When it comes to keeping all the data on your computer safe and secure, you need to be backing your data up. Having you data on your computer in folders neatly is going to do nothing for you if your hard drive goes bad. Take it from me, when a hard drive does go bad often the first hint you get is the blue screen of death.
Not backing up your files, photos and other content can easily result in the loss of all your important things. For instance if you take all your photos on a digital camera and archive them on your computer, one crash can mean all of those irreplaceable family photos are just gone. If you have lots of important business documents and files, you can lose them all as well.
Typically, when you buy an external HDD it will be a USB drive that plugs into a port on your computer. You may be able to use USB 3.0 if your computer is newer. There may also be other ports available for external storage like eSATA as well. If the external HDD is designed for backing up data, it will typically come with software for backups. The first time the software will generally back up everything from photos and documents to your email. After that, it will only back up files that have changed so the backup doesn't take as long.
When you are shopping for an external HDD, you will want to buy one that has the most storage capacity you can afford. You don't want to buy an external storage device and then have it run out of storage space in a few months. Be sure that the drive you buy supports your computer be it Mac or Windows or be prepared to reformat the drive to support your machine. You will also want to be sure that the HDD comes with the cables you need to use it. Read on for some of my picks of the best external HDDs around.
1. Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 3.0/2.0 Ultra Portable External Hard Drive - This external storage device will work with USB 3.0 ports and USB 2.0 ports. It has 1TB of storage space for plenty of space. It also has automatic continuous backup software installed so you never miss a file even if your computer crashes during the day you are working. The HDD is also encrypted and password protected as well. You can pick this portable HDD up for about $106.
2. Western Digital WD Elements 2 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive - This HDD isn't portable for use on the go like the first one on my list, it is designed for use at your desk. It has 2TB of storage space and sells for under $100. It connects to USB 2.0 ports and will turn on and off with your computer. Western Digital doesn't specify if the HDD comes with software for backing data up or not.
3. Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1 TB USB 2.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive STAA1000100 - This HDD sells for about $99 and is designed for portability and storage capacity with 1TB of storage inside. The drive can be updated to USB 3.0 and comes with USB 2.0 connectivity. It comes with pre-loaded backup software and encrypts the data it backs up. This drive will also allow you to get content over a network from the drive.
4. Buffalo Technology MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive HD -PCT500U2/B (Black) - This portable HDD has 500GB of storage and connects via USB 2.0. it gets the power it needs to operate from the USB port for on the go access and backups. The drive will work for Windows and Mac computers and it comes with software for backing up your data and more.
5.Iomega eGo 2 TB USB 2.0 FireWire 800 Desktop External Hard Drive Mac Edition - This HDD is pre-formatted just for Mac users, Windows users should be able to use the HDD if they reformat to a Windows file system. The HDD sells for about $150 and has 2TB of storage space. This drive has the common Mac connectivity option with dual FireWire 800 ports and will connect to USB 2.0 as well. It also comes with software for backing your data up that works on Macs.