Backing Up Your PC Data with an External Hard Drive

If you are looking for an alternative method for backing up all of the data on your PC, you may want to consider an external hard drive which is capable of storing a massive amount of information depending upon the size you choose.

Up until the arrival of external hard drives, backing up data on your personal PC meant keeping track of hundreds if not thousands of floppy disks or compact discs. With an external hard drive you can safely store all of your data in one location and on one device. This includes software programs that you use on an infrequent basis which will free up more space on your PC's hard drive.

Choosing an External Hard Drive

External hard drives may sound complicated but they are very easy to use and fairly inexpensive to buy. Currently you can obtain a 500 GB external hard drive for around $129 if you do your homework on prices.

  • Specifications: The most important specification you should look for on an external hard drive is the size capacity of the drive itself for backing up data. Unlike older forms of storage, external hard drives are sized by Gigabytes (GB). Before you decide on the size of the drive, consider how much data you will be backing up and storing on the drive. For example, one GB equals one billion bytes which is the equivalent to almost two compact disks. If you are transferring data that is stored on 60 compact disks, that is about 30 GB of storage that you will need on your external hard drive.
  • Cache Size: The cache on an external hard drive is the speed of the memory between the computer and the drive. The size of the cache will determine how well the external hard drive can digest the data that you are transferring and how fast it will be able to store it on the drive. If the external hard drive contains a high speed cache, it will store the data in the cache until the hard drive is ready to receive it.
  • Interface: There are two different types of interfaces that interact with your external hard drive which transfer the data from your hard disk to the external hard drive. One type is USB which stands for Universal Serial Bus and will copy your files quickly as long as there is no other device using the USB card. The rate that the USB transfers data is based on the other devices that are using the same type of interface. The other type of interface is called a firewire which is considered a more direct connection to the external hard drive and will copy files a lot faster.

Before you choose an external hard drive make sure it is capable of using both a USB and firewire interface to allow for versatility and future upgrades. Also, make sure you choose an external hard drive that allows for future expansion as you add data to your PC.

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