Question Use an external hard drive as my personal computer?

May 5, 2020
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Hey guys, I have a 2018 MacBook Air, Retina, 256GB. Sucks, because of the butterfly keyboard, and the CPU is notoriously slow, too. Here's the question, what do you guys think of the following?

I want to sell my current Macbook and get a 1TB external hard drive instead, where I can keep all of my personal files. For Internet stuff (banking, etc.) I can use my work computer, or, worst case scenario, my 6-year-old Lenovo at home (half-broken).

In other words, I can use my work computer (all data tracking issues aside) and phone+wifi at home for Internet access, and whenever I want to view/modify any personal files (music, Excel spreadsheets, Words docs, etc.) I can just plug my hard drive into any computer that I happen to be using at the moment (work, my old Lenovo, my Aunt Milly's, etc.).

What do you think?
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
You are not really asking about using your drive as a computer but just to carry your files around to use on other computers. Sure you can if that is what you really want to do, as long as you are OK with getting viruses on that drive if you connect it to random computers that may have been compromised. Plus what happens if that drive fails or you lose it or drop it? I mean files you can access at any system, heck even a phone with an MHL USB port can read files off a portable drive, or a tablet. You can also keep you files on some cloud storage service and access it that way. But again, if it's just random computers you don't have control of, you are opening up yourself to have your files or the drive infected with a virus at a greater chance. It also will mean that whatever system you use will need the programs to open those files installed on it.
 

OhGod

Great
Feb 17, 2020
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I want to sell my current Macbook and get a 1TB external hard drive instead, where I can keep all of my personal files. For Internet stuff (banking, etc.) I can use my work computer, or, worst case scenario, my 6-year-old Lenovo at home (half-broken).
Ello.

Wanted to chime in because a while back I asked about formatting my external drive from EX-FAT to NTFS. Well, I went ahead and did so and in many ways I'm quite happy with the result. With more and more programs putting out portable versions, it's a great way to keep your main system as uncluttered as possible. The most defining thing for me, is that since I use a KVM Switch to switch between my systems, and the external drive is connected through the KVM switch, I have this "extra" drive on every system now. I use it mainly for the three browsers I use and for small editing programs.

Now, that said, as hang-the-9 brought up: what happens if that drive fails or you lose it or drop it? It is a very valid question and it's precisely why I am a little wary too and cannot suggest you do this and use it as your SOLE means of keeping or running your more important programs or files. First of all, I've had TERRIBLE luck in the past with external WD Passport drives (ALL have failed and I've lost files and pictures I will NEVER be able to get back). This time, I am running a Seagate and unlike the internal drives it DOES SOUND like it's working when being used for browsing, etc., so I don't fully trust it yet. If after a year or so it's still going strong, I'll consider the experiment successful. Until then I would not think of using it as anything but a backup for files and for running unimportant (or less important) programs, and could not suggest anyone else do so either.
 
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