So how do external hard drives work?

So I need something with 2TB but I’m only used to SD cards. And I need it to work like an SD card ya know. Something that can hold files and be viewed from any different device that it plugs into, e.g. going from one laptop to another. SDs and USB flash drives seem to be too expensive but external hard drives look like they’d be ok and cheaper. So do they work like SDs or not?

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  • 6 months ago
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    External drives simply plug into your system using a USB port. And when you get the hardware ensure you also get the software to load onto your computer. That software is how you'll backup files onto the external drive. It's also what you'll use to read the data that's on your external drive.

    I have an external drive; it uses Clickfree software to move and copy all the files and programs.

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    • oldprof
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      I frequently remove my external drive, which is my backup, and hook it up to a second desktop that I own. And then I copy everything that's on the external drive onto my second computer. It's especially good for copying all my photos onto the second computer.

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  • ?
    Lv 5
    6 months ago

    They work the same way as internal drives. Generally they are connected via USB, so access is slower. If you have USB3 then access will be faster than it would be with either USB1 or USB2. But still slower than an internal drive. You can also connect an external network drive, which will be much faster than a USB drive, but still not as fast as an internal drive.

    In general once connected the external drive will show up as a device in you file system. On Windows it should be automatically mounted and assigned a letter identifier, such as D: E: etc.

    Then you just have to check whether it already has a file system on it (i.e. folders and file structure). If it does not right click on the drive ID (e.g. D:) and select the format option, which will create a file system on the device.

    On Linux, the device will show up in the /dev directory with a name something like /dev/sda or /dev/sdb, etc. The "sd" stands for SCSI device, and it is sort of a legacy designation for drives. Then you need to run a utility to format the disk, and configure the disk partitions to be mounted in the Linux file system.

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  • 6 months ago

    I've never used an SD card, so I could be wrong, but by 'do they work like them,' do you mean you just pop the card in and a window pops up asking what you'd like to do with the drive/card that's plugged in? Or just shows the File Explorer where you can drag and drop files from one drive/card to your computer's? Then, essentially, yes.

    Whatever you put on the external will be viewable and reachable whenever, just like on SD cards. A 2 TB one still might be expensive, though. Pretty sure a 1 TB is around ~$40-50, at least from reputable, trustworthy brands (like WD My Passports). What's your ballpark/top price you'd be willing to spend?

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  • 6 months ago

    Get a 2TB USB external drive. They are a little smaller than a cigarette pack. If you do find an SD card with 2 TB capacity, it will cost more than any 2 TB external drive.

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  • Damien
    Lv 5
    6 months ago

    ya you can use a sata drive which is what the hard drive inside your laptop is called, it can connect to your computer through a usb, u would have to buy a sata to usb converter wire for that.

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