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how to use an external hard drive

How to use an external hard drive? In this article, you can know how to add an external drive to your computer. In addition, you are offered the way to manage, use and maintain an external hard drive. MiniTool Partition Wizard is a good tool to help you to manage the drive.

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What Is an External Hard Drive

An external hard drive is a portable storage device that can be attached to a computer wirelessly,or through a USB FireWire connection. It becomes more and more popular in computer users for the following benefits:

  1. It is portable. An external hard drive can be connected to almost all computers because they have a USB port. Therefore, you can easily pick up your external hard drive, take it out and connect it to another computer.
  2. It comes with a high storage capacity. An external hard drive can store much larger data than a USB flash drive. It helps a lot if you are found of videos or audios, whichtake up a large amount of disk space. In addition, you can use it to store lots of photos, entire programs, and more on it.
  3. It is a safe Backup Device. To avoid data loss, you can use an external hard drive to back up your files and programs. After system crashes, you can easily connect the external hard drive to another computer so that you can recover important data.
  4. It is easy to be upgraded. If your external hard drive is running out of storage space for your backup files, you can easily replace it with a bigger one.
  5. It can prevent your computer from getting clogged up with downloads and large files. You could transfer large files from your computer to an external hard driveto improve

How to Add an External Hard Drive to Your Computer

If you get a new external hard drive, you need to add it to your computer before you can use it. Here is how to do it.

Step 1: Plug one end of the external hard drive’s cable (usually the larger end) into the USB port on the housing to see whether it works.

Tip: There are three types of USB port: USB-A, USB-B and USB-C. If the cable shipped with the external hard drive is not matched with the USB port on your computer, you can solve it by buying a USB adapter, for example, a USB-C to USB-A adapter.

Step 2: Plug the other end of the cable into your external hard drive.

Step 3: Now you need to format the external hard drive.

  1. Double click This PC.
  2. Right-click your external hard drive and choose Format...from menu.
  3. Uncheck Quick Formatand select a file system. Then click Start.
Tip: Unchecking Quick Format means that you choose Full Format, which will scan the drive for bad sectors while formatting. Click quick format vs. full format to know more.

click start

After formatting the external hard drive, you should partition the drive reasonably for better management. As for partitioning tool, you can choose freeware MiniTool Partition Wizard.

How to Use an External Hard Drive in Windows 10

Extra Storage Device

It has been mentioned that an external hard drive has many benefits. The basic one is to use it as an extra storage device, especially when you need to free up disk space.

You can transfer files to an external hard drive after you connect it to your computer. Here is a tutorial on how to use an external hard drive in Windows 10.

Step 1: Press Win + E to open File Explorer.

file explorer

Step 2: Select the folders or files you want to move and press Ctrl + X to cut them.

move files

Step 3: Click your external hard drive from the left action panel to access the external hard drive and press Ctrl + V to paste the folders and files.

Data Backup Device

Do you know your data is in danger? If you don’t have more than one backup solution, plenty of critical information includes photos, music, videos, financial and official documents could be lost when your computer dies due to hardware failure, natural disaster, system crashes or viruses attacks.

Clearly, the more copies you have, the less risk of data loss you face. Thus, just create as many copies as you entail. In other words, you’d better protect the original data with two backups.

Usually, cloud backup can be a good choice,such as Google Cloud Storage, Microsoft Onedrive, etc.

However, they are not the best solutions.They may cost you much. Some cloud services such as iCloud and IDrive just offer you a storage capacity about 5 GB for free, and most cloud services need you to pay for month. What’s more, it will be troublesome if you decide to shift among these services.

In addition, it may take much time to download everything from a cloud-based backup service if you want to manage large files or large quantities of files.

On the other hand, data stored in a cloud service is possible to be attacked by a hack. So, you can store your backup in an external hard drive, which is portable and safer. Some external devices come with security features like fingerprint recognition, which prevents other people from gaining access to the stored data.

how to share external hard drive thumbnail
How to Buy the Right Backup Drive for Your Computer in 2019

To buy the right backup drive, here are some tips you need to know.

Read More

With MiniTool Partition Wizard,a free backup tool, you can easily back up your partitions or the whole disk to your external hard drive. Here is how to use an external hard drive for backup.

Step 1: Click the following button to download and install the tool.

Free Download

Tip: If you need to back up the system disk, you need to upgrade to MiniTool Partition Wizard Pro Edition.

Step 2: Make a backup.

  • To copy disk, just right-click the disk you want to back up and choose Copy from menu.
  • To copy partition, you can click the Copy Partition Wizard from action panel and choose the partition you want to back up.
  • Then follow the instructions to finish the copy
Tip: Please make sure there is no important data in the external hard drive because the disk coping process will erase all the data on the destination disk.

click start

MiniTool Partition Wizard helps me to know how to use an external hard drive. Now I can take my files and movies anywhere.Click to tweet

Create a Windows To Go Workplace

Windows To Go is a feature in Windows 10 that allows you to boot and run Windows from USB flash drives or external hard disk drives so that you can take it to anywhere.

