5 Terabytes of Local Storage at Home

Recently, the 1 TB external disk attached to my iMac exceeded 90% of its capacity. I’ve had this external drive for almost 5 years and it has taken me that long to fill it up. The drive contains all of our media files (iTunes music, movies, TV shows), locally stored photos (iPhoto), and software installation binaries. The original external drive was a 1 TB WD My Book. It has been very reliable for the entire time I’ve had it, so earlier this week, I ordered another one and it arrived today.

The new external disk has a 3 TB capacity. I moved all of the media files (music, movies, TV shows) to the new drive, and left the photos and installation binaries on the old one. This should give us plenty of local disk capacity into the foreseeable future. Indeed, if you count the 1 TB drive that came with my iMac, we now have a 5 terabytes of local storage capacity. I can still remember 20 years ago when 40 megabytes seemed like an enormous hard disk for your PC.

I’ve configured to the new external disk to be backed up by CrashPlan (not everything, just those things that are not synced to the cloud via iTunes Match) and I imagine it will take a day or two for those backups to run. In the meantime, it feels good to have the new space.


  1. It’s really remarkable what’s possible in home computing these days, isn’t it?Not only the fact that you can have 5Tb of storage in your house, but the fact that you didn’t have to spend as much as your house to buy it.

    As for being able to back all that stuff up in a day or two, you must have a pretty fast connection. We’re stuck on DSL so, while the download speeds are reasonable, the upload speeds are terrible. Whenever I have to seed a new backup, I take the computer to work and let it run there.

    1. Michael, I do have a very fast Internet connection. I think it’s 100 Mbs on the download and 10 or 20 on upload. The initial 250 GB backup to CrashPlan took only 2-3 days, if I recall correctly. After that, it is all incremental.

  2. It’s true that it’s one problem is not having enough space on your hard drive: the next problem is backing it up!

    I keep all my data on my C drive and that’s backed up to a disk image file using Acronis every night.

    My C drive is a 250 Mb solid state drive and I have an identical D drive mirroring that using RAID. So in case of a hard drive crash, I can just swap them.

    The Acronis backup folder is trickled to a cloud backup using a similar system to yours.

    But my external hard drive with my media on it doesn’t actually change that much, so I sync it incrementally to another external hard drive once a month. To do this I use a great, simple utility, developed in the 80s by Microsoft for internal use by programmers. Its multithreading makes it very fast and it has loads of useful options.

    Then I store this hard drive in a fireproof safe which I have on the premises.

    In addition, 95% of my data is also synced to Dropbox.


    Yes, as long as everything is done. But I’m sure we’ve all had the experience where we notice one of our backups hasn’t been running for a couple of months and we didn’t realise.

    So it’s good to have what you might call “a belt and two sets of braces”. (I hope that metaphor works outside the UK LOL)


    1. Malc, I think your strategy makes sense. Since my external disks are primarily media files, they do get backed up to the cloud (via my CrashPlan backups) but I only backup those media files that aren’t already available via the cloud (things not in iTunes Match or purchased from iTunes). And, of course, photos and home videos. It amounts to about 250 GB of data that was backed up to CrashPlan initially. The incremental backups are, of course, much smaller.

      I’ve found that between the local external drive and CrashPlan cloud backups, I don’t really need anything more. CrashPlan can also back up one machine to another so there is added redundancy. As a former pilot, I don’t think you can be too careful, but at the same time, I balance that against how involved I have to be in the process. The more automated, the better.

      1. Agreed, Jamie – automated is good. Also, checking automated is working is good too lol!

        I developed my system after the second “drive by download” in 2 weeks hammered my system. The first one Windows restore sorted out: the second one it didn’t 🙁

        So now I run Malwarebytes, scanning nightly, as well as a normal antivirus.

        Enjoy you new hard drive space!



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