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external hard drive
Today so much of our lives are stored on the computer. It is very important to remember to back up anything that is important. It really isn't a question of if your current hard drive will fail, but when it will fail. Their are lots of solutions depending on what your needs are. If you just use your computer to surf the internet and write an occasional paper then you won't need much. You could probably get by with a few recordable CDs or a usb flash drive. However If you you are storing countless, precious family pictures and movies then you should obviously do more. So an external hard drive could be exactly what you need.
I think it is safe to assume pretty much everyone reading this has a digital camera. Maybe even some of you have video camera's and store videos on your computer along with your pictures. You also may have important papers or a vast mp3 collection. If you want to make sure you still have these for years to come you need to back them up.
It is fairly common practice for some people to backup their whole computer to external hard drives. And even store the hard drives at different addresses in case of a theft, fire or flood. I have never gone this far but I can see it being very useful. I have lots of pictures, home movies, websites and various important files on my computer. I'm not too picky about backing them up. But I do know how important it is. So I use Lacie's Sliver Keeper to do automatic updates of all of my important folders to an external hard drive. It is pretty simple and pretty worry free. Sometimes if I have an important video I edited I might even back it up to a recordable DVD also.
If your files are very important to you and your hard drive gets corrupted or breaks you could end up paying a fortune for someone to try and restore them.An external hard drive can be a very worthwhile investment. It can even give you peace of mind knowing that you are not stuck starting over from scratch if something terrible happens to your computer. Some hard drive manufacturers are better than others. I personally have had great luck with Lacie but they are not always rated that well. Personally I really like the triple interface. The Laice drives that can transfer with USB Firewire and Firewire 800 work best for me. I often times work with large video files on my Powerbook. So the Firewire 800 connection is extremely fast. If you don't need speed then I suggest getting a cheaper hard drive with just a USB connection.
An external hard drive can also be a great way to increase your computer's capacity. If you are starting to run low on room you can move files to an external drive. But I still highly suggest a back up.
Portable Hard Drive
Desktop External Hard Drive
MWave often has great deals on Hard Drives. Just click on hard drives in the left hand column
Already have an extra hard drive?
If you have an extra hard drive around from an old computer you can also just buy the hard drive enclosure so you can have a portable backup drive. It is extra work but it can also be a lot cheaper.