Portable Hard Drive Buying Guide
What is a Portable Hard Drive?
You always want to back up your computer, but you may not be confident just storing data in the cloud. When you want a physical copy of your computer’s files and not just something floating in the air, then you need an external hard drive to do this for you. It can be daunting when it comes time to purchase an external hard drive, because there is so much out there to choose from. That’s why we’re going to help you out in this buyer’s guide by pointing you in the right direction.
When it comes to finding what is going to work best for your needs then consider what you’re going to be using it for, how much space you have to place it and how much storage space you need, and how often you’re going to be backing up files. You also need to consider whether you’re going to be transporting your external hard drive from place to place. If you don’t need to carry it around then it’s possible to purchase a heavier device at a lower price.
When you answer these questions then you’ll get closer to discovering which is the right external hard drive for you. Lets now take a look at some of the features that you want to consider before you buy.
Storage capacity is a very important factor, and in HDDs it can range from 2GB to 4TB, dependent upon how much data you need to store. There are some drive companies that put two 4TB drives into one chassis, and this makes for a whopping 8TB HDD. This is going to be way too much for most people, but you simply need to know what’s right for you. Most computers these days come with something between 250GB to 750GB of space in the hard drive. A mini external hard drive is known as a flash drive, and this well may be enough storage space for you. But if you need something larger to store documents, photos, videos, songs and much more, then you definitely need to look for an external hard drive. If you’re looking to store a lot of videos then you may want to consider a HDD with 1TB to 2TB of storage. Should you just be storing emails and documents then you can go with something that is smaller. The more that you want to store and the larger the file type, the bigger you should go. You’re going to find the price for your drive will greatly vary dependent upon the speed and storage capacity.
If you want to back your computer up every week or so then most external hard drives are going to work for you. If you’re going to be using it to store large files then you need something that has more space and works more quickly. Look for a hard drive with USB 3.0 capability instead of USB 2.0. 2.0 is quite common but it’s not going to be sufficient for your needs. 3.0 is going to work faster so that you can quickly and more efficiently store larger and more complicated files. Speed is an important consideration because there’s nothing more frustrating than sitting around waiting for these things to upload and be saved. If you’re merely storing documents then the speed shouldn’t be such a huge consideration, but if you’re storing larger files then speed is definitely going to be an important consideration. Keep in mind that not all external hard drives work with all computers, so you need to make sure that they’re compatible. There’s also Thunderbolt to consider, which is gaining in popularity these days. This was developed by Intel as a collaboration with Apple. Thunderbolt is incredibly fast, and in fact, it is one of the fastest out of all the ports. Just keep in mind that this is going to come with a huge price tag.
Portability is an important consideration when it comes to external hard drives. Should you want to keep your drive at home, then you can purchase one that weighs a bit more and costs less. If you need to tow it back and forth from home and work then it makes more sense to spend extra money on something that is lightweight. In fact, there are pocket-sized devices that are so lightweight you’re not even going to realize that you’re carrying them around. You also want to consider practical features such as enhanced data protection, and this reduces the risk of failure caused by shock should the device be dropped. You want to make sure that no matter which portable storage device you purchase that it is built from durable materials so that it is safe in the case of shock or damage. You want to avoid purchasing anything that seems flimsy and seek something that has solid, durable materials such as aluminum or plastic.
When it comes to a desktop style drive, they are technically portable but they’re mostly designed to stay in place and require a power adaptor. Should you want something that is thin and more lightweight that you simply plug this into your computer without using an external power source, then this kind of desktop drive is not the right choice for you. You want to be sure to find one that comes with a built-in fan if you’re using it more frequently or when it comes to heavy file transfers. This built-in fan is going to help you to extend the life of the HDD.
You want to definitely be sure that your hard drive comes with hardware-based encryption which is much more dependable than software-based. This is particularly important should you want to purchase a portable mobile drive to carry around, and it’s also great when you are storing very sensitive information. When you carry your private files around it makes them more prone to theft and loss, and that’s why encryption gives you that extra level of protection.
Should you be someone who is new to using HDDs then you want something that is reliable and easy to use. Be sure to choose a drive that comes with included software, as this will just make things much easier in the long run. But no matter what you purchase it isn’t going to be fail-safe, so you want to get something that is backed by a warranty. Look for a warranty that lasts longer than one year.
You need to take into consideration whether you have a PC or a Mac before you purchase an external hard drive. Some HDDs are only compatible with one kind of computer or the other. If you’re buying a PC specific hard drive for a Mac, you’re either going to need to reformat the hard drive that you buy or just purchase one that’s specifically designed to be compatible with your computer.
Owning an external hard drive is a smart choice if you’re someone that has a lot of data on your computer and you want to safely and effectively store it. There are numerous hard drives out there and that’s why it can be daunting when it comes time to find the right one for you.
The buyer’s guide is intended to help you understand which drive might be right for your particular needs. Asking yourself certain questions about how much data you have and how you plan to use the drive is going to help you to find something that will fulfill your needs. The top rated drives that we discussed above are smart choices, and they’re guaranteed to serve the needs of most computer users.
Should you need something that is different then you can continue your search online to find a drive that meets your specifications. It really comes down to how portable you need the drive to be, as well as how much data you need to store on the device.