Top 3 Backup Hard Drives

Backing up your important files is a must do task. There is nothing worse than losing your important business documents or personal photos. I have heard many sad stories, including one family member who lost years of personal memories, when their laptop hard drive failed. Another professional music producer lost years of work when their main desktop computer got fried and the data was corrupted.

There is no one fail-safe way of backing up your files, so I always suggest having three backups in total. One local backup to keep on a shelf or in a cupboard, which can be handled by the hard drive recommendations in this article. In addition to this, I suggest having an off-site backup, whereby you could use one of the portable hard drives below and then ask a family member to store at their house in a safe place. And finally, a cloud backup … there are many good services available now, some costing as little as £5 per month for unlimited data. Hard drives will fail at some time, so at least with a few backups in place, you shouldn’t lose everything. All links in this article are affiliate links, they do not cost you a penny extra, but do earn Geekanoids a small commission on purchases.

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In top spot is the Seagate Backup Plus Slim portable hard drive, which is available in various capacities from 1TB to 5TB. This earns my top spot as it has proven itself to be reliable and is also very affordable, quite often with discounted pricing. This is a portable hard drive, which means you can easily store at home, or indeed backup and take to another off-site location for storage. It also includes some software on the drive. The included Seagate Dashboard software provides you with the tools to backup your data from local PCs, mobile devices, cloud storage providers and even your social media accounts. Backup of your files can be scheduled to run continuously, at specific times, or on-demand using the Dashboard software's one-click functionality. On top of all this, it's available in a variety of colours to suit your preference and is Mac and Windows ready.

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Next in line is a desktop hard drive, which has a faster 7200rpm hard drive inside. This would reside on your desk next to your computer and allow you to backup your files faster. The
WD Elements Desktop External Hard Drive is available in 2Tb to 10TB capacities and comes formatted as NTFS for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7. It will still work with Mac OS X once you reformat it.
You also get a free trial of WD SmartWare Pro Back-up Software. This back-up software allows you to back-up your files to your WD Elements drive or to the cloud using your Dropbox account.

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A really good option if your data is super important to you and/or your business is the QNAP TS-251 Network Attached Storage enclosure. This comes supplied with no hard drives, you have to add you own, but has some distinct advantages.
Firstly, the two previous hard drives I recommended are connected to one computer at a time, which is great in plenty of scenarios. A "NAS" connects to your network via an ethernet cable. It acts as a central storage location for all your files. This would allow you to backup your desktop and laptop with ease and access your files on either, or even from your smartphone or tablet. Many NAS products, including this one, also allow you to install applications on the device to make backing up and other tasks a lot easier.
Secondly, a NAS like this has room for two hard drives. You can get other models that accommodate even more. This allows you to have data redundancy, which means one hard drives data is mirrored (or copied) to the second hard drive. If one fails, then you have a mirror image of it, so your data is still safe. Of course, both hard drives could fail, but it is very rare for this to happen at the same time.

The main features of this particular model from QNAP are;
- Centralize your file storage, sharing and backup with excellent performance
- Run multiple Windows, Linux, UNIX and Android based virtual machines with the Virtualization Station
- Operate multiple isolated Linux systems as well as download containerized apps with Container Station
- Enjoy the best audio-visual experience with HDMI output and the free remote control
- Transcode Full HD videos on-the-fly or offline* Stream multimedia files via DLNA, AirPlay, Chromecast and
- Bluetooth with multi-zone multimedia control
- Scale up to 12 drives with QNAP UX-800P expansion enclosure


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You do need to buy hard drives separately to install in a NAS and my recommendation is the WD RED range, also listed below.

Synology DS214+ NAS Review

Today I want to talk to you about the Synology DiskStation 214+. This is a NAS device also referred to as network attached storage. The reason you might invest in something like this is so that you can store all of your data and files in one central location, which can then be accessed via multiple computers. For example you may have a desktop and laptop, or members of your family may each have a laptop and access the files stored on your NAS. 

This Synology range differ from others with regard to the specifications and features offered up by their excellent suite of software. Looking at the hardware first, the DS214+ has a Dual Core CPU and is capable of transferring your data at superb speeds (up to 208 MB/s Reading, 153 MB/s Writing). It also has dual LAN (ethernet) connections and USB 3.0 for adding external devices. Two hard drive bays accommodate 3.5 inch SATA hard drives and these can be set up in various configurations either for enhanced performance or data redundancy. Data redundancy means that if one hard drive fails you have a mirror image of all your files on the second hard drive and you don't lose precious information. Synology update their hardware on a regular basis, adding new features to keep up with the latest technologies.

