Tuesday Tip: Purchasing External Drives

Let me paint a picture you might be somewhat familiar with: You bought a computer a few months ago and since then you’ve gotten pretty good at things like creating gigantic Photoshop files, editing HD video or creating big sound files for various reasons. The result? Your hard drive is running out of space and running out fast. The easy solution is to simply start deleting things to free up space for your next project, but this isn’t always the best solution especially if you think you’ll have to revisit the files one day.

The more suitable (but equally simple) solution is to purchase an external drive to store all of your files in case something bad happens. Over the past few years, external drives have become increasingly easy to find (I found one at Costco the other day) but at the same time, have become more difficult to choose.

The first thing you should think about when deciding on an external drive is what kind of files you would like to store. If you’re a video editor who stores hours of HD goodness in raw format, then you should probably look at something with an external power source. This will allow you to access your files in a more efficient manner.

The next thing you should look into is how much space you’ll actually need. Tera-bytes are flying off the shelf like packs of gum these days but not everyone needs such a hulking drive to store all of their information. If you’re looking to store things like word documents or spreadsheets, then going with a smaller drive might be sufficient.

Finally, decide on why you want to store your files. If you’re someone who needs to take large files on the go, then look into something like a Passport rather than a huge drive. You don’t want to be adding a massive TB hard drive to things to remember when you leave the house every day.

Western Digital, Apricorn, LaCie and Seagate are three of the names you probably want to be looking for as well. Their user reviews are significantly better than most of the other products out there.