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It’s becoming increasingly important to have a dependable external hard drive available for digital libraries and backups.  Alongside your HD camcorders and range of other kit, a portable hard drive can fulfil numerous functions and maximise storage space for those precious media and essential backups.

Choosing the right one can be tricky and there are a few pointers to keep in mind to ensure that you get one which is suited to your needs. Failing to prepare in this regard is only likely to lead to problems further down the line, something which you could definitely do without if you use your equipment frequently or as part of your job.


This is about how you’ll link up your portable drive with your PC, laptop or other machine. It could be anything from USB to Firewire 400 or 800. Note that not all portable hard drives will have all the available connections.


There’s a significant difference in the cost of desktop and truly portable drives so it’s worth always thinking about what you’ll be using the new drive for. If you’re only going to use it for backups from your PC then it’s probably best to go for a desktop version which will be more cumbersome and require plugging in but also be a lot cheaper. If you’re a field photographer or travel writer who needs to back stuff up on the move then a more expensive portable version will be essential.



One of the things you have to be careful about is the storage capacity of a hard drive and the amount of data you’re planning on transferring to it in order to free up space on other machines. There’s a great temptation to pile all the techie eggs into the one basket and unless you have a second drive under those circumstances to back up the first one you may be courting disaster. Losing 1TB of photos or other files that are irreplaceable is no joke and it may be better to buy a couple of smaller drives rather than one big one.


As ever, do a little research before hitting the high street or internet vendors whether you’re looking for a portable drive or a full HD TV or other electronic item for that matter. A model that you’re instinctively interested in may have a few known issues. Also, certain brands may have a reputation for reliability but poor performance is not predictable and bad drives can come from where you’d least expect. Look up at least a few reviews to see whether customers have been generally satisfied with your prospective purchase or have tended to slate it.


Prices should always be checked first online before shelling out. This is true for everything from a HD DVD player to a camcorder, and is a good general rule to follow for technology purchases which you make throughout your life. In many cases there can be a great difference in the price between high street and internet retailers. As a rule, you’ll get it cheaper online but many people prefer being able to ask a few questions face-to-face in the store and have a paper receipt rather than a digital one; considering the extra cash a fair exchange for peace of mind.

Anny Writes regularly on various topics. Like to share new information for all kind of readers.