USB hard drives are bad and the people who make them should feel bad

Never againHerewith, a brief rant to let you know that I am officially done with external USB hard drives.

Done, done, done. They are dead to me. Done.

I’ve bought many of these things over the years they’ve been in existence, and I have never once found one that worked properly. It seems like it should be a simple thing: you plug it in, it mounts as a hard drive, and you’re done. But in practice, at least with the ones I’ve had experience with, it never works out that way. You plug it in and it doesn’t mount, or it does mount but then later onĀ  un-mounts, or it mounts but in a way the operating system doesn’t like and you get spammed with dialogs warning you to fix something that in reality doesn’t actually need to be fixed. Very frustrating.

Not to mention that the damn things commit suicide at a rate that would make you think they were workers at Foxconn. I’ve never had one that lasted longer than two years. Sometimes the hard drive itself fails, other times it’s the interface circuitry that sits between the drive and the USB port, but either way you’re hosed. And since most consumer drives of this type aren’t designed to let you get at the hard drive inside, you have to crack open the plastic case just to find out if the drive itself is recoverable or not. Unacceptable.

If I were a betting man, I’d bet there’s something about the form factor these units are built in that makes them so short-lived; maybe there’s not enough room (or tolerance for noise on the part of the customer) to allow them to put in enough fans to cool the thing properly, for example. I dunno. All I know is that I keep buying these things, swearing at them for a couple of years, and then watching them die and having to start the whole buying-swearing-dying cycle over again.

But no more. I’m done throwing money down the rabbit hole on these pieces of junk. If I need external storage I’ll go buy a NAS setup from Synology or the like instead; it’s more expensive, but at least it lets you put in redundant drives so if one fails you don’t lose all the data, and you can open the front panel and get at the drives like a civilized human being instead of having to attack the casing with a crowbar.

So, to summarize: external USB hard drives are bad, and the people who make them should feel bad.

Thank you for your time. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.