Information Technologies

FAQ’s on Portable Drives


FAQ’s on Portable Drives

Q. What should I look for in a portable storage device?

A. It all depends on the type of project you want to create. Please review the following questions before purchasing your external storage device.


Q. I am working with photos in Adobe Photoshop – what type of external storage device should I buy?

A. Photos range from 1MB (medium resolution) to 25MB (very high resolution) in size.  Depending on your project you will only need to purchase at minimum a 4GB USB thumb drive.


Q. I’m working on an audio project – what type of drive is right for me?

A. Audio projects are often small enough for 8GB USB Flash drives. If you are working with longer audio projects, such as interviews, you may need to purchase a larger capacity device.


Q. I am working with video – do I need a Firewire portable drive?

A. We highly recommend using a portable Firewire drive for video projects.  Especially when you are:

  1. Working with video files that are larger than 1GB.
  2. Working directly from an external drive with applications such as Final Cut Pro.
  3. Moving large media files (1GB or larger) between your drive and the computer.
Q. What should I look for when purchasing a Firewire drive?

A. Before purchasing a portable external drive for video or lengthy audio editing, you will need to find a drive that is both Firewire and USB (Macintosh) compatible. It will need a Firewire 400/800 port and a minimum of 160GB of space. 


Q. Should I read product reviews before purchasing a portable storage device?

A. Yes! With the wide variety of portable drives available, and the changing nature of the portable drive industry, it is always good to read reviews before purchasing any portable storage device. That way you will be aware of the pros and cons of each portable storage device.


Q. Will my portable drive fail?

A. All drives have the potential to fail, so purchasing a second back-up drive is highly recommended. This includes backing up all your important files regularly!


Q. What type of “Firewire Drives” are recommended?

A. Most Firewire drives work just fine. It is recommended that the Firewire drive have both a Firewire 400 or 800 port and a USB 2.0 port. Also, the drives should not be full-sized 3 1/4 desktop external hard drives that require an AC adaptor when connected; this will ensure easy portability and usage. Lastly, the drives need to be Mac compatible and Mac formatted.


Q. What type of “Flash Drives” is recommended?

A.  Most USB thumb drives work on (almost all) UWB computers; both PC & Mac’s. However, we do recommend you have one that is large enough for storing the projects you regularly work on as noted above. It is also good to have extra storage space on the device for life’s little moments.


Q. Can I work directly off a USB drive?

A. USB process’s data much slower than Firewire, so it is not recommended working directly off the device, especially when working with larger files such as video.  Working with video off a USB drive can corrupt your data! In some cases students have completely lost their work!  The safest bet is to work directly off the hard drive of the computer you are working on and then transfer the file back onto the drive.


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