Hi. Did you ever wish you had more disk space on your computer? Do you get error messages that your disk drive is low on space? Do you not back up your data because you don’t know how or where to put the back up?
Adding an external disk drive to your computer is fast, easy & relatively inexpensive. I’ll tell you how you can add a lot of disk space in an instant using an external disk drive…this will also help you back up your stuff quickly and easily.
External disk drives have become commodities – that means there’s a wide selection from many vendors and, by and large, they’re pretty much all the same (except, of course, for the capacity of the disk). These drives usually connect to the computer with USB or Firewire, USB being the most popular.
Today’s computers all have USB ports, those small slots that accept cords with the flat connectors. USB 2.0 is the current version, the one that’s the fastest. If you have an older computer, you might have USB1.1. It’s slower but it will still work fine.
USB ( univeral serial bus) ports have several features that make them wonderful for users:
- USB is a standard…that means that all USB plugs work everywhere.
- It’s plug and play…that means that, for the most part, when you plug a device into your computer’s USB port, the computer will recognize it, install the right software for it, and let you know when it’s ready for use.
- there are several USB ports on your computer… chances are you have 4 or more USB ports on your c0mputer. If you run out, you can buy a USB hub to turn one port into a bunch.
- When you plug in a USB device, it’s available almost immediately…you don’t have to reboot!
Ok so now you know you have to buy an external disk drive. Where do you get one?
You can get an external USB drive at stores that sell office equipment and computer stuff or you can buy online. Officemax, Office Depot, Staples, Walmart, Costco, BJs, and Target are some examples of physical stores where you can get one. These businesses all have online stores, of course; you can also look at buy.com, pcconnection.com, cdw.com, amazon, and tigerdirect.
How big? You definitely want your external drive to be bigger than your computer’s drive so you can back up your current data and have room to grow. And with the cost of storage going down, it’s pretty inexpensive to get a big disk. I recently bought a couple of external drives: one is 500GB and the other is 1TB (a terrabyte is 1000 GB). The 1TB drive was a little over $100 and the 500GB drive was about $90.
Many external drives come loaded with software program(s) to help you manage the new disk and back up the data on your computer. These programs tend to be very easy to use and set up and make backing up a breeze. If you’ve accepted the defaults on your computer, most of your data is in your My Documents folder (if you’re on a PC); that’s the folder to back up!
After you’ve plugged in your external drive, it will appear as a new drive letter on your computer; open My Computer (on a pc, press windows+e) to see your new drive.
Double clicking on the new drive letter will open a window showing the drive’s contents. You’ll see some folders and the software installed by the manufacturer. (note: some drives are set up so that the management program starts automatically when you plug it in. Don’t be afraid…follow the directions!). Your computer sees the external drive as a normal disk: you can copy files to it, drag and drop files in its window, and leave it plugged in all the time and save to it as you wish. And, of course, you can use it as the target for your backup activities!
I have an external drive on my main computer at home that I never look at, never open, and basically forget it’s there. When I load my digital photos onto my computer, my photo management software automatically copies the photos to the external drive so I have a backup. If my hard disk crashes, I know I have copies of all my photos.
So now you know that you can add storage space to your computer very easily and, at the same time, start backing up your stuff. Do it today. And contact me if you have questions.