These portable drives of mine were all big-brand drives. They've failed on three operating systems (Windows 95, XP and Vista) and always in the same fashion: Suddenly, the system can no longer recognize the drive. The errors don't seem to be caused by physical damage. It's happened on devices from small, pocket-size drives to massive multi-hundred-gigabyte drives.
You'd think I would have learned my lesson four drives ago. But I've always come back to portable hard drives because of a belief that vendors will continuously improve problems, and make the drives better and more reliable over time. This time, it won't fail!
Sure, the data on my drives is recoverable if I take it to an expensive forensic data recovery service. But I don't want to shell out that kind of money. Nor do I plan to waste another nickel on a new portable drive. From now on, I'll spend my mobile storage dough on monthly payments to my online backup service (Amazon S3 via JungleDisk).
My questions are: 1) do portable USB drives fail at far higher rates than internal drives?; 2) If so, why?; and 3) Are USB drive failures radically under-reported in the industry?
What's YOUR experience been with portable USB hard drives?