External drives are usually associated with file storage, but did you know there’s way more you can do with them? Check out ways on how to maximize your external drive in this post.
9 Unique Ways to Use External Drives Beyond File Storage
External Drive Definition: Also known as an external hard disk or portable hard drive, this is a storage device that is connected to a computer using a USB cable. It’s called “external” because it functions outside the computer as opposed to an internal hard drive, which is integrated into the computer.
1. Store Backup Files to a Local USB Drive
One of the most common ways to use an external drive is as storage to back up your digital data. If you don’t really trust cloud storage and prefer a physical device to keep your files in, use external drives instead.
External drives also help you safeguard your data while still managing to be locally connected. You can have your external drive plugged in constantly to serve as local storage of backup files.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket — try not to keep your important files in only one storage.
Having a local backup can help save you from the potential heartache of losing all of your original files from a virus or data corruption. Plus, unlike cloud storage, you don’t have to pay continuous costs just to store your backups.
This can even make data backups more convenient. Just look for a program compatible with your operating system that can automatically back up your computer’s data on an external drive.
2. Memory Archive for Digital Data
If you’re running out of storage space on your PC, maybe it’s time to let go of the nostalgic data we keep in there. All’s not lost though with an external drive.
Maybe you kept old photos or old work documents that you no longer have an immediate use for. You can use external drives to serve as an archive for your digital memories.
Just because we’re moving into modernity doesn’t mean we can’t be a little sentimental. External drives are the new and modern equivalent of the wallet you keep old tickets and photobooth pictures in.
Tip: You can organize different external drives by year. Label each hard drive depending on the year the files you’re storing are relevant to.
3. Play Games Anywhere
Sometimes you may find yourself in situations where you have more free time than anticipated. This is when games can come in handy, but what do you do if you don’t have your laptop or PC with you?
This is where external drives can come in to save the day and take the boredom away.
With an external drive, you can play your games anywhere you want as long as you have it. Just plug it into a computer and start playing.
Note however that the game’s performance may be affected when you execute it through an external drive. However, a drive with USB 3.0 should allow you to perform at a reasonable enough rate.
4. Easily Share Data to Others
Make use of your wireless router’s USB ports to share files with people on your network. Just plug in your external drives to let them access your external drive’s contents.
Instead of going from laptop to laptop for data transfer, you can do this instead. It’s a quicker and more convenient way of sharing your files.
An added benefit to sharing data via wireless connections is that you don’t have to deal with people who say they don’t have viruses on their computer… then you end up with an infected USB drive later on.
5. Expand Your Internal Memory
Aside from using external drives as local backups, you can use them as an extension or expansion of your internal storage. If you’re running out of room to place files that are still in active use, this is an alternate solution.
Plus, if you feel that external hard disk is running out of space again, there is a simple solution. All you have to do is add another external drive.
If you don’t want to carry around several bulky external drives, you can supplement them with USB drives.
6. Use as a Scratch Disk
A scratch disk is a drive that temporarily stores the data you need at the moment. Lots of programs make use of this, such as graphics editor Adobe Photoshop.
If you often use software that requires a scratch disk, you definitely consider external drives, which can be used for such a purpose. In this way, you could spare valuable local storage for files you’ll always need instead of wasting space on temporary needs.
7. Export iTunes Libraries
iTunes users can back up and export iTunes libraries on an external drive. It’s a fast way of transferring your music and preserving your playlists.
Not sure how to do it? Don’t fret because Apple has a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this.
8. Back Up Servers
When you need to recover lost data, local servers are where they are kept. But, what if servers themselves are compromised?
To be on the safe side, backing up the servers themselves is a good idea.
Keep the backed up server’s data at different locations as an added precaution. These storage drives will serve as your back up’s back up and is the best Plan C you can have.
However, note that different operating systems have different steps to back up a server on a hard drive. Check your OS first and find out what you need to do to back up your server.
9. Convert External Drives to Internal Ones
Depending on the physical and internal of your flash drive, you can use external drives as internal hard drives instead.
This actually makes a lot of sense if you’re using an external drive locally anyway. You might as well integrate it in your hardware to make it work faster and smoother.
Although it requires a little bit of tinkering and will probably void the manufacturer’s warranty, it’s still a pretty nifty trick and a convenient way of adding storage.
External hard disks have a lot of uses aside from being a file storage device. They can be used to transfer, preserve, and safeguard your files as well.
We hope this list has given you great ideas and a head start into figuring out what else to do with your external drives. Aside from the ideas mentioned on this list, you can probably come up with more ways of maximizing your external drive depending on your needs and computer usage.
Do you have any other ways to use external drives that maybe we haven’t covered? Share your awesome ideas with us in the comments section below!
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