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How do I Choose the Best Removable Hard Drive?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 17, 2024
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When you are ready to shop for a removable hard drive, consider its capacity. Then, take note of the size of the cache drive. It is also important to consider the type of connections the device of your choice allows.

Capacity is something you need to consider no matter what type of removable hard drive you choose. This refers to the amount of data the device can store. When you are shopping, you can determine the capacity by looking for a number that, generally, will be followed by an MB, standing for megabytes, or GB, the abbreviation for gigabytes. Remember that a GB is much bigger than a MB and a removable hard drive that only lists MBs is likely to be too small.

The size of the cache drive is also important because it can greatly impact your work speed. Cache is a memory mechanism that allows information that is sent to the removable hard drive to be temporarily stored until the device is ready to accept it. You can think of it as a holding cell. Without sufficient cache speed, if you try to save too much data at one time, your computer will slow down because the removable hard drive will not be able to receive information fast enough.

Another thing you should consider that will affect the speed of the device is the type of connections it accommodates. Universal serial bus (USB) ports are common on portable and desktop computers, so you should try to get a removable hard drive that connects to such a port. You may, however, want to get one that also has either external Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (eSATA) or firewire capabilities because these allow information to be transferred faster.

Try to find a removable hard drive that has software you can benefit from. This includes programs that will help you to organize the data you transfer to the device. If you will use the device to regularly exchange information with a computer, you should try to get a device that has synchronization and that you can program to automatically back up your files.

A removable hard drive is not an item you should consider purchasing if it has been used. One good reason to purchase such a device new is that you may not be eligible for warranty otherwise. Another reason is because the lack of assurance about the condition of the device places your stored data at risk.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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