What is a Portable Hard Drive?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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A portable hard drive is a type of digital storage device. It is generally convenient to transport and has a large storage capacity. Such a device is compatible with most computers and will generally operate with Windows® and Mac®.

Portable hard drives are used for digital storage. They can be used for primary storage, for back up, or for other specific needs. The devices are generally compact and lightweight. As a result, they are not generally burdensome to transport and do not require a lot of space to be used.

Most portable hard drives are plug and play. This means that they do not need to be formatted and a person does not have to load special software onto her computer before they will work. Instead, it is generally only necessary to connect the device, and it should be ready for use. Connection is normally achieved with a cord that has a USB plug. The cord that connects the hard drive to a computer is usually detachable from the device.


When a portable hard drive is connected, there will usually be some type of indication on the screen that will let the user know that the device is being recognized by the computer. There is also generally some type of light on the device that should illuminate to signal that it is working. Many of these devices have options that will allow this light to be deactivated although the device is connected. This is a feature that often appeals to those who are concerned about power consumption.

Storing information on a portable hard drive is usually simple. When a person stores information on her computer, she is generally given an option as to where she wants that information to be stored. When the hard drive is connected, the user should simply be able to select the device. Accessing the files that are already stored on the device is usually done in the same way that it would be done if the files were stored on a computer's internal drives.

There are several types of portable digital storage devices. One of the most attractive features about a portable hard drive is its storage capacity, which is generally higher than the other available options. Since the device has so much space, it can be used to store extremely large amounts of data in various formats. It can also be used store programs.

It should be noted, however, that perfect and invincible portable hard drives have not yet been invented. These devices can be susceptible to viruses and they can also malfunction. For this reason, it is best to have another copy of important files that are stored on the device.


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Post 1

Portable hard drives have also become a mainstay of personal cloud storage systems. The theory here is easy -- to have a hard drive that can be utilized by any computer or device inside a local network. Many routers have USB ports that are expressly designed for hard drives to be plugged into so that a lot of storage is available in a network.

There are even some hard drives that are meant to be plugged into a network just like a router or any other "wired" appliance that can access the router directly.

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