A USB external hard drive is an excellent way to store or backup digital scrapbooking projects.
These types of hard drives are essentially the same type of drive that exists in a desktop computer. However, instead of the hard drive unit being inside of a computer desktop or laptop case, it is in a smaller but well protected case, which makes it very portable and convenient to use. An external computer hard drive connects to the main computer via a couple of different types of connections or interfaces.
A USB external hard drive uses a USB connection. USB stands for Universal Serial Bus and this interface works quite well in many types of applications. Firewire is another type of interface that is available with external hard drives. Depending on what interface your computer has (most new computers nowadays have both), either a USB external hard drive or a Firewire external hard drive are usable.
The use of external hard drives is simple. Using the appropriate cable, the external computer hard drive connects to the corresponding port in the computer. The computer recognizes the device and, in most cases, has the necessary drivers already installed on the computer. If not, easy installation of the missing components occurs via the software disc that accompanies the external drive or the hard disk drive manufacturer’s website. Once the computer recognizes the external hard drive and the connection established, the USB or Firewire external hard drive shows up in Windows Explorer as another drive labeled with a letter such as E, F, etc.
External hard drives can be purchased with rather high capacities and their cost makes this method of storage very economical. Do not use external drives to store the only version of a digital scrapbooking project, the only copy of digital photographs, or the only copy of other important computer files. Instead, it is best to use an external hard drive as a backup system for your main computer. Combining this type of storage with storage on stable optical disc media would provide three copies of your digital files:
Storage of copies in different locations is best, preferably offsite, but at least in different areas of the same building.
Note it is best to perform backups of the main computer on a regular basis to avoid losing files from hard drive failure, virus attacks, etc. In addition, like internal hard drives, external hard drives using USB or firewire external hard drives are not permanent storage media. These can fail suddenly like internal hard drives can. At least once a year, hard drives should be checked or monitored, especially if the drive sits on a shelf and not used regularly. Replacement of external drives should occur approximately every five years.