External hard drives are one of the most common media for storing and backing up important data files. Today’s external drives are relatively cheap and portable and can store large amounts of data. When you consider the potential cost of losing sensitive data due to a computer crash, it makes a great deal of sense to purchase a drive and store all of your critical files on it as a backup.
External hard drives are drives that can be acquired separately and connected to your computer. External drives can perform all the same functions and store the same data as your computer’s internal hard drive. launchbox
External hard drives are made by all the major computer manufacturers such as Maxtor, Western Digital, Sony, iOmega, Seagate and many others. Which model you choose is a personal choice and should depend on a number of factors, including:
Storage Capacity. External hard drives vary greatly in the amount of data hey can store. As a general rule, the greater the capacity, the higher the cost of the drive. External drives are rated in Gigabytes (GB) or Terabytes (TB). A terabyte is equal to 1,000 GB. Typical drives can store anywhere from 500 GB to 3 or more TB.
When you’re looking for a backup drive, a general rule of thumb is that you should multiply your back up needs by at least three.This ensures that your drive will be able to handle your data storage needs both now and in the future.
Cache size. The cache size determines how quickly you can copy files onto your drive. The cache is the high speed memory on the drive and serves as a buffer between the drive and the computer. When you’re transferring files onto a drive, the drive often cannot keep up with the amount of data coming in. At this point, the high speed cache memory will temporarily store the incoming data until the drive can accept the extra data.
The advantage of having a large cache size is one of speed. The larger the cache size, the faster you can download files onto your hard drive. Devices with larger cache sizes are substantially more expensive than those with lower cache sizes, so there is a trade off between speed and cost and you’ll have to determine which is most important for your personal circumstance.
Connectivity. Most external drives can be connected through either USB or Firewire. To install the drive, you simply have to plug it into your computer and follow the instructions on the screen.
There are many advantages to using external drives for storage, just a few of which are:
Portability: External hard drives are relatively small and can be carried in a briefcase or another similar carrying case.
Storage Capacity: External hard drives can store a large amount of data. For most personal or small business users, an external drive can handle more than enough data to be used as a primary backup device.
Convenience: External hard drives are relatively simple and easy to set up and use as a backup device.
Less vulnerable: External hard drives are not as vulnerable to computer viruses or malware since they can be turned off when you’ve finished backing up your files. In addition, since they’re not connected to your computer.
There are also some disadvantages to be aware of if you’re considering an external hard drive, including:
Possibility of failure. Unfortunately, external hard drives are every bit as prone to failure as the internal drives that they’re backing up, and you could still end up needing data recovery on your external drive. This possibility is even greater if you don’t take the precaution of disconnecting the external drive after the backup is complete and store it in a different location from your computer.
Security considerations. External hard drives are small enough that they can be easily stolen or lost. It’s important to make sure that the information on your external drive is password protected and encrypted.
How to Backup Your Files With an External Hard Drive
Most external drives come with backup software already installed. Most of these are fairly basic software programs and if you prefer, you can buy more specific backup software that comes with more advanced features.
You can also clone your internal hard drive to the external one. Some programs allow you to create a bootable clone of your internal drive as long as the external drive has the same specifications. This allows you to replace the internal drive with the external drive in the event of an internal drive failure. If this happens, your computer could be used as soon as you install the new driv