External hard drives make it easy to expand your computer's storage (2023)

An external drive is just aHDD(hard disk) orsolid state drive(SSD) connected to a computer not internally but externally. Some external drives draw power through their data cable, which of course comes from the computer itself, while others may need an AC wall outlet for power.

You can think of an external hard drive as a normal hard drive,internalA hard drive that has been removed, wrapped in its own protective sleeve, and attached to the outside of your computer.

External hard drives make it easy to expand your computer's storage (1)

About external hard drives

Internal hard drives can even have an A callhard drive enclosure.

External hard drives come in different storage capacities, but they are all made by connecting them to a computer.USB,fire wire,eSATA, owireless.

External hard drives are sometimes referred to asportableHard drive. TOflash driveit is a common and highly portable type of external hard drive.

External hard drive vs flash drive: what is the difference?

Why should I use an external drive?

External hard drives are portable, easy to use, and can provide a large amount of storage space when needed. You can keep the actual device anywhere you want and take numerous files with you wherever you go.

Another benefit is that you can move them from one computer to another, making them ideal for sharing large files.

Due to their large storage capacities (often inTerabyte), external hard drives are widely used to store backup files. It is common to use abackup programCopy items like a collection of music, videos, or pictures to an external drive to keep them separate from the originals in case they're accidentally changed or deleted.

While not used for backup, these drives offer an easy way to expand existing storage without having to.open your computer, which is especially difficult if you're using a laptop.

(Video) Top 5 BEST External Hard Drives of [2022]

If your computer is always giving you low disk space warnings or is slow working hard to keep things running on what little free space it has, it's probably time to get an external hard drive so you can do it.Copy some of your files to itand free up space on your main hard drive.

These drives can also be used to provide additional storage for an entire network (although internal hard drives are often more common in these scenarios). this type ofnetwork storage devicesMany users can access it at the same time and are often used as a way for users to share files over a network to avoid emailing or uploading the data online.

Indoor units versus outdoor units

Internal hard drives connect directly to theMotherboard, while external storage is initially run through the externalcomputer case, YSodirectly to the motherboard. This makes an external hard drive much easier to set up and use in minutes.

Operating systems and software installation files are usually installed on internal drives, while external hard drives are used for non-system files such as photos, videos, documents, and such files.

Internal hard drives draw power from thepower supplyinside a computer. External hard drives are powered through their data cable or through a dedicated AC power supply.

Data can be much more easily compromised when stored on an external hard drive, as it is typically sitting on a desk or table, making it easy to remove and steal. This differs from an internal hard drive, which requires taking over the entire computer or removing the hard drive inside before anyone can physically access your files.

External hard drives also generally move around more than internal ones, making them more prone to failure due to mechanical damage. SSD-based drives, such as flash drives, are less prone to this type of damage.

HDD vs. SSD storage

VerHow to make an external internal hard driveif you need to "convert" your internal hard drive to an external hard drive.

How to use an external hard drive

Using an external hard drive is as simple as plugging one end of the data cable into both the drive and the corresponding end on your computer, such as the USB port for USB-based external drives. If a power cord is required, it must be plugged into a wall outlet.

(Video) How to Expand Storage Capacity by Adding Hard Drives

Typically, on most computers, the contents of the external drive only take a few moments to appear on the screen. At this point, you can start using the files on the drive or move files to and from the drive.

When it comes to software, you can use an external hard drive in the same way as an internal one. The only difference is how you access the drive in your operating system.

Since most computer systems only have one hard drive that serves as the primary "main drive," it's not confusing to jump directly to the hard drive to store files, copy files from one folder to another, delete data, etc.

However, an external hard drive appears as a second hard drive and is therefore accessed in a slightly different way. For example, in Windows, external drives are listed in File Explorer and along with other devicesdisk management.

How to access an external hard drive in Windows 10

Common tasks for external hard drives

Follow these links if you need help with any of these tasks with your external storage device:

  • Try an external hard drive
  • Change the letter of an external hard drive
  • Format an external hard drive
  • Erase an external hard drive
  • Partition an external hard drive

Buy an external hard drive

Like internal hard drives, external hard drives come in all shapes and sizes, which is why they come at a lot of prices too. KnowWhat type of external hard drive to buyIt can get confusing quickly when all you see are rectangles with seemingly random GB and TB numbers.

You must first identify what you will be using the hard drive for. This refers to both the environment you use it in and the things you put on it.

Some external hard drives are designed for people who might drop the drive or spill something on it, and others are more intended to sit on a desk, indoors and out. If you need a versatile external hard drive, look for one that is advertised as rugged or waterproof.

Another thing to consider is how much storage space you need. If you save a lot of HD video, you need something with a lot more storage than an external drive that's only used to store documents for school.

Here's a general guide you can follow depending on what you're storing on the external hard drive to see how much space you may need:

  • Documents: less than 80GB
  • Music: 80–120 GB
  • Software: 120–320 GB
  • videos: 320GB to 1TB
  • 4K or HD videos: 1-2TB or more
The 9 Best External Hard Drives of 2023
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Of course, choosing the right external hard drive largely depends on what youOfwill use it for While one person might have a music collection that's under 100GB, yours might be 600GB right now, and there's no sign that you're stopping downloading new files. You may even want to use the same drive for your new home video collection or as a place to store your own.Virtual machines.

You should be clear about why you need the extra space and what you might put on the drive in the future. It's probably wise to buy a hard drive that's larger than what you currently need.

So how do you know what type of external hard drive to buy if you're not sure what you're going to put on it? start with aDisk space analysis toolScan your current hard drive to see how much space the files you want to move to the new hard drive are using, then double that number to be sure.

For example, if you determine that your massive 600GB music collection is what you're going to use your new drive for, assume it's 1200GB and buy a 1-1.5TB external hard drive. If you think you only need 200 GB of space for your movies, get a drive that can hold 500 GB.

However, if the drive is used for a collection of old video games that you haven't touched in years and you don't plan on expanding, you can probably get by with the same amount of storage that the collection currently occupies. Maybe a8TB external hard driveit would suffice for all these games.

While you may not have to have oneUSB 3.xHDD right away, especially if your current computer doesn't even support this USB standard, it would be a good idea to get one if you plan to upgrade your computer soon. Preparing ahead of time saves you having to upgrade to a newer external hard drive to take advantage of these speeds.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is an external hard drive enclosure?

    An external hard drive enclosure is a case that protects a hard drive. These cases are available in various sizes and come with mounting hardware and cables or adapters to connect to a computer. Hard drive enclosures allow you to continue using an old hard drive if you wishreplace a hard drive.

    (Video) How to Extend C Drive in Windows 10 without Software

  • What do I do if my external hard drive is not recognized?

    BeginTroubleshooting external hard drives in Windowschecking that your USB ports and cables are working. maybe you want that tooUpdate your USB driversoutsidedevice administrator>universal serial bus controller. If you are not experiencing any USB issues, make sure you have formatted your hard drive according to the manufacturer's instructions.

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