In the day and age of computer stored information it is important to keep your personal work and information in a secure location separate from your main computer. Much talk and hype has been made of the “cloud” but why pay a monthly fee to place your documents in an unknown location, accessible to the company you’re paying, when you can save them yourself on a separate drive. That is why the best and most secure place to back up your files is on an external hard drive.
External hard drives come in different sizes, types and are made by a variety of companies. They connect to your computer through the USB input and can be used to store or backup files. The first thing you want to look for when buying an external hard drive is size. Most on the market are at least one terabyte (1 TB), which is equal to one thousand gigabytes (1,000 GB), and they can go upwards of 3 TB. For most people looking to back up files such as word documents and photos, 1 TB is enough to do the job but for those working with video, audio and other large files, 2 TB or 3 TB may be more suitable.
Like any other device in order to work external hard drives need power. There are two different types of external hard drives, FireWire, which get power from the computer through the USB connection and regular which get their power from an ac adapter plugged into your outlet. Firewire is more expensive but more convenient. For example a Western Digital “My Passport” with 1 TB of size is marked at $97.84 add FireWire and the price rises to $133.99, a difference of $36.15.
As you can imagine some computer companies make their own external hard drives such as Apple and Toshiba but some companies specialize in information storage and also provide quality products. Western Digital, Seagate and Buffalo are the three main manufacturers of external hard drives on the market. You can purchase them at any online retailer or find them at a local computer store. Find the right size so you can get the most bang for your buck.