Lesson and help with external hard drives

  littlestan 14:51 13 Sep 2008

hi - i have a lappy with vista. My daugther does too but she has now bought an external hard drive to help, she says, with its memory and to store her really vast music selection. I have asked her to show me how and why a hard drive would be equally useful to me (i have lots pics and music also) and wonder if it would also be useful to me longterm with the lappy memory. My lappy is fairly basic and nothing singing and dancing - but ok for my use.

Typical teenager clears off and sighs and grunts when i ask for a lesson - so i turn to more reliable sources and hope you can give me an easy speak lesson (and costings) on the benefits of an external hard drive and how to set it up and use it! or even a bit of literature so i can read up about it. Some stuff if a bit beyond me when it gets technical. Sounds basic but I am! If purchasing this piece of kit does help the memory then please can you point me in the right direction. thanks as always in anticipation of some good sound and more helpful assistance. x

  crosstrainer 15:01 13 Sep 2008

An external HDD is very easy to setup and use. It's invaluable for backing up those precious music and picture files, as well as your Windows configuration.

First things first: Does your Laptop have a USB port (most do) ?

If yes, then it's really down to the size of drive you want.... A few ideas:

click here

To setup the drive, you simply plug in the usb cable to your laptop, then plug in the mains adaptor and switch on.

Windows should recognise the drive, and you can format it (more on this later) if required, although most come ready to go.

Once recognised, you can simply use it as you would the drive on your laptop....Create folders, drag your pictures, music and documents over to the new device.

That's the basics! The site I posted is a tried and tested one used by many here, but there are plenty of other suppliers around.

  €dstowe 15:10 13 Sep 2008

A couple of points: most external drives are formatted in FAT32 which has a maximum file size of 4GB - which is plenty for most uses but if you are working with big video files, you may want to reformat in NTFS (assuming you are on XP or Vista).

Another very important thing is NEVER unplug the drive when there is even the slightest possibility that it may be doing something. Always use the "Safely Remove Hardware" button that sits in the Sys tray (bottom right of the screen). Failure to do this can easily result in a dead drive of a dead USB connection. You might tell your daughter about this as well.

As for the usefulness, I wouldn't be able to manage without them either for my personal or business use.

  crosstrainer 15:13 13 Sep 2008

That's why I left the format issue until later :)) NTFS is the way to go, but left that bit out so as not to make things seem more complex than they are.

  EARLR 17:04 13 Sep 2008

The Better.

Get as large as You can. You will find that it fills up quickly.

Good Luck

  littlestan 17:22 13 Sep 2008

many thanks people - dependable as always. I guess i can store all my itunes library on it and not worry if i have a bit of a hiccup and then just copy the lot back over again! (i think!) - i will invest in one as i back up music onto discs at the moment but am guessing this will do the job for me and more??
SO grateful to you for your 'click heres' and advice which is more than can be said for the offspring xx

  crosstrainer 17:51 13 Sep 2008

Thanks for the feedback, bear offsprings lack of support next time aforementioned "needs" something :))

  woodchip 18:09 13 Sep 2008

One thing you should not do with a External Drive, is Remove it by just pulling the USB out, Make sure that drive is not been written to, and also try using the Safely remove icon in the System Tray I think it will have a Green arrow

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