What Is External Hard Drive

Roxanne updated on Apr 10, 2023 | Home > Knowledge Center

Simply put, an external hard drive refers to a portable storage device. It is a popular disk storage device for computer users with excellent performance.

By following this article, you will understand the meaning of an external hard drive and know the difference between an external hard drive and the flash drive.

What Is External Hard Drive

The external hard drive is a storage device that sits outside your computer and is connected via a USB cable or a wireless connection. External hard drives are typically used in some situations, such as storing media that users need to carry with themselves, backing up data, and when the computer's internal drives have reached their full memory capacity. External hard drives are also called removable hard drives.

external hard drive

There are several features of the external hard drive.

  • Firstly, the external drive can be connected to the Daisy chain, which can create unlimited storage capacity.
  • Secondly, an external hard drive is portable. You use it to back up your computer files.
  • Thirdly, external hard drives' read and write speeds can reach up to 2800MB/s and 2300MB/s.
  • Fourthly, today's hard drives can be stored in a safe and secure way.
  • Finally, external hard drives can be formatted and used as internal drives.

After learning about the above features of external hard drives, the top 3 brands of external hard drives will be provided for you as follows:

Brands Seagate One Touch ADATA HD710 PRO Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC
Capacity 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB 1TB, 2TB, 4TB 1TB, 2TB
Price $53-$199 $65-$121 $94.99-$144.99
Target users Large storage demanders Outdoor explorers Mobile phone users

After introducing the above three kinds of brands about external hard drives, you may have a question: Do I need an external hard drive?

Before answering this question, you need to know what is an external hard drive used for, and then you can find your own answer.

What Is External Hard Drive Used For

This part will tell you what is an external hard drive used for. There are 4 uses for an external drive, including data storage, backups, digital editing, and data sharing. Now you can read on to know the detailed information.

1. Storage

External hard drives are plugged into the port of your computer, unlike an internal drive that is firmly bolted into the inside of your computer. External hard drives provide you with more storage space to store your files. When you store files on an external hard drive, you can only access them when you plug the hard drive into your PC. Using it, you can store files you don't often access, such as old photos or videos, archival data, completed projects, and so on.

2. Backups

You can back up your hard drive to your computer's data. When exposed to moisture, water, and computer viruses, your computer can suffer catastrophic damage that can destroy your hard drive.

data backup

If your computer is stolen, you may lose all your computer data. So that's why it's important to store backups on an external hard drive.

3. Digital Editing

An external hard drive is also an essential necessity for digital editing, including video editing, photo editing, audio editing, and so on. While your computer's hard drive may be full of software and personal files, your hard drive may run out of space. Therefore, it is very necessary to plug in an external hard drive and set it up as a staging disk for your editing program. Then your computer will have more space available for editing.

4. Data Sharing

On the one hand, it is a great way to transfer large amounts of data. On the other hand, they allow you to transfer more data faster.

External Hard Drive VS Flash Drive

When you're looking for storage devices, you're likely to come across a plethora of options. One question you might ask is, what's the difference between an external hard drive and a flash drive? When should they be used? A flash drive is a portable drive that uses flash memory to transfer files. This part will give you a table that refers to detailed information about the difference between the two kinds of drives, including the portability, capacity, size, life span, price, and applicable scene. Now you can read as follows.

external hard drive vs flash drive

This part will provide you with some comparison in terms of their features as follows:

Comparison External Hard Drive Flash Drive
Portability Less More
Capacity More(128GB-20TB) Less(8GB-1TB)
Size Larger Smaller
Life-span Shorter(3-5 Years) Longer(10 Years)
Price Higher($45-$199) Lower($10-$55)
Applicable Scene Better for storing files Better for transferring files

According to the above table, you may have a relatively comprehensive understanding of the difference between an external hard drive and a flash drive in terms of their portability, capacity, size, and other features. And now, it is believed that you can get your own answer. If you are a user who wants to work on a great number of files, like movies, PC games, and editing files, you can choose the external hard drive. Instead, if you tend to transfer files between devices, it is recommended that the flash drive is more suitable for you.

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After reading this passage, it is believed that you understand what the external hard drive is and know its features, the difference between the external hard drive and the flash drive, and when they should be used.

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Updated by Sherly

Sherly joined EaseUS in 2022 and she has always loved writing articles and enjoys the fun they bring. She receives professional training here, focusing on product performance and other relative knowledge.

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Written by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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