They also update their DiskStation Manager software regularly and this adds a whole host of new features to your device. So apart from simple file sharing, you can also set up automated backups, share various media files and access your data via mobile devices. You can also connect a printer to one of the USB ports and share this printer over your network, this is a great feature for family and small business use. With all these features you may already be thinking that this offers great value, but there is more. You can add antivirus, a DHCP server, or even audio station which enables you to share music tracks over your network via a user friendly interface. One of the features I like, being a small business owner, is Surveillance Station. This allows you to connect compatible IP cameras and have them record video footage direct to your NAS. So your DiskStation does not stand still, as the company regularly add new cut new packages to the mix, which extends its value and certainly future proofs your device to a certain extent. 

I create and store a lot of video footage for the Geekanoids Channel and over the years I have used many storage devices, but none really come near to the overall package that is available by investing in a Synology product. The performance of the DS214+ has certainly exceeded my expectations, with the build quality being very robust and well finished. Noise levels are always kept to a minimum, but if you are working in a controlled environment (perhaps a recording studio), then you may want to locate your DS214+ in a different room. That said, I can certainly recommend this for storing a whole host of different files or indeed if you are looking at setting up something a bit more complicated like a server.

If you want to purchase a Synology DS214+ you can pick one up here; 
To purchase in the UK click here
To purchase in the USA click here.

Synology DiskStation DS212J NAS Giveaway

Synology DiskStation DS212J NAS Giveaway ... Network Attached Storage is very useful, it allows you to store all your files in one central location and then access them on your various computers & other devices. HERE IS YOUR CHANCE to win one of the superb DS212J's from Synology.

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Synology DiskStation DS413 Review

The Synology DiskStation DS413 is a NAS device, that is aimed at workgroups & offices, though it could just as easily be incorporated into a home office environment too. Just to clarify NAS stands for Network Attached Storage, which is essentially a central location (or device) where you store your files so that they can be accessed by multiple users. In an office environment this might be 5,10 or 50 desktop workstations. In a home setting this might be you on your laptop, your wife on her desktop and Johnny on his iPad… you get the idea.

The DS413 is aimed at a higher level due to its specifications. It sports a dual core 1.067GHz processor, 1GB of memory, gigabit ethernet and space inside for four SATA hard drives (or SSDs). The superb specification lends itself to some impressive data throughput, which ensures that each user is not left hanging when trying to access their files.

You can see me unbox the DS413 and give you a guided tour in the following video… then please read on for my experience in setting up the device and its ease of use.

The big selling point for me on the whole Synology range is the DiskStation Manager software. This is regularly updated with new features and is a joy to use. After logging in the control panel is well laid out, with a "System Health Panel (see left) giving you a quick summary of how everything is looking, uptime, who is logged in etc. This list is also scrollable so that you can look back over the recent activity. It also allows you to monitor CPU & RAM usage. In my tests I barely touched the surface with regard to pushing the CPU, but with multiple users accessing files this is where the dual core power comes in useful.

Digging further into the Control Panel (see below) shows a plethora of options which on first glance could be quite daunting. There are so many features for setting up things like FTP, WebDAV, firewall, power saving features. It could easily have been cluttered, but it is so well laid out that you can just pick the features you need to use very easily.

Clicking 'User' presents you with a list of current users, you can see below that I already have an admin, myself & account guest setup (although I have this disabled at the moment).

Clicking the 'Create' button (top left) brings up the window below, where you can input details of a new user. After inputting the username, description, password & email, you are then guided through adding your new user to a specific group, followed by "assigning priveleges" which is essentially setting what files you are granting them access to, plus whether they can read only, or write files to the NAS too. It is all presented so clearly, that I fail to see how anyone would have trouble setting up many of the features using DiskStation Manager.

It is this ease of use that Synology seamlessly delivers across their range. This is thanks to all their devices using the same front end user interface. The hardware speaks for itself and with the DS413 you get awesome build quality, coupled with excellent performance, a truly winning combination. Where others try, with sometimes clunky software and hardware that just about supports one or two users, the Synology DS413 has the power to support multiple users without falling over. It also offers up many high end features such as VPN, antivirus, PHP/MySQL to name just a few. There are a lot more features than those I have covered here, enough to write a book really. I will share more features in future product reviews.

Synology's website can be found here … please do check them out.