A portable external hard drive is an essential investment to ensure that your precious files are safe, since you can easily restore them if you back them up. In addition, you can use your external hard drive to supplement the hard drive in your computer or laptop. For example, you can back up your Wii games to an external drive, and then play them from there; this will not only preserve your disks but also speed up loading times. You can also store your iTunes library on your external drive if your hard drive capacity is close to full.

Unfortunately, a portable storage device can also be damaged easily if you don’t handle them properly.

Here are some tips for maintaining your portable external hard drive.

1. Test the drive before you start transferring files onto it. Run a diagnostic test on the external drive using utilities designed for the purpose to check for problems such as excessive bad sectors that will affect its performance. Alternately, you can use Disk Utility to remap the drive, which will erase any data on the drive as well as mapping out bad sectors that cannot be overwritten with zeros. Doing this is not only a good way to ensure that you are starting with a clean drive but also help identify if it has too many bad sectors.

2. Always eject the drive before you unplug it from your computer. Doing this ensures that any data that are still stored in the cache memory will be removed, preventing existing data on the disk from being damaged.

3. Treat your hard drive with care. Just because a portable hard drive can be carried around in a pocket does not mean that we should treat it carelessly. If you carry around your hard disk, keep it in a place where it will not be banged around or treated roughly. You should also avoid getting your hard drive wet or exposing it to liquid.

4. Place the hard disk on a stable, flat, hard surface. Since the hard disk is a mechanical device, it can be damaged by vibrations. You should also make sure that there is no risk that the hard drive will fall off the table or other surface where it is placed to avoid damage to it.

5. Make sure that the disk is not placed in a restrictive area where there is no air flow. Like the internal hard disk in your computer, the external hard drive also gets hot and thus needs to dissipate the buildup of heat to avoid overheating, which can damage the disk

6. Finally, as much as possible, back up your backup drive. External drives fail as much as hard drives, and so to ensure that your precious files are protected, you will need to have a secondary external drive. Apple’s Time Machine on Macs supports backing up external drives, or you can invest in utilities that are specially designed for this purpose, which will create exact duplicates of your portable drive and can be set to make backups automatically. 


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