.  We have 2 of those in the house. DD has one and my wife has the other one. Those are Enterprise grade machines, that were sold or leased to Corporate or Government customers.  Check out what those sold for when they were brand new...  I think they came out in about 2010?  The Dell Precision M4500 Mobile Workstation I am using is basically a Dell Latitude E6410 on Steroids.  It has a Larger Screen, etc., than an E6410.

 

ETA:  Our Latitude E6410 laptops and this Precision M4500 Mobile Workstation have 8 GB of RAM in them and i7 processors.  This M4500 has an SSD, because it was sold without a hard disk drive and I thought I had an HDD in good working condition, but after I installed Windows 7 on it and made the first System Image backup, I was notified that the HDD was bad. That was true and then I bought this SSD.  

 

Suggestion: If you only have 4 GB of RAM in the E6410 laptops, consider buying 8 GB. The RAM is very inexpensive. I bought from a company in CA, on eBay, several times. Works perfectly.

Yeah, I need to get around to buying the RAM.  It hasn't really been enough of a bother to make me want to get around to doing it yet though.  Especially since I had to replace the hard drive once because it got dropped, then the keyboard because three-year-old, then the screen because DH managed to drop it (which thankfully did not damage the hard drive).  Sigh.  LOL!

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Yeah, I need to get around to buying the RAM.  It hasn't really been enough of a bother to make me want to get around to doing it yet though.  Especially since I had to replace the hard drive once because it got dropped, then the keyboard because three-year-old, then the screen because DH managed to drop it (which thankfully did not damage the hard drive).  Sigh.  LOL!

 

 

I logged into my eBay account and got the below information from my Purchase History:

 

RAM for 2 models of our Dell Laptops:   I purchased Generic RAM from this eBay Seller for a Dell Latitude E6410 lapop and for  this Dell Precision M4500 Mobile Workstation, and 4 GB of Crucial RAM for a Dell Desktop machine, from this eBay Seller:  allizwell2k10       Works perfectly

 

PLEASE NOTICE that I bought 1066 MHz PC3-8500 for the laptop and mobile workstation.  Possibly faster RAM would have worked perfectly, in the machines I installed this RAM into, but we are in South America and I didn't want to gamble that it would work. I knew that what I bought would work.

 

The top order, August 8th, was for this Dell Precision M4500 Mobile Workstation. The second order is for one of our Dell Latitude E6410 laptops. I believe they use the identical RAM although their Motherboards are different.

 

ORDER DATE
Aug 08, 2016
ORDER TOTAL
US $32.50
Order New 8GB Kit 2x 4GB DDR3 1066 MHz PC3-8500 Sodimm Laptop Memory RAM 204 pinView similar items
1 item sold by allizwell2k10
New 8GB Kit 2x 4GB DDR3 1066 MHz PC3-8500 Sodimm Laptop Memory RAM 204 pin
( 331118609920 )
 
ORDER DATE
Feb 08, 2016
ORDER TOTAL
US $34.35
Order New 8GB Kit 2x 4GB DDR3 1066 MHz PC3-8500 Sodimm Laptop Memory RAM 204 pinView similar items
1 item sold by allizwell2k10
New 8GB Kit 2x 4GB DDR3 1066 MHz PC3-8500 Sodimm Laptop Memory RAM 204 pin
( 331118609920 )
 
 
KEYBOARDS in Dell Latitude E6410 laptops:  There are apparently a number of different models.  Some Backlit, some not Backlit, etc.  The keyboard in the machine my wife was using developed 1 or 2 dead keys, over time.  I bought her a Brand New Dell OEM keyboard from an eBay Seller in PA.   After she installed it, the Brand New Dell OEM keyboard (it was the same keyboard model that she was replacing) was much worse, than the keyboard she was replacing. They refunded my $ which was very nice since we are in South America and I couldn't return it to them.
 
Then, I bought a used keyboard, from an eBay Seller in the Dallas TX area that said they test everything thoroughly. That keyboard is working perfectly...
Used Keyboard, tested, from wedoeparts2 (24632 in Garland, TX.  
 
During that time frame, my wife  discovered, by Googling, that many people were having problems with Keyboards in that model.  I am not sure if that is limited to one keyboard model or to more than one keyboard model.
 
I've purchased 2 Used DVD burners for these Dell Laptops from discountedlaptopparts in FL on eBay. They test everything thoroughly.
 
Sometimes, buying something used, that  has been tested thoroughly, is not as risky as buying something Brand New that might be defective. 
 
I supposedly damaged the screen on my  backup laptop, a Dell Latitude E6400.  Not sure how I did that.  We had purchased it from Blair Technology Group (one of 3 Refurbished Dell Latitude E6400 Laptops we bought from them in 3 separate transactions) and it was out of the 12 month warranty,. but when I sent photos, the Support person told me he thought it had been damaged. I retired that machine and will use it for spare components.  You can buy a new Screen (not OEM) from a very reputable eBay Seller for $60, but that machine uses old technology and the RAM is incredibly expensive, so I did not want to put $60 into it.
Edited by Lanny
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Another reason not to use a laptop as the *only* backup is theft.

 

Yes.  Normally backups should be in at least 2 locations: One in the Cloud (I use a free DropBox account for that) and the other locally. I keep the Removable Hard Disk Drive with my System Image Backups in a Locked Closet.

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