Most computers only have installed computer hard drives in their CPU units. When the hard drive breaks down or you need to add more storage space, the only solution is to open the CPU case to replace or add a new drive. If you lack technical knowledge, you would need the help of a computer technician to fix the hard drive. With the advancement of technology, a user friendly, easy to use USB Hard Drive is now an option.
The standard EIDE based USB hard disc drive:
- Is a hard disk in an exterior enclosure.
- Can be easily plugged into a computer through a USB port or a Firewire port.
- Has the capability to store up to 2TB and is available in 2TB, 1TB, 750GB, 500GB, 320GB, and 250GB sizes.
With the release of the USB 2.0 connections you no longer need to buy additional Firewire connections that used to be the faster method to transfer data from one peripheral to another. To save more on costs you can even make your own USB external hard drive by purchasing an enclosure for an external hard drive and installing a new hard disc drive inside the enclosure by yourself.
To install and connect a new USB hard drive:
- Check that the hard drive is drive-ready to plug in and start. Western Digital and Lacie USB models have this feature.
- If the USB drive is not plug in ready, it should prompt you to first partition the drive. Partitioning is recommended especially for large drives. Partitioning divides the hard drive into smaller parts and assigns drive letters like E, F, G, and so on as reference labels. This makes it easier for you to sort, organize and find a file.
- After the partitioning and completion of the set-up, check that the USB hard drive is seen as an added drive or drives on your computer list.
- You can now save organize, access data and open files.
A USB hard drive can also be used as a:
- Backup Device. USB hard drives have utilities that allow users to backup any computer's internal hard drive to an external USB hard drive. You can use a partition on the added USB hard drive to backup important files or content of the My Documents folders for later use in case your computer’s internal hard drive crashes. If you are using a USB external hard disk for backups with Linux, you can click on the hyperlink that has a detailed article that describes how to set up your USB external hard drive for a desktop PC with Linux.
- Data Transport Device. USB hard drives can be easily detached and plugged into a computer to transfer large data like photo and video files. There are even smaller hard drives portable enough to fit a digital video camera and later be plugged to a computer and be used to edit video without downloading.
- Network Storage Device. The storage space on your USB hard drive can be shared if your USB is plugged to a computer system that is connected to a network. The attached drive can be shared with other computers like a file server.
A USB 2.0 hard drive connection provides fast and safe data transfer. Start plugging in your USB hard drive to save or backup files, photos, music, and video, without the need to load a CD or software.