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Usb Hard Drive Portable - Is My USB Hard Drive Portable?


Is my USB Hard Drive Portable?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Portability is, after all, one of the main reasons to get one. It’s no easy task to transport a desktop computer anywhere, and even a laptop can present a hassle if you have enough peripherals plugged into it.

However, a USB hard drive might not be quite as portable as you think, and some are decidedly more portable than others. Still, if you have any need to transport music, programs, home videos or any other files, it’s fairly simple to make a USB hard drive portable.

A USB hard drive is a good idea for many different reasons. The hard drive in your computer has a finite amount of space, and once it’s full, it’s full. It’s not uncommon for new computers to come with a huge hard drive capacity of a terabyte or more, but older machines have far less. Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago that a twenty GB hard drive was cutting-edge. With the formats used today and the huge sizes of modern programs and games, it doesn’t take long at all to fill up hundreds.

An external hard drive is a great tool for backup: it can save your valuable data if your computer ever crashes. It you have all your eggs in one basket, so to speak, you may very well break them all. Also, the more extraneous data you have on the computer’s main drive, the more its performance will suffer. You want to keep the drive with the operating system as streamlined as possible.

Some desktop users can simply add another internal hard drive, but many computer owners will never be comfortable with opening the case and installing such things. Laptop users are even more limited, because the small case probably doesn’t even have room for any extra components. The USB port is by far the simplest way to expand hard drive capacity.

There are two main ways to go about making a USB hard drive portable. Either way, remember that a hard drive is still a delicate piece of equipment. It’s portable in the sense that you can just unplug it and go, but it’s not something that you’d stick in a pocket to get jostled around with your car keys and phone. Don’t drop it, don’t shake it, and don’t leave it in a hot car all day. A protective carrying case is a good investment if you plan to carry the hard drive around frequently. Cases afford a lot of protection for only a little bit of expense.

The first and simplest way to make a USB hard drive portable is to buy one ready-made. Most major hard drive manufacturers, like Seagate and Western Digital, sell external USB drives in a wide array of sizes. They’re generally available with a capacity of anywhere between 100 GB and 1 or 2 TB; smaller ones might still be around, but they’re hard to find nowadays.

The second option is to make it yourself. Almost any computer store, whether web-based or physical, will sell small cases in which you can install an internal IDE or SATA hard drive. Then, you plug it into the USB port and it’s good to go. An internal drive is often cheaper than an external drive of comparable size, but you’ll really save some serious cash if you already have an old, unused drive lying around.

The size needed is entirely up to you and your preferences. For example, even 200 gigabytes would hold a massive amount of MP3s. That should be more than enough if all you’re doing is backing up your iTunes collection. If you need to store high-quality video files or work with sound or video editing, however, 200 gigabytes will barely be enough. Shop accordingly.


Some hard drives only have one cable, as they use the USB port as a power source and a data conduit at the same time. These, of course, are the most portable. If your laptop has a strong battery, you can even use them outside. Other drives have a separate power cable that plugs into a standard wall outlet. These are generally a better option despite having slightly lower portability. They won’t deplete your battery, and they provide faster data transfers.

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