How to Use an External Hard Drive

An external hard drive is a storage device that adds to your computer’s storage capacity without doing upgrades or spending too much. The device is also useful because it can be used to backup files you have stored on other devices and save your computer’s storage space for smaller, simpler files. External storage devices range in brands, capacity and prices but finding one on almost any budget is possible.


  • External hard drive
  • Instruction manual
  • Computer


  1. Peruse the instruction manual before you begin and be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Connect you computer and external hard drive and plug the hard drive in.
  2. Once connected, installed the device.
  3. If prompted by your computer, complete registration for the device.
  4. Start transferring the files from your computer to your hard drive.

Tips for installation

  • Always check to ensure that the device is properly plugged in and powered on if your computer fails to recognize it.
  • Even if you have used external hard drives before, it is best to read your manual once going outside of your usual brand since some manufacturer warranties or return policies become void if the issue occurred due to your failure to follow manufacturer instructions.
  • It is advisable that you test the device before you spend time transferring the files. To do so, create and save a new file or save a copy of an existing file to the external hard drive. Once saved, try to open the file. If it opens then the device was properly installed, if it doesn’t open then return to the manual to see where you went wrong. You may have to uninstall then reinstall the device. Run the test each time to ensure that installation is successful to avoid losing files and time.
  • Check to ensure that your files are properly stored on the device before you delete those stored on your computer. It is best to either check each file as you transfer then delete it or transfer and check all files then delete.
  • Although it will cost you extra, consider investing in a kind of software that allows you to password protect the device especially if you will be storing sensitive information.
  • Tips for buying
  • Always buy knew external hard drives: it is best to know what has happened to the device for its entire lifespan, additionally you will have your warranty to rely on in the event that something goes wrong.
  • It is always best to over-estimate the amount of space needed than to purchase a device with an insufficient amount of storage.
  • Check the store’s return policy as well as the manufacturer’s warranty before you decide on buying.
  • Obtain and keep your proof of purchase.

Tips for Storing/Caring

  • Like all computer products or devices, avoid exposing the device to extreme temperatures and liquids. Keep you external hard drive cool and dry for optimal performance.
    Purchase a carry case to keep the device protected
  • Although external hard drives are useful data back-up devices, try to keep copies of your important files elsewhere if you will be carrying it around often since damage, theft or loss may occur.