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External Hard Disk Drives

Updated on June 16, 2010

Whether you are using a laptop or desktop computer, you need something to backup your data. Flash drives are good, but their capacity is very limited. Using Solid State Drives is a great idea, but it is relatively expensive. The most cost effective way of backing up your files is through the use of external hard disk drives. An external hard drive can cost anything from $40 up to $300, depending on what on the brand and features. We will be tackling some things you should look at before buying an external hard drive.

Capacity is the most important element that you should consider. If you buy a low capacity drive, you might end up running out space to save additional data. It is highly recommended that you buy an external drive that has some extra space for additional data. Instead of getting a hard drive that has enough capacity, spend a couple of dollars for bigger ones. Always check the price difference with the model you like and the one with a higher capacity. The difference is usually around $10, so opting for the bigger one should be a no-brainer.


Speed is also essential element. The fast external drives nowadays use either USB 3.0 or E-SATA. If your laptop or PC is a few years old, getting the latest external drives won't do you any good, unless you plan on upgrading anytime soon. When it comes to speed, the only thing you need to double check is its USB version. A good external drive should be USB 2.0 compliant.

Reliability is something that you should not forget. Never opt for a manufacturer that does not have any track record. If the brand you buying is new to the external hard disk drives industry, check the internet if there are any reviews about their products. If you cannot find one, go for another manufacturer.

 For any electronic device, support is an essential element. Buying an imported product that does not have any service center in your area can lead to a lot of problems, especially if you have sensitive data inside the external hard disk drive. The best ones usually have a toll free number and a variety of utility applications you can use for maintenance and data recovery.

Security is a major issue when it comes to portable storage. If you're saving sensitive information inside the drive, make sure it has some kind of encryption. Adding a software based encryption is not as effective the ones that are pre-installed in its firmware. Firmware based encryption is effective because the password is stored in the hard drive itself.

A hacker would not be able format or even read the files inside, if he doesn't know the password. If you want maximum security, check for the security compliance certifications. You can even find external hard drives with military grade encryption.

By following this simple guide, you will be able to buy external hard disk drives that will suite your needs for years to come. Each of the features discussed in this article will help you determine what you really want. Take note, a difference of $10 is nothing compared to losing all of your data.

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