5 Ways External Hard Drives Waste Time

JJ Powell • Jul 01, 2019



I don't know about you, but whenever I'm working with an external hard drive, it's great as long as I'm staying within the amount of capacity that that one drive happens to have. So if you're working with something like a 10 TB hard drive and you're working on not a small project, but you know, not a feature film, then you're probably fine. But if you're working in 4K or 5K or 6K or 8K, working with external hard drives, especially when you're working with a team, can be a big waste of time.


Finding Your Physical Media

The first problem we can run into with external hard drives is if you have a whole lot of hard drives and you've got a lot of projects spread across those hard drives, it can be difficult to find the file that you're looking for on the drive that happens to have that file.

Copying Your Media

The second waste of time is copying your media. Now, we do recommend that you have three copies of your media in two places and only work from one. You can find out more about that in our storage and backup video. However, when you're working with a team of people and you're consistently getting new assets, copying those assets across all of the various working drives can be a real time suck.

Cabling Drives

The third waste of time is cabling drives. Now, hear me out, it seems like that may not be that big of a deal, right, each drive has it's own cable, until you have those 25 drives and some are USB 3.0, some are Thunderbolt 2, some are USB 1.0, some are USB 2.0, some are eSATAp, some are Firewire 800, some are... The list goes on and on and on. If you're like me, you've found yourself in the situation where you can find all the cables except the one that you need and you have to go looking throughout your entire office or through some random drawer full of cables to find the cable that you need. That can be a major pain in the butt, especially if you're passing things back and forth on a regular basis, because you know that when you're sharing that drive with somebody else, that cable's gonna get lost eventually.


The fourth major waste of time is relinking. So, I've got my copy of the media, and you've got your copy of the media, but then I download three different shots off of the internet that you don't have and I tell you where those shots are, or maybe I even give those shots to you. But I put them in a specific folder on my hard drive and you don't have that folder. And if our drives are named something different, right, maybe I'm on Seagate 01 and you're on Promise, those root names will change the file path to that specific file. So, if I'm passing you a project that is expecting the name of my drive and the folder structure of my drive, then there's a good chance that you're going to have broken links and you're going to need to relink. Now, if you're doing this once, not a big deal, but if you're working with somebody back and forth on a regular basis, this relinking process can really eat up a lot of time.

Cataloging Media

The fifth big waste of time is cataloging media. Earlier we discussed that it can be an issue if you don't know where your files are. Now, a potential solution is to catalog your media either in an Excel document or maybe use something like NeoFinder to catalog all of your media, but going through and indexing and cataloging each of those drives is going to take a decent amount of time. The more files you have, the more time it will take.

Shared Storage

As you can tell, working on external hard drives, especially when working with a team, can be a big waste of time. If you would like to see how much time and money you can save by moving to shared storage, we've actually built a tool on our website that you can use right now. Feel free to click the link below to build out a Jellyfish server to see how you can save your team some time.

Build Your Own Jellyfish

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