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4 reason to own an external hard drive

It’s a sinking feeling in
the pit of your stomach when your computer is unresponsive – no matter what you
do. It typically occurs before a 4-H record book deadline or tax appointment.

If it has ever happened, you
probably always back up your files without fail.

Or maybe not.

“People don’t back up,” says
Peg Brune, AgTrax Consulting. “The technology is there, but many people don’t
use it.”

Brune, who farms near Dodge,
Nebraska, relies on data storage for her farm records and her consulting
business.

“Old data can be very useful
for analysis and, of course, you need it to comply with legal requirements,”
she says.

An external hard drive is
the best option. When multiple family members share a computer, files can be
discarded or lost. An external hard drive is a device connected by means of a
high-speed interface cable, such as a USB or FireWire.

“If you’ve ever used a
memory stick, an external hard drive works in the same way, except it stores
more data and it’s not as prone to freezing up,” Brune says. “There’s no software
installation. When you’re not using it, unplug it to protect against possible
lightning strikes and computer viruses.”

Here are four reasons you
should invest in an external hard drive for your computer.

1. It’s Portable.

“An external hard drive is
portable,” Brune says. “Once you copy files on your hard drive, you can take it
anywhere and plug it into another computer.

“I put software on my hard
drive and take it to my clients’ homes, plug it into their computers, and pull
it up. You can take it to a tax appointment.”

An external hard drive makes
it easy to transfer data between computers that aren’t networked. “You also can
buy a Wi-Fi external hard drive,” Brune says. “If you use laptops, it’s like
being networked.”

2. It Handles Huge Files.

Multimedia storage is
increasingly taking up huge amounts of space on computer hard drives. If you
only store documents, e-mails, and other small files, a 20GB capacity may be
adequate. If you plan to store movies, video, or large music files, buy at least
100GB.

3. It Keeps Computer Speedy.

If you download a lot and
store huge files, an external hard drive can save your computer from becoming
sluggish. It’s a good habit to set up storage elsewhere.

4. It’s Affordable.

Brune bought a hard drive
with 64MB in 2001 for $100 ($1.56 per MB). “I was in heaven because I was using
five floppy discs,” she says. This year, she bought a hard drive with 1.5TB
(1,500GB) for $119. “It’s less than 1¢ per 100MB,” she says. 

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