External storage

Updated: 05/04/2019 by Computer Hope

More commonly referred to as an external drive, external storage is storage that is not part of the computer. Examples of external storage are floppy disk drives, hard drives, tape drives, etc. The picture is an example of a Drobo and an example of a popular external storage solution.

Why is external storage used?

  • External storage is an easy way to add additional storage or options to your computer without having to open the computer.
  • With an external hard drive, you can store a lot of data for backup or move to another computer.
  • An external disc drive can allow a computer without a disc drive to read CDs, DVD's, or other discs.
  • Devices like the Drobo can give your computer additional features such as RAID that can help keep your data protected.

How do you access external storage?

Once connected, external storage is treated the same as internal storage (e.g., your hard drive) on your computer. For example, if you're connecting a USB thumb drive to a computer, it will appear as a new drive letter in Explorer. If the next available drive letter was F:, the F: drive should appear in Explorer. Once visible, you can double-click the drive letter to open and browse the files on the thumb drive.

For external storage devices that have not yet been formatted (e.g., new external hard drive), you must first set up the drive before it is accessible on the computer.

Enclosure, Hard drive terms