What should I do with a second hand external hard drive that I want to use for backups and storage?

Dave Otee April 12, 2013

I just got a 500GB WD external HDD. I am looking to hear what others think or know or simply believe should be the first thing to be done with it.

Its primary purpose is for backups. Then storage. Notice I did not say “NEW”. It is new to me, but a hand-me-down from a friend.

  1. Sazid Anik
    April 15, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    you can hook it up with a Raspberry pi and build a Low-Power Network Storage Device...check out the link below:


    • Dave Otee
      April 17, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      That my friend is a fantastic idea, I like it...but I think I am going to save that responsibility for a larger one...Definite an answer I am going to use though so thank you for the LINK and the time. Thanks.

  2. Usman Mubashir
    April 14, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I'll format it/ delete data, then use it as an external HDD,

    • Dave Otee
      April 17, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      yup, exactly Usman. That IS the plan bud...thanks for your answer man, and the time to throw it out here.

  3. Luis Cruz
    April 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Check and see if it has any good porn left on it!

    • Dave Otee
      April 17, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      Luis..I hear ya man....dont think it didnt cross my mind. Buuuuut....no tellin what else is in THAT web. A risk I'm not willing to take today...and thanks for the time to throw it out there bud, ya got me to laugh on an otherwise soggy day.

  4. Jim Chambers
    April 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I would like others suggested erase the drive using drive wipe utility in Piriform's Ccleaner and then format it. Then check drive using WD Data Lifeguard for Windows software available from http://www.wdc.com/

    • Dave Otee
      April 17, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      Jim thanks for the answer man, I like CCleaner and am familiar with it. I appreciate the time spent on the answer, and a link to go with it. Thats good stuff. "Here is my answer, AND the tool to do it with..." Thanks.

  5. Oron Joffe
    April 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    I would format it, but wouldn't bother to completely wipe it (as with DBAN etc). Ideally, check it with a SMART utility and note down its age and hours of use. I would generally not rely on a disc that's over 5 years old for anything important (I suppose if it's a second backup disc then reliability is not all that important).

    • Dave Otee
      April 17, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      Thank you for the awesome answer...what you put down I didnt even know that could be done. I understand there are a lot of things that can be done with computers and parts of them, but what you put down just never even crossed my mind. Thank you.

  6. Akarsh Seggemu
    April 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    My suggestion would be for you to get the driver software for the hard drive and safely format it and use it better for your needs

    • Dave Otee
      April 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      Yup yup...these are all great answers and so is yours because it rides right along side what others have said, minus the one about porn down below, but even that serves a purpose because i did laugh. Thank you Akarsh for taking the time to respond

  7. John Kirk
    April 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    I just got a new 1TB HD and currently have a 500GB HD. What I did is used Windows 7 Backup - Create System Image and exported the image file to an external HD. I will then shut down the PC and hook up the 1TB boot up to a Windows system disc and restore Windows from the external HD and install it to the new HD. Once that is done I will then wipe my old 500GB and used it for backups and downloads.

    • Dave Otee
      April 17, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Hey John I appreciate you taking the time to present your answer, and i have to come back with a question: when you restore Windows, I just re-read your answer a few times and I THINK I get what you are saying, but for clarification...what i get out of this is that at the end of that process one would be running Windows from the 1TB HD now? If so, do you clear out your internal HDD or what happens here? I like your answer, I just wanna be clear about it.

  8. ha14
    April 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    do some tests, check specifications and see how close it is when was purchased new.

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  9. Alan Wade
    April 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    As Bruce says nuke it then format it and then partition it according to your requirements.

    • Dave Otee
      April 17, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      yeahhhh....I like the sounds of the whole nukin' it and partitioning it. Thanks Alan for the time you spent to answer.

  10. Bruce Epper
    April 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Any second-hand storage device gets the same treatment from me 100% of the time: DBAN. I completely nuke anything that may be on the drive as the absolute first operation, then I will configure it for however I will be using it (reformatting, setting up folders & necessary permissions) and putting it into service.

    • Chris Marcoe
      April 14, 2013 at 5:25 am

      Agree with this. Make sure its clean before you start connecting it to anything. And good luck.

    • Dave Otee
      April 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      Man, excellent and great advice. Thanks for taking the time out for this.

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