Disc Drive Space: The Final Frontier

spaceI’ve been obsessed with disc drive space lately, and data drives of all shapes and sizes. It started with the PNY micro SD card that I bought during an Amazon lightning sale in December, which successfully tempted me to purchase my new Shield 1-K tablet. I’m being totally honest – while I had some temptation to pick up a new tablet, it wasn’t until the micro SD went on sale that I took the plunge. Go figure.

And then, Syn gifted me a new SSD drive for my PC, which I haven’t yet installed. But it did get me obsessively cleaning up my hard drive for the move. So I’ve been moving tons of files to my RAWR disc – which is my affectionate name for my external backup hard drive.

Well, the micro SD card I bought for my tablet kept mysteriously coming unseated and totally disappearing. Once it even said it was corrupted and I needed to reformat it. But every time, reseating it fixed the issue.

A bit nervous about this – I heard about the fraud cards passing around Amazon – I did a full out memory test on the SD card using the H2testw program someone on Amazon suggested. It tested fine, so I was curious, and decided to pick up a second, smaller SD card – a SanDisk this time. That way, I can test to see if it’s my tablet randomly unseating the SD card, or if maybe it just didn’t like the brand.

In the meantime, I decided to use the PNY card as a backup to the RAWR disc. So it has become the official Mini RAWR. I also purchased a holder for my SD cards because I’m starting to amass them.

That Wii U

nintendo_wii_u_blackOn the other hand, I realized that even though I have no other large game except Splatoon installed directly on my Wii U drive, that I had less than half the drive of open space. Heck, the Yoshi save file was eating up 3 GB and Mario Kart wasn’t much better at 2 GB. My Wii U drive space was disappearing fast.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of an external hard drive for it for a while. Since still I had gifted cash for the EShop that I wanted to use (still eyeing Minecraft…), I knew I’d need more space if I was going to download more games. But I held off because I was under the impression I needed to get a self-powered USB drive.

After a bit of research, I found that wasn’t true. If you pick up a portable USB drive, you just must use a Y cable and attach the drive to both of the Wii U’s USB slots in order to properly power it. So, I bought a 1TB WD My Passport and the needed Y cable, which both came in yesterday. I hooked them up, transferred a bulk of my data, and it’s working like a charm. Very happy to have 1TB space on my Wii U! 😀


That’s when I struck me… I have three flip-folders of old CDs and DVDs taking up space on a corner shelf in my bedroom. Many of them are backups from years ago. Some of them are music. Some are anime discs, back before Crunchyroll existed (heh). Why the heck do I have all of these on disc taking up space when I could transfer them over to SD or an external hard drive?

And to go even further than that, I have boxes and boxes of old VHS tapes taking up space in my other closet. So what can I do about that? Chances are, I’m never going to break out my old VCR for anything… can I transfer them to digital and save space? I’ve learned the answer is yes. And it’s not even that difficult or expensive!

Now I just need another WD My Passport to hold the rest of my converted stuff! XD


  1. I’ve owned two WD external drives, one of which was a My Passport I believe. They both failed, irretrievably, without warning after relatively little use. I don’t trust external drives any more. I only use them for transferring massive files or storing temporary backup copies short-term.

    As for transferring CDs and VHS tapes (and vinyl albums and musicassettes for that matter), over the years I’ve bought a number of devices to make that possible. Then I’ve gone through the process of transferring a couple of movies or albums and lost the will to live.

    It’s physically awkward, it takes a non-trivial amount of time for each transfer, and in my experience if you don’t babysit the entire process you’ll come back later expecting the job to be done only to find a pop-up window waiting for your input and the whole thing stalled at 15%.

    With over 800 movies on VHS and more than a thousand vinyl albums in the end I found it was easier just to keep the hardware to play them – although, of course, I never do. One day I guess I’ll just throw the lot away. If I ever want to see or hear any of it again, after all, I can just download or stream it, can’t I? And most likely for free.

    Now I just have to persuade myself.

    • Aywren

      I’ve used an external hard drive (the above mentioned RAWR drive) for many years without issue. Granted, it’s just a laptop hard drive put into an encasement to create an external HD. And I have transferred data and replaced the HD itself once last year to give it more space and to ensure the drive was newer (less chance of failure).

      This drive is soully used for backups, so it doesn’t get accessed too often. It’s not something I’d read/write to every day or anything.

      This is my first time trying a My Passport type HD, and most folks seem to give them good reviews. I’m sure there’s chances for failure, as there is in all drives, but seeing I’m entrusting my Wii U data to it (mostly save data), I hope not!

      I’m really looking to converting to digital for VHS because the tapes take up soooo much space. The cables I picked up just slap on my old VCR player and come with the capture software, so it doesn’t look too difficult. I’ll give it a review once I try it out.

    • All drives, internal or external, have a fairly similar chance of failure, as far as I understand. It’s actually fairly high–data centers replace drives quite regularly, because when you have a few thousand drives you’re virtually guaranteed to have one fail every week or two. There’s two main failure modes, one that tends to strike early (generally means there was a flaw in the drive) and one that’s associated with gradual wear.

      That being said, it sounds like you either had terrible luck or the company made a lot of terrible drives.

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