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Computer External Hard Drives - How To Choose A Great External Computer Hard Drive

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The right external hard drive can greatly improve a computer’s storage potential. There are hundreds of hard drives on the market from a variety of manufacturers, however, and it can be difficult to select an external computer hard drive that can store data safely and securely. Before you head to the store or look on the Internet for a new computer external hard drive, here are a few important things to consider.

First of all, you’ll need to make sure that the hard drive is large enough for your data storage needs. External computer hard drives can hold immense amounts of data or fairly small amounts, depending on their intended usage. Many modern external drives hold 1TB or more of data, although you can easily find some models around 250GB or less. Think about what you’re going to be storing on the external hard drive. If you’re going be storing lots of videos, MP3s, and other “big” files, you’ll probably want a very large drive. If the external hard drive is only going to store backups of office documents or other “small” files, you may benefit from a smaller external hard drive, as smaller externals tend to be more portable. When in doubt, go for a larger drive—your data needs are likely to increase over time, and there’s not too much of a price jump for larger hard drives.

You should also note whether the external hard drive houses one or two physical drives. Some models, especially large externals, actually contain two standard hard drives working in a RAID configuration. This means that data is striped across both of the disks, which can be problematic if one disk fails. You’ll have an increased risk of lost data if you buy an external hard drive that uses a RAID 0 setup, so carefully read the box before making your purchase.

External hard drives usually operate through USB 2.0, but if you need a FireWire drive or an external with another interface, you’ll need to look carefully for a model with these options. USB 2.0 is the standard for most computers, and unless you’ve got a very specific reason to use another interface, you should probably just stick with the standard.

Check the seek speed of the external computer hard drive. Seek speed tells you how long it takes the hard drive to locate a certain bit of data. You’ll want a low seek time if you want a fast drive. Fast external computer hard drives are better, and they’ll function much more smoothly when paired with large data-consuming programs like Adobe Photoshop and video editing software.

Some external hard drives come with additional bundled software that can be used to back up computers. If you’re using your external hard drive for backup, consider an external computer hard drive that uses this type of software. If you’re not too concerned with data backup, you don’t need to look for this software, although it can be very helpful. Backup programs automatically copy certain files to an external while leaving them on a computer’s internal hard drive, so they’re pretty much a one-click way to keep your data safe and secure.

Finally, you should look at online customer reviews for the hard drive of your choice. This can let you know some things that the product description of an external computer hard drive can’t tell you, such as the reliability of a hard drive, any bugs or technical quirks, and overall customer satisfaction levels. If a hard drive has a few bad consumer reviews, you can usually ignore them, but if you’re seeing a large number of complaints, it’s probably best to look for a different model of hard drive. There are hundreds of great hard drives out there, and with a bit of research, you can find one that meets your needs for data storage and reliability.

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