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How to Use an External Hard Drive?

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Jan 15, 2024 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

If we compare Hard drive to what it was a few years ago, we may find a variety of changes that are to our benefit. The most common and easy way to extend the life of any computer, which is running out of space, is by installing an external or internal Hard Disk. To add more Hard drive storage space to your system, simply plug in the External Hard drive. The major function is to store programs and files and act as secondary storage to your computer. To add videos, digital photographs, music, and other important text documents, you'll require a Hard drive with ample space. In this article, to help you install an external hard drive, we will tell you how to use an external hard drive on Windows and Mac. So you won't have any trouble with it.


How to Use an External Hard Drive on Windows?

As a secondary hard disk space, external hard drives are considered to be one of the most portable devices that store data and frees up a humongous amount of space in your system. Here are the few steps that'll help you to attach and fetch data from your external hard drive to your PC if you are working on Windows:

Connect the external hard drive: If you are using a hard disk for the first time, it is advisable to read the manual provided. Though there isn't any different way to use a particular hard disk, you must be familiar with the settings and configuration. Almost all the external hard drives are plug-and-play; all the user needs to do is to plug it in the USB socket through the cable and turn it on. However, in some cases, you'll have to install drivers that are required to run a particular software package. You can easily find these details and the latest update on the programs on the manufacturer's website. But what if it still doesn't work? Look for troubleshooting tips on how to fix a secondary hard drive not showing up.

How to use an External hard Drive on Windows-Connect the external hard drive

Hard drive as a primary partition: As soon as you connect the external hard drive to your PC, the system will recognize it. The basic input/output system will detect the new device immediately. If you are planning to use the hard disk as a primary partition in Windows, make sure that you install Windows on the disk. To get more information, search Help and Support for "Installing and Reinstalling Windows"?.

How To Use An External Hard Drive on Windows-Hard drive as a primary partition

Installation for Windows: For the installation of a hard drive in Windows, click on the Start button; click Computer, where you can easily detect your hard drive. However, if you can't find it on Computer, attempt the following steps to improvise your search:

  1. Click on the Start button, click Control Panel, and choose System and Security, then click Administrative Tools and double-clicking on Computer Management. However, if you are prompted for any kind of system password, type the password and get confirmation.
  2. Click on Disk Management under Storage to look for the new hard drive.

How To Use An External Hard Drive on Windows-Installation for Windows

There are possibilities that you might have to format the hard drive before you can use it. In case your system is unable to detect the new device attached, cross-check with the user manual provided with the external hard drive.

How to Use an External Hard Drive on Mac?

When you attach your external hard drive to Mac, it should be ready to use. However, you might want to take some precautionary steps before mounting your drive for expected results. There are certain things that you'll have to keep in account, such as the drive you are using is pre-formatted to FAT32 since it is readable and writable on both Windows and OS X systems. This way, the drive can work on multiple platforms without being interrupted. A disadvantage that has been seen in FAT32 drives is that with the Master Boot Record partition scheme, this device is not capable of working with Apple's Core Storage routines, not allowing OS-supported encryption of the external hard drive.

  1. Connect your Hard Drive to the system. Generally, the Hard Disk comes with a USB Cable, Firewire, and in some instances, both. Plug the cable available in the compatible slots of your hard drive and system.

    How To Use An External Hard Drive-Connect Hard Drive to the system

  2. Move on to the disk utility option by searching the top right corner of the screen.

    How To Use an External Hard Drive on Mac-Move on to the disk utility option

  3. You'll be able to locate the hard drive on the left part of the interface. Find the name of your Hard Drive and click on it.

    How To Use an External Hard Drive on Mac

  4. You are now supposed to click on the Erase tab. Wait for the Volume format drop-down list to appear.

    How To Use an External Hard Drive on Mac-locate the hard drive

  5. Go ahead and choose the format of your Hard Disk Drive. If you are using the Hard Disk only for Mac, then you must select Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

    How To Use an External Hard Drive on Mac-format of your Hard Disk Drive

  6. Click on Erase, complete the formatting, and get set to read and write data on your Hard Disk Drive.

Part 3: How to Maintain External Hard Drive

Using and maintaining the hard drive are two different approaches. External hard drives are easy to use, but it becomes a particular task to maintain them. Typically, magnetic hard drives are supposed to be placed horizontally. Other than that, maintenance of their cable is also one of the few things that must be kept in mind. Here are a few things that will be useful for you to use your external hard drive effectively:

  1. Figure out what you need to purchase: Choose a Hard