Everything on your laptop is stored on a hard drive, from precious pictures of your family’s new puppy all the way up to the operating system itself. External hard drives extend your storage space while offering you plenty of room to back up your computer. If you have documents, images, presentations, music, or videos you cannot afford to lose, consider the benefits of purchasing an external hard drive.
External hard drives can be held in your hand, making them easy to transport. USB models can be plugged into and will work immediately on any computer without the need to install drivers. This means you can access your computer’s data anywhere, such as a library or computer lab, without having to bring along your personal laptop.
The other type of hard drive is one with a Firewire connection. This type of drive will not work on every computer, but is much faster than a USB drive. Consider investing in a Firewire drive if you intend to transfer a large amount of media, especially videos. Either way, backing up data to both USB and Firewire connected hard drives is much simpler than dragging and storing files across multiple CDs and DVDs.
Terabytes (TB), gigabytes (GB), and megabytes (MB) are used to represent the size of stored files. Text-only documents are much smaller than photos, which in turn take up less space than music and videos. Most people own flash drives with comparatively small capacities, such as 64 or 256GB. As a comparison, some of the smallest external hard drives still have a 500GB capacity. It is becoming increasingly common to find reasonably priced hard drives that can hold 1TB (1,000GB) or more. Your personal needs will dictate the size you should buy. If you intend to only back up a few selected files, a smaller drive is fine. If you would rather back up or clone your entire computer, however, you should invest in a larger drive.
How It Works
There are many different ways to back up and store the files on your computer. The most basic move is a “drag and drop”, just like transferring smaller files to a flash drive. This enables you to store anything that you do not want taking up the limited space on your computer’s internal hard drive, such as games or pictures. You can also use it solely for important documents or other media.
If you do decide to back up all of the files on your computer, the most common method is to set up an automatic file transfer. This will back up your entire computer at set intervals: for example, three times a week in the middle of the night.Another possibility is to clone the drive. If your computer’s internal drive fails, having a cloned back up means your data and preferences can be restored almost immediately.
However you choose to utilize it, your external hard drive can be a lifesaver if you need to get your laptop repaired. By backing up your data, everything can be restored.