Good external HD I can use for backup?

Is there a difference between “portable” and just “Standard” USB external backup hard drive?

I’m looking for a hard drive I can back up all my music and movies onto, all my demos and patches for games too… But sometimes I might need to take it to my moms to transfer a big file for her (she has ancient dial-up).

Any ideas what I should be looking at? Or if any of you have personal experience with one that would be great. I’d like it to be true plug 'n play. I plug it in and move data… and unplug it… go to my Mom’s and plug it in and off-load data etc.

Thanks for the help! BTW I don’t want to spend more than $150… Something under $140 would be best.

<edited for my usual typos>

Unless you intend to whack the HD around while it’s running the model shouldn’t matter. AFAIK these are usually regular brand HDs (Western Digital or whatnot) in custom cases with a power supply and USB connection logic, and pretty much anyone can get that right. Just get the cheapest model.

An external USB 2.0 hard disk is automatically recognized by Windows XP as soon as you plug it in and power it up – no installation required, no drivers required, just use Windows Explorer to copy files. You might need to partition and format the HD first, though.

There’s sometimes a backup software CD that comes with the disk, or perhaps some pre-installed backup software. Whether you use that or not is a matter of personal taste – personally I prefer to use Explorer (or rather, Windows Commander) and regular file copies, or else a real backup program like Acronis True Image. Windows Backup works fine, too.

The portable ones are usualy either 2.5" drives or 3.5" in smaller/slim cases.
The standard I guess they are the ones with 3.5" drives and regular to large size cases.
I have 2 such, one from IOMEGA and one from LACIE. Both are fine and have served me well of the last few years, I rec either one of them, though if I was to buy another one it would be a LACIE for it is quieter, and better looking. (the porche designe or something like that).

I think the portable ones can usually draw the power they need over USB while an external may require a seperate power connection, wall wort. As such a portable could be more convenient.

Deployed 45 Western Digital 120 gig drives about this time last year. I’ve had 14 dead thus far. Avoid.

Since then, I’ve been using simpletech 160 gig drives, and not a single fatality yet.

Thank you so much! Just the information I needed.

You know I count myself very fortunate to get so much good help help from so many of you here. :)