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External Hard Drives: All Your Questions Answered

Updated on May 6, 2021 by Jessica Parker
external hard drive

The problem of overloading of laptops or computers is way too common. Be it entertainment or work, our files occupy large spaces inside our computers filling up the available but limited space quickly. Therefore, a hands-on solution to this is an external hard drive. External hard drives are external storage devices that can transfer and store files, documents, and various data from laptops and keep them safe. It is a very effective back-up device and comes with storage capacities ranging from 500 GB to 1 TB or more.

The major advantage of having external hard drives is to have a secure backup for the data. It also allows you to create extra storage for computers which are short on storage capacities. External hard drives also allow you to share information between systems easily. If you are new to using an external hard drive then this blog will answer all your questions about it. If you are a mac user and want to know more mac specific information then check out our blog on External Hard Drive for Mac.

Benefits of Having an External Hard Drive

  • External hard drives offer a large capacity making it convenient to store heavy files and data much effectively as compared to flash drives
  • Such drives offer a good speed while transferring data
  • External hard drives are compact devices that can be carried around conveniently
  • They are quite easy to use and do not require any special software to start functioning
  • These devices are quite flexible and are compatible with all kinds of operating systems with any difficulty
  • External hard drives are quite affordable as compared to the amount of storage they provide for data storage

Is an External Hard Drive Worth it?

External hard drives are total worth the money as it can provide secure and one stop back up to all the crucial data which might be at risk due to windows malfunctioning or cybercrimes.

Can I Download Software Into my Computer Using an External Hard Drive?

Yes, you can download and install software using an external hard drive. But that can only be done once the software has downloaded and you are about to run it. You can go to download and change the storage location of the software and place it in the external folder. However, downloading and installing any software through one external drive might not allow you to use that software on a different work station. For that other special software will be required.

Can I Download Games into an External Hard Drive?

Yes, you can download and install the games into an external hard drive. However, there are certain limitations to it.

  • If the speed of the external hard drive is lesser than the internal drive speed, the games will load slower than usual.
  • Whenever the external hard drive where the game is installed is not connected to your laptop, you won’t be able to play the game
  • If the external hard drive is damaged, then you will have to install the games again
  • If the external drive gets disconnected in between the play mode, the game will crash and you will have to start all over again

There are many options for a gamer when choosing an external hard drive such as the Toshiba Canvio Advance 4TB and the WD 4TB Gaming Drive even works with Playstation 4. But if you really want that extra storage and 4TB is not enough for you then check out the Seagate Desktop, it offers 8TB of storage meaning that you will not be needing more storage for a long time. If you don't want to make a big commitment and want a smaller external hard drive then check out the 2TB WD Elements and the 1TB Toshiba Canvio Basics they are both compatible with difference devices and come with the latest USB 3.0.

What is the Difference Between a Flash Drive and an External Hard Drive?

  • Mechanism

External hard drives use electro-mechanical data that makes them sustainable to damage unlike flash drives which are non-volatile memory and prone to damage.

  • Storage Capacity

External hard drives have a larger storage capacity as compared to flash drives. External hard drives come in capacity between 500 GB and 1 TB or more, whereas flash drives are available in various capacities of usually between 2 GB and 56 GB or more.

  • Portability

A flash drive is a tiny device that can fit any compact making them convenient, portable and ergonomic. External hard drives also offer the same except they are a bit heavier and bigger than flash drives.

What are the Disadvantages of a Flash Drive?

  • Security Threat

May of the USBs/flash drives have encryption loopholes which leave them prone to data exposure as compared to other forms of media storage.

  • Easy to Lose

As much advantage as their compact size gives us, equal disadvantages also come associated with their very size and style. Their tiny size makes them easy to lose and putting the data at risk.

  • The Style

The style of a USB or a flash drive has a retractable design that leaves them exposed to danger. This design also results in the wear and tear of the extended metal leaving the USB useless.

How Long Does an External Hard Drive Last?

It lasts for around 3-5 years. This durability depends on many factors like the quality of the hard drive, make, and model. Brands also play an important role in durability. However, in case of physical damage, this durability comes down by a significant level. However, despite being in good condition also, it is advisable to replace the hard drives every couple of years to protect the data.

What If the External Hard Drive Fails?

An external hard drive fails because of many factors. They could be read/write failure or internal defects. In such cases, the hard drive needs to be repaired before any data transfer is attempted.

Can I Use a USB Stick as an External Hard Drive?

Yes, you can use a USB stick as an external hard drive, provided the USB is connected with the laptop. With the help of a USB, you can perform all functions that an external hard drive does like saving, downloading, and deleting.

What is the Best External Hard Drive?

An external hard drive that is secure, speedy, efficient, sturdy, and ergonomic is the best. Toshiba Canvio Basics is one of the best of the lot that comes with a massive memory of 1 TB with exceptional compatibility and a secure back-up mechanism.


With most of the professional and personal lives revolving around digital and electronic media, having a good hard drive in place is important. It can store massive data keeping them safe and secure, not to forget it can be carried everywhere with you. Its versatile features and ergonomic design make external hard drives as one of the best back-ups to go for as far as data is concerned. Bestviewsreviews reviews some of the best products based on their durability, performance, and quality.

Rank #1 in External Hard Drives

WD 4TB Gaming Drive Works with Playstation 4 Portable External Hard Drive

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Rank #2 in External Hard Drives

Toshiba HDTB410XK3AA Canvio Basics 1TB Portable External Hard Drive

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Rank #3 in External Hard Drives

WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive

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