Extra Storage: The External Hard Drive Buying Guide

Extra Storage: The External Hard Drive Buying Guide

Most of us who own laptops, computers, tablets, and other gadgets either for personal or work reasons know that as time passes, we tend to accumulate files. These may be photos, videos, music, applications, software, or even simple documents.

Still, no matter what types of files we may have saved, we know that we will reach a point when we have to erase some of the files or find a new storage space for them.

This is the reason why external hard drives were made—to provide extra space for storage. If you are running out of storage, it is important to know the essentials in what you should be looking for in external hard drives.

This article will discuss the things that you need to know when buying your external drive.

Why Do You Need an External Hard Drive?

External hard drives which can be connected to your laptop or computer have become popular as another source of storage and a way of backing up files to prevent data loss. This is important since you can never know when your devices may crash.

There may be no way of retrieving your files unless you have a backup of your files stored on another device or external drive.

What Do You Need to Consider When Buying an External Hard Drive?

Storage Size

There are various external hard drive storage sizes available, ranging from 250GB to as much as 5GB. You should determine how much storage space you need at the moment and if you plan to store more in the future.

If you plan to save huge files and use your external drive for backing up your files, opt for an external drive that has a 1GB storage capacity or more.

File Transfer Speed

Most external drives sold in the market nowadays use a USB3.0 cable and port for faster file transfer speed of 5Gbps. Most USB3.0 external drives have a backward compatibility feature such that you can use it with the slower USB2.0 port (480Mbps).

You should make sure that your laptop or computer is compatible with this type of USB connection otherwise it may not be able to read the external hard drive that you purchased.


Another factor that you should consider is the size of the external hard drive that you want. External hard drives that are meant for desktop use have a bigger body and often needs an external power source or adapter.

Portable external hard drives, on the other hand, are very small and compact where you can easily fit it in your purse or even your pocket. You can opt for a portable external hard drive if you plan to carry your external drive along with you to the office or when you’re on a trip.


If you are leaning towards buying a portable external drive, it is important to consider which one has a durable casing and can take the rigors of being transported all the time. Newer models of external drives innovate ways of securing and protecting your files in case you drop it by having a protective silicone or rubberized casing.


Do you plan to save important files and back up your entire computer’s files on your external hard drive? Then finding a model which has built in software for password and encryption may be the best for you.

These types of external drives require you to input your password before you can access your files to provide maximum security. Anyone who plugs it in without knowing the password cannot access your files.


The majority of external hard drives are preformatted to be used with a Windows operating system. If you are a Windows user, you can simply plug-and-play the external drive and you’re good to go.

However, if you are a Mac OS user, you will need to reformat the external drive to HFS+ before using it. You can also reformat it to and exFat format so you can use it with both Mac and Windows operating systems.

By following this simple guide to buying an external hard drive, you can surely get what you want and what you need for storing and backing up your files.

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