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External Hard Drives
Maintaining a duplicate copy of important files is imperative should your computer ever suffer from major issues. An external hard drive is a convenient and safe device that backs up data to a separate location. They are typically high-capacity, self-contained devices that make restoring your computer quick and easy.
Reasons to Use an External Hard Drive An external hard drive expands the storage of a computer by giving users extra room to keep pictures and documents in a separate location. You can also clean up your computer by removing existing programs and files you no longer need but want to keep. Some hard drives store files for mobile devices or other smaller media. An external hard drive is also used to share large quantities of files including pictures and videos with family and friends.
It's best to keep copies of files and backups stored in a separate location. When downloading and loading files, viruses and malware can attack the hard drive and compromise the information. A hard drive used for backup should only be plugged into a computer during the backup or restore process. It should never be left on or connected to the computer to avoid exposure to existing viruses.
Understanding Your Options When Choosing an External Storage Device The main difference between types of hard drives is the amount of storage space. External drives usually have a storage capacity ranging from 2GB to 12TB. Most standard desktops and laptops are equipped with up to a full TB of storage, so a backup drive should be large enough to maintain the information contained on the standard drive. Before purchasing an external hard drive, make sure it is compatible with the type of computer you have. Some drives work with either a MAC or a PC, although select models can operate with both MACs and PCs with the proper formatting.
Choose a model with fast transfer speeds if you need to read or write large amounts of data rapidly. To ensure the drive you choose is future-proofed and achieves the fasts speeds, opt for one with a USB 3.0 connection.
Can Two Computers Share the Same External Drive? A single hard drive can store information from multiple computers. The exact number of devices depends on the hard drive and connection method. Some standard wired drives can accommodate one to four computers simultaneously while wireless models can often connect to ten computers or mobile devices simultaneously. If you want to use an external drive as a backup for multiple computers, you need to create partitions on the drive for each device. What Is the Difference Between a Solid State Drive (SSD) and a Hard Disk Drive (HDD)? A solid state drive is similar to a flash drive in that it contains no moving parts and files are stored in microchips. A hard disk drive has a moving arm with read and write heads that locate and distribute information stored on platters. The platters can rotate at speeds of up to 10,000 RPMs.
Is It Possible to Lock an External Hard Drive With a Password? Some of the best external hard drives come with built-in personal drive locker software that prevents unauthorized access. For drives without the benefit of USB protection, a third-party software can be installed as a solution.