In the last 3 months I have had 2 usb drives go TsU on me. One I managed to get the data off whilst it was at about -10C!
The OP cannot email and net with a 1TB external drive! Old pcs not electrically "green"? Maybe not in the days of sodding great CRT monitors but I doubt that todays' processors and hard drives pull much less power than ten years ago (the CPU might be more efficient but it is also more powerful, a 1000hp gas turbine is much more efficient than a 90hp Ford Mondeo engine but uses a stack more juice!) look at the bloody cooling plants we need in modern pcs!
Anyway, all that "wasted" heat goes into the room and cuts thy gas bill!
I bet your computer junk room is a real hit with the wife on those cold winter nights.