External Hard Drive

External hard drive is a device mostly used for backing up data. It helps in storing massive data and very portable. It supports to store and share data with other devices. External hard drives connect to the computer through USB ports (2.0) using a USB cable, FireWire 400 and FireWire 800. External SATA (eSATA) port is one of the faster ports. Storing data into external hard drive is very easy, plug the external hard drive to the computer and transfer the data into it. They are cheaper, reliable and easy to use. Mostly people use it to store their memorable photographs, audio files, movie files, important documents etc.

Most of the external hard drives are for portability. Some drives have security features like fingerprint recognition to prevent unauthorized access. External hard drives could be either empty case or one with the pre-installed hard drive (most popular). The sizes of external hard drives are 1.8 inches, 2.5 inches, 3.5 inches etc. 3.5 inches are better to handle than 1.8 and 2.5 inches external hard drives because 1.8 and 2.5 inches drives have compactness and hence more care is required. Some of the examples of external hard drives include Seagate free agent, Lacie hard drive, Samsung hard drive, Iomega external hard drive, WD (Western Digital) Passport etc.

Advantages and Characteristics

External hard disk drives have become quite popular among computer users. There are many advantages which support its popularity. Some of the characteristic of ex-drives are as follows:

  • Easy transferring of data
  • Used for backing up and restoring the data
  • It is very portable (1.8 inches and 2.5 inches drives)
  • Data stored is safe and secure i.e., enhanced data protection (using the built-in encryption scheme in the external hard drive to encrypt the data and store it)
  • Can store huge amount of data compared to Compact Flashes and SDs
  • It has wide range of storage capacities
  • It can be plugged and unplugged whilst the system is running
  • Data transferring across various platforms (cross platform)
  • High cache capacity
  • External hard drives can be partitioned

Disadvantages

  • Access speed is low
  • Cost is high
  • Chances of falling down or mishandling is more
  • External power supply is required for 3.5 inches external hard drive

Selection of hard drive

  • Depending on requirement
      • For small storage, less than 100 GB external hard drive would be sufficient
      • For large storage (having different types of files), more than 100 GB is advisable

These days the size of the external drives range from 160 GB to 500 GB and up to 4TB.

  • Depending on performance, an external drive with
      • Higher cache size
      • Higher transfer rate
      • Higher speed (spindle) measured in rpm
      • large bandwidth interfaces
    • Depending on weight of the drive
    • Depending on direct power supply through port or through external power supply
    • Depending on the presence of software utilities (in-built) for better performance of the hard drive i.e., easy data backup, and disk management etc.
    • Depending on the support of RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1), RAID helps in data redundancy in case of data disaster
    • Depending on additional features like audio and video files being played directly etc.
    • External hard drives having less weight are easily portable

The Speed of the external hard drive data tranfer is marked in megabytes per second (MBps) or gigabytes per second (GBps). Hard drives mostly uses USB 2.o or USB 3.0. Some FireWire transfers are faster than these. The Apple's new release ThunderBolt port can offer upto 10MBps bidirectionally, which makes it 12 times faster than FireWire 800 and 20 times than USB 2.o port.

Related Info:

Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive
External drives are used most importantly to store the files and even to back up these files. While organizing the data from external drives there are chances of accidental deletion of data. The files so deleted are not places in the Windows Recycle Bin temporarily. If you have lost files from external hard disk drives use Remo Recover (Windows) to restore deleted / missing files.

How Can I Restore My External Hard Drive Data
External drives are connected to your PC or laptop by USB cable or FireWire to transfer data at high speed. These are visible along with other logical drives / volumes. A user might mistakenly format the connected external drive with important data instead of formatting some other drive. This would erase entire data from the external hard disk drive. If you are victim of such data loss situation then read the article and restore lost data.