Note: You need to pay attention that the Windows To Go feature is only available in Windows 8/8.1/10 Enterprise, Education versions.

To create a portable Windows, you need to prepare a device with requirements as follows:

  • With 32 GB capacity at least
  • With USB 2.0 and faster USB connections.

With an external hard drive, you can easily achieve it. Here is how to do it.

Step 1: Connect your external hard drive to the computer.

Step 2: Search for Windows To Go in Windows and click it from the results.

click Windows To Go

Step 3: Choose your external hard drive to create a Windows To Go workplace and follow the guide to complete the process.

Then you can connect the external hard drive to another computer and boot Windows from the external drive when you go out.

How to Use an External Hard Drive for Longer

You may be aware that an external hard drive is necessary for you. However, it is easy to be broken if you don’t maintain it in the right way. To avoid decreasing the life of it, you can read these tips on how to use an external hard drive for longer.

  1. To protect your external hard drive, you’d better place it on a stable, flat and hard surface. Considering that the hard disk is a mechanical device, it can be damaged by vibrations. And you should also be careful to prevent it from falling off the table.
  2. You need to make sure that it will not be banged around or treated roughly. Since the external hard drive is a portable device, you should treat it carelessly when you take it out.
  3. You have to avoid getting your hard drive wet or exposing it to liquid.
  4. Do not place your external hard drive in a restrictive area where there is no air flow. Similar to the internal hard disk in your computer, the external hard drive also gets hot when it works too long. To avoid overheating, which can damage the disk, you need to place it in an open area to dissipate the buildup of heat.
  5. Check error before you transfer files to an external hard drive. It can fix disk errors and ensure that you are starting with a well-functioning drive.To do that, you can use the error checking tool in Windows.
  6. Always eject the drive before you unplug it from your computer. It ensures data still stored in the cache memory will be removed, which prevents existing data on the disk from being damaged.
  7. The best way to protect your data in the external hard drive is to back up it as much as possible. Hard drive failure may happen to your external hard drive.To ensure the security of your files, you’d better prepare a second external drive to back up it.

Save Lost Data from an External Hard Drive

Similar to internal hard drivers, an external hard drive may also lose data due to various reasons, such as mistaken deletion or hard drive failure when you manage it.

If you have a backup for the data in the external hard drive, you can restore your data with the backup.

If you unfortunately find that your files or programs stored in the external hard drive is lost and you have no backup for the drive, you need to stop using it right now and try to recover files from the external drive with a third-party software as soon as possible.

MiniTool Partition Wizard is powerful in recovering deleted files and data from formatted or virus attacked disk. It is worth trying.

Buy Now

Step 1: Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Step 2: Click Data Recovery from the tool bar and select your external hard drive in This PC. And then click Scan.

Step 3: Now you just need to check the files you want to recover and then click Save to place the recovered files into a safe position.

Tip: Make sure that you save recovered files in another disk to avoid a secondary data loss.

check files and click Save

If it is the first time to recover files from an external drive, you may be a little confused. To know more details, you can read the following article: The Full Guide to SSD File Recovery on Windows 10/8/7/XP.

Here is an article about how to use an external drive. It enables me to free up the storage space of my computer and I can go out with my files. I’d like to share it with you!Click to tweet

Bottom Line

You can benefit a lot from an external hard drive. With the high storage capacity, you can store a huge number of videos, photos and programs, and it is a proper device for data backup.

This article helps you to know how to add an external hard drive to your computer, how to use an external hard drive in Windows 10, and how to maintain it to use it longer.

If you still have any questions about the external hard drive, you can contact [email protected] or post it in the comment section below.

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How to Use an External Hard Drive FAQ

What does an external hard drive do?
An external hard drive, which can be connected to a computer through a USB or wirelessly, is a portable storage device. It’s usually used to serve as extra storage or back up computers.
What are the advantages of an external hard drive?
  1. It has large storage capacity.
  2. It’s portable so that you can take it anywhere.
  3. It’s a safe backup device.
  4. It can be used for a long time.
How do I download a program to an external hard drive?
  1. Plug the external hard drive into the computer.
  2. Press Win + E to open File Explorer.
  3. Navigate to your program setup file and double-click it.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to install the program, and when you are asked where you want to save the program, choose on location on your external hard drive.
What do I do when my external hard drive is not detected?
The reasons for external hard drive not recognized or not showing up could be various. If you are facing the problem, you can try the 10 solutions mentioned in the following article: 10 Cases: External Hard Drive Not Showing up & Best Fixes.
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