What is an External Hard drive, and how to use it?

What is an external hard drive

It is often necessary to have an external hard drive to have backups or to carry information from one place to another. That is why we must know how to use these elements properly to avoid making mistakes.

Within the world of computing, there are many components and external elements that help in different ways. In this case, the advantage achieved is related to the storage of our computer or programs that we want to have. Also, if an emergency occurs, these elements are usually an important factor that can save our information.

Now it’s time to get to know the external hard drive a little better and how they work. This way, you will understand how to choose the best model and the way they work once they are connected. Stay with us and discover more about this important element in the world of computing.

What is an external hard drive?

When we talk about an external hard drive, we refer to an additional data storage element connected. Its job is to look like a peripheral that connects to whatever computer or mobile device you have. Within this, you can save any information, from a file or photo to a complete program. 

After being a removable and portable element, it allows the user to be taken anywhere. These are used frequently to make backup copies when formatting a computer. It also serves to have larger files that you do not want to add to the computer, such as movies or even music.

Many people use this type of hard drive to have a larger capacity than the computer has. They usually keep it connected for a long time or whenever necessary to use the information inside. The truth is that they are very useful to have more capacity when storing various files.

What is an external hard drive used for?

Main characteristics of an external hard drive

Now that we know the removable hard drive, it is time to learn about some of its main features. In this way, you will better understand its operation and what they can offer you when you buy it. It will also help you determine which one is the best on the market if you want to take one home.

External Hard Drive Type

We start this list of features by identifying the different types on the market today. These can be divided into two, those that are magnetic disk models and those that are solid-state models. Let us now know what characterizes each one:

In the case of external hard drives of the magnetic type, they have magnetic fields that provide speed. Its main characteristic is using a head that reads and records all the information that is sent. It is the most used today for the performance it has.

Ideally, they are constantly defragmented to take advantage of all the space; the faster their rotation can go, the better. They are extremely sensitive, so a minor blow could completely damage them. One of the main factors why people look for them is their low cost.

On the other hand, we have the solid disk, which many people still do not use due to its cost. Thanks to its semiconductor transistors, it has flash memory, which lasts even without electricity. They do not have moving parts and are usually more resistant to shocks and not making noise.

The speed ​​they usually have

In the case of removable magnetic hard drives, the speed is determined by the rotation of the disks. Generally, one of these elements must have a speed between 5,400 and 10,000 revolutions per minute. Now, if you want much higher speeds, solid-state drives are better.

Solid-state ones are recommended for when external operating systems are used on them. In addition, when large amounts of movies or music are stored on them that require higher speeds, they are ideal. They also usually have higher capacities than magnetic ones.

Form of feeding and physical size

These elements are usually small; they can reach 2.5 to 3.5 inches, whereas the device powers the smallest ones. Thanks to this, they achieve better practicality, transport, and use on any device. However, the larger ones have to use an additional power supply.

It should note that some 2.5-inch elements need a Y-type cable. Thanks to this, they can be connected to two USB ports, one for power and exchanging information. In the case of the 3.5-inch ones, it is connected to the current with an external power cable.

Forms of connection to devices

The external hard drive can be connected in different ways, either through USB or external SATA ports. However, this happens through the standard USB port that we all know more often than not. This way, you have easy access and installation to mobile devices, laptops or desktops.

Some models have the capacity of a Wi-Fi connection so that you can send information wirelessly. The speeds will vary depending on the type of connection, although they are not usually the fastest.

  • If a USB 2.0 port is used, the speed it reaches will be 60 MB/second
  • If a USB 3.0 port is used, the rate is 300 MB/second; in the case of a solid-state, it can reach 500 MB/second
  • If an external SATA connection is used, the speed is 300 MB/second
  • Capacity

This element already has capacities greater than a terabyte to be very large. Depending on the developer and their type, they can have a wide capacity greater than that of a computer. It varies and can go from 128 GB to 5 terabytes.

Tips when using an external hard drive

what is an external hard drive used for

We will give you a list of tips that you should keep in mind once you have already purchased this item. You can ensure that their use is correct and have a longer useful life with them. So if you have one in your hands, it’s time to follow these tips.

Be careful with bumps.

As we already mentioned, magnetic models are usually very sensitive to

shocks; one can be enough to damage it. In the case of solid-state, they are much more resistant due to their composition. However, this does not mean that a strong blow can damage their operation.

The extraction must be safe.

After being an element that we use with a USB port, many mistakes using it as a Pendrive. Ideally, these elements are used with great care because they may be running something when you unplug them. For this, the ideal is to go to the lower right corner of the desktop and manually eject it before disconnecting it.

Defrag if magnetic

As we already mentioned, the idea is that if it is a magnetic hard drive, it should be defragmented. This option will help use the disk’s total capacity and enter more information. In addition to this, the performance will also increase for more speed.

Temperature is always important.

Being a component that works, it gives off heat. That is why we must be careful with this when working on a device for a long time. Ideally, in case of overheating, it should be disconnected not to affect its operation.

Now that we know everything an external hard drive can offer, it’s time to take one home. Clearly, with this element, we will have better capabilities when working and greater performance. In addition, we will be able to make backups when formatting or taking large amounts of information wherever we want.


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