External Hard Disk: What Is It and Its Features [MiniTool Wiki]

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Basic Information of an External Hard Disk

an external hard diak

An external hard disk is just a hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD) that needs to be connected to the computer rather than being inside the computer. External hard disks are sometimes referred to as portable hard drives or mobile hard drives.

The vast majority of mobile hard drives in the market are based on standard hard drives, and there is a small number of micro-hard drives (1.8-inch hard drives, etc.), but price factors determine that the mainstream mobile hard drives are based on standard hard drives.

One way to think about an external hard drive is as if it were a normal internal hard drive that has been removed, overlaid in its own protective sleeve and plugged into the computer from outside.

External hard drives have different storage capacities, but they can be connected to the computer via USB, FireWire, or wirelessly.

When you are using external hard drive, you may encounter different kinds of issues, like external hard drive not workingexternal hard drive keeps disconnecting, and more. Don’t worry. You can firstly use a free files recovery tool to retrieve your data to a safe place, and then take measures to fix the issues.

Main Usage of External Hard Disk

The external hard disk is mainly used for backing up data and expanding the capacity of your computer when you think that important data in your computer needs backup (such as movies, music files, e-books, applications, etc.) or the internal hard disk is not big enough.

The external hard disk is very convenient for backing up data compared with the burning of CD/DVD, and is way larger than the capacity of a USB flash drive, so now the external hard disk is basically the standard equipment of an advanced computer user.

Related article: WD External Hard Drive Data Recovery Is Easy Enough

Features of External Hard Disk

Now you know what an external hard disk is. If you want to buy one, you should know more about it. We will list some of its features below.

an external hard disk is connected to a computer

Large capacity with small size

Mobile hard drives can provide considerable storage capacity. They are a more cost-effective mobile storage product. In the case that the large-capacity "flash drive" price is only initially accepted by the user; the mobile hard drive can provide the user with a larger storage capacity and a good convenience within a price range acceptable to the user.

External hard disks in the market provide 320GB, 500GB, 600G, 640GB, 900GB, 1000GB (1TB), 1.5TB, 2TB, 2.5TB, 3TB, 3.5TB, 4TB, etc., up to 12TB capacity. It can be said that it is the upgraded version of a USB flash drive and is widely accepted by the public.

The size of the mobile hard disk (box) is divided into 1.8 inches, 2.5 inches and 3.5 inches.

1.8-inch external hard disk drives mostly provide 10GB, 20GB, 40GB, 60GB, 80GB; 2.5-inch external hard disks provide 500GB, 750GB, 1TB, 2TB capacity; 3.5-inch external hard drives are available in 500GB, 640GB, 750GB, 1TB, 1.5TB, 2TB, 4TB, 6TB and even 8TB capacity.

With the development of technology, mobile hard disks will become larger in capacity and smaller in size.

High data transmission speed

Portable hard drives mostly use USB, IEEE1394, eSATA interfaces, which can provide high data transmission speed. However, the data transmission speed of the portable hard drives is limited to the interface speed to a certain extent.

For example, if the portable hard drive is using USB1.1 interface, the user's patience will be tested when transmitting a large amount of data. It will be relatively better when the external hard disks are using USB2.0, IEEE1394, and eSATA interface. The USB2.0 interface transfer rate is 60MB/s, the USB3.0 interface transfer rate is 625MB/s, and the IEEE1394 interface transfer rate is 50~100MB/s.

When the external hard disk exchanges data with the computer, it takes only a few minutes to read a large file of GB level, which makes it especially suitable for the storage and exchange of video and audio data.

Easy to use

The external hard disk with USB interface is the mainstream at present. The mainstream PCs are basically equipped with USB functions. The motherboard usually provides 2 to 8 USB ports. Some monitors also provide USB adapters. The USB interface has become a must-have interface in personal computers.

You do not need to install USB devices drivers in most versions of the Windows operating system (except Windows 98). It really has a “plug-and-play” feature that is flexible and easy to use.

However, large-capacity external hard disks such as 160G or more have a speed of up to 7,200 rpm (5,400 rpm for notebooks), so the external power supply is required (USB power supply is insufficient). This limits the portability of the hard disk to some extent.

Reliability improvement

Data security has always been a major concern for mobile storage users, and an important criterion for measuring the performance of such products. External hard disks have won the favor of many users not only with the advantages of high speed, large capacity, lightweight and convenience, but also the security and reliability.

External hard disks are similar in structure to internal hard disks which are mostly made of silicon opaque discs. This is a more rugged disc material than aluminum and magnetic, with greater storage and better reliability for improved data integrity.

The use of silicon-based disk drives, featuring a smoother disk surface, effectively reduces the number of irregular disks that may affect data reliability and integrity. In addition, it also has the anti-shock function. When the violent vibration occurs, the disc automatically stops and the head is reset to the safe area, which can effectively prevent the disc from being damaged.

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