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Portable External Hard Drives

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A portable hard drive is an excellent way to expand your hard drive capacity, transport files or back up the entire hard disk. Staples® carries several brands of portable hard drives with different storage capacities, speeds, connection types, and features such as data encryption and automatic wireless backup.

Find the Right Portable Hard Drive Speed
A hard disk is a spindle. The faster it spins, the quicker it can read, write, and retrieve data. The most common rotational speeds are 500 and 7200 revolutions per minute (RPMs.) Other factors that can improve speed are cache size and interface. The cache or buffer size is between 8MB and 20MB and stores the most recently accessed files for quicker retrieval. An USB 2.0 has a transfer rate of up to 480 megabits per second (Mbps), and the USB 3.0 offers rates up to 5 gigabits per second (Gbps), which is 10 times faster. Some models use an eSATA connection, which is faster than either USB 2.0 or 3.0, moving files at speeds up to 6 Gbps. These are excellent for large data transfers, but they need an external power source.

Portable Hard Drives Offer Freedom and Convenience
With their small size and large storage capacities, portable hard drives are indispensable accessories for travelers. Entire libraries of media can be stored and transported in a 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch frame, freeing up memory space on computers. The drives are slim and lightweight enough to fit easily into any laptop case, handbag, briefcase, or carry-on bag, and some can even fit into a pants pocket.

What Portable Hard Drive Capacities Are Available?
The available sizes for a portable hard disk range from 500GB to 4TB. A 500GB drive can hold 160,000 digital photos, 500 hours of digital video, 125 2-hour DVD quality movies, or 8,330 hours of digital music. It's recommended to choose a drive capacity that allows room for expansion.

Why Choose a Portable Hard Drive With Built-In Wi-Fi?
Drives that allow you to connect with Wi-Fi give wireless access between different devices. Use the Wi-Fi-enabled storage to play music through smartphones, tablets, and laptops without downloading the files to the devices. Choosing a wireless-enabled portable hard drive also lets users effortlessly connect to their home or work network without the inconvenience of cables and hard-wired connections. Some models can connect to multiple devices simultaneously, so multiple users can access data and store files to the drive at the same time, which is particularly useful for those working as part of a team.

How Secure Are Portable Hard Drives?
Hard disk storage uses 256-bit AES encryption and password protection to safeguard all files. Most models come with software to help find lost drives. When someone turns on a password-encrypted device, the text underneath the password box can display any information you want, such as a name, phone number, and address to contact if found.

What Is the Automatic Backup Feature?
This feature uses the built-in Wi-Fi to automatically connect to another device, such as a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet, to create a backup of selected files. This protective feature can be set to run daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.