I know it is bad practice, but out of laziness I generally run
rm -rf ./* when I want to remove the contents of my current directory (ex. want to clear out my
build directory for a C++ project I am compiling). One time, I made a typo and instead ran
rm -rf /* (...facepalm). I was fortunately able to stop this before it totally wiped everything from my computer, but it did do enough damage that it took me a day or two to get my system back into working condition, and I also did loose some valuable data.
This prompted me to get an external hard drive and to save a snapshot of my system to the hard drive every day. Now here is my questions, if I accidentally did run
rm -rf /* (not as the sudo user), would this also delete the contents of my external hard drive (defeating the purpose of the daily snapshots)? Or would this only unmount my hard drive, preserving the data on it?