Best way to protect the contents of an external hard drive?
May 29, 2016 6:22 PM   Subscribe

I have one hard drive with some important documents on it and I'm looking to protect these contents in the event of theft. What's the best (not too difficult) way to do this? I'm on Apple OS.
posted by malhouse to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Make a backup and store it at a friend's place.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:25 PM on May 29, 2016

The most hassle-free way to do this on OS X is to turn on FileVault for your external drive. You will have to enter a password every time you plug in the drive, but after that, you should be able to use it like normal. In the event of theft, the information will be unreadable by anybody that doesn't have the password.
posted by strangecargo at 6:27 PM on May 29, 2016

If you're looking to protect them from prying eyes, Filevault, as strangecargo said.

If you're looking to protect it from loss (ie: so you can still access the information if the hard drive is physically stolen) get another external hard drive, copy the data to it (easiest way: set up Time Machine to automatically sync to this new hard drive every time its plugged in) and keep it in a safe deposit box at the bank. If the contents of the hard drive changes regularly, then get an additional hard drive (they're pretty cheap anymore) that you keep a local Time Machine copy on, and periodically switch it with the drive at the bank. This will make sure you, at most, lose a [period]s worth of work.
posted by Ookseer at 6:40 PM on May 29, 2016

Do you mean that you're nervous about a thief looking at the contents of the drive or do you mean you want to make sure that if the hard drive is stolen you still have the contents of the drive available?

In the first case, follow strangecargo's advice; do note if you forget the password you will not be able to recover the data.

In the second case, Chocolate Pickle's advice is good, but you might also look at an online backup like BackBlaze which will back up your data continuously. The online backup is nice because you don't have to keep making new backups and moving them to your friends house.
posted by gregr at 6:40 PM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks, FileVault is exactly what I was looking for. I can't believe I didn't know about it. Thank you!
posted by malhouse at 6:46 PM on May 29, 2016

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