If you have ever lost an important document, turned off your com- puter without saving changes, or
had a hard-drive failure without a
backup, you are familiar with the
frustrating and time-consuming
task of recreating what you lost. The
good news is that the price of storage has come down considerably,
and external hard drives are lighter
and smaller than ever.
With the advent of larger computer hard drives and bigger media
files, there is a growing need for additional space to back up our work
and for a more convenient way to
store and retrieve data. Storage devices can be as small and portable
as tiny memory sticks or as large as
16-pound, 10 terabyte (TB) desktop
drives. In between, there are portable external drives, which often
weigh less than a pound.
The external hard drives listed
here are small and light enough to
be considered portable. Whereas a
laptop can power most, others require an AC power adapter.
For comparison, all of these
models hold 1 TB of data. A terabyte is one trillion bytes, or 1,000
gigabytes, according to the International System of Units. Drives
that hold 500 GB or 250 GB are less
expensive, and several brands offer
2 TB versions.
When shopping for a hard drive,
first decide how large a drive you
need. The rule of thumb is to
choose a destination drive that has
at least 1. 5 times the capacity of the
drive you are backing up. The drives
listed here have more than enough
room to back up most late-model
laptops and desktops. Note that if a
drive comes formatted for either a
PC or Macintosh, you can usually
reformat it for the other platform.
External Hard Drives