How to Install An External Hard Drive

How To Install An External Hard Drive To A PC, Laptop or Mac

Are you running out of space on your computer? Or do you want to back up your files to an external Hard Disk Drive (HDD) as a backup? This article provides you with all the information that you need on how to install an external hard drive whether you have a PC, Laptop or Apple Mac.

How to Install An External Hard Drive To Apple Mac Computers

Whilst the information written below is around a Windows-based computer, the same applies to an Apple-based computer. Apple doesn’t call the internal Hard Disk Drive C: or D: etc, but using Finder an external drive will show up on the left-hand side. Again, don’t forget to eject it correctly when finished. You do this by clicking on the “eject icon” by the side of your external drive or the key on the keyboard which is in the far upper right. This looks like an arrow pointing up with a line underneath it.

Extra Storage With An External Hard Drive 

If you need more space than your computer offers, you can get an external hard drive. External hard drives are also known as a portable hard drive for obvious reasons. With an external hard drive, you can plug it into your PC, Mac or laptop to access the data you’ve stored whenever you need.

Decide What Kind Of Portable Drive You Want

Compatible with any computer, portable USB drives live inside their own little cases, and they plug into any available USB port. Many people call portable drives “external drives.” They can be plugged into Windows computers, Apple Mac computers or even your TV.

Figure Out What Features You Need And Are Willing To Pay For

The higher the capacity of an external hard drive, the more information a drive can store. This also, however, raises the price. Access or seek time measures the amount of time the drive takes to locate stored files, measured in milliseconds (ms). DTR (data transfer rate) measures how quickly your computer can transfer the files after it finds them. Your drive stashes recently accessed information in a special, extra-speedy spot called a cache, where it can dish it out quickly if you need it again.

The faster an external HDD spins the faster data can be read from or written to that device. Many HDD’s use 5400 rpm (revs per minute) but the more expensive use 7200 rpm drives and they can be up to 24% faster.

Before Settling On A Particular Make And Model Of Drive, Read That Drive’s Customer Reviews On Sites On The Internet

Sometimes it’s a good idea to trade some speed or capacity for reliability.

Find The Size Of Your Windows Drive

This is also referred to as your C: partition. You need to choose Start, then Choose Computer and then look at the number beneath your C: drive’s icon.

A partition is simply a sectioned-off portion of a hard drive. A hard drive can have one partition that fills the entire drive. A drive can also be divided into several separate partitions. Each partition has a different letter. So buy a portable hard drive at least as large as your C: partition.

For example, if your C partition is 500GB, buy a hard drive of at least 1TB. These days it would be nearly impossible to buy a 500GB external drive unless it was very old stock as most external drives are 1TB minimum with many now being 2TB.

Steps On How To Install A External Hard Drive

Plug The Portable Hard Drive Into Its Power Adapter, If Needed

Some portable hard drives don’t require any power – usually 2.5” drives. Others (3.5” drives) require a power adapter connected between the drive and an outlet.

Plug The Portable Drive’s USB Cable Into Both Your Computer And The Drive Itself

The cable’s large plug fits into your computer’s or laptop’s USB port. Then the small end fits into the drive’s own, smaller USB port. When the drive is connected and spinning DO NOT touch it or move it. If you do move it or bash it then the very delicate mechanisms inside can be damaged. This can mean the loss of your data and your external drive – if this does happen you can contact us about our data recovery service. Dropping these devices only a few inches can usually render them useless and dead.

Double-Click The New Drive’s Icon In Computer To See The Drive’s Contents

After you open its window in Computer, you can start copying or moving files to and fro, just like with any other drive.

After You Have Finished Copying Files

Don’t forget to eject the external hard drive, don’t just unplug it as this can damage the drive and the files contained therein.

Affordable Computer Repairs and Service

If after reading this blog on how to install an external hard drive you still are experiencing problems, please send us at Affordable Computer Repairs in Brisbane an email ( and we will send you back some more advice. Or alternatively, call us on 3397 1215 or 0409 974 707.

how to install an external hard drive