Everyone has heard tales of a computer suddenly switching off, the owner finding out the files on the machine inaccessible, the techie asking them how they backed up their files, the owner experiencing waves of panic because they never thought to. This particular horror story has been making the rounds as Australian teachers start preparing for our upcoming second semester reports.
An external hard drive can minimise the risk of you losing your files, while providing storage to allow your computer to run faster.
There are many different solutions for the amount of data that you wish to store, the average price for 1TB is around $80-$100aud. The average size of a Microsoft word document is roughly 321kb, meaning I can store 3345000 word documents on there. As the resident film-maker for 1/2, I have iMovie files, folders of voice overs and film clips that I no longer need to be immediately accessible. If I buy 1TB, it means I can store roughly 1,310 feature-length movies.
There are also different kinds of external hard drives, such as USB, desktop, portable, even ones you can attach to your router that automatically back up your files. There are also varying levels of security, if you wish to make sure others do not access your documents.
If you are not sure you need one, the questions to ask yourself are:
Do you access and use all the files you currently have on your computer, or are most simply being stored? Popping them on an external hard drive will allow you to access them when you need, and help your computer to run faster.
Would you be ok if the entire contents of your computer were erased? External hard drives are certainly something to consider, to back your documents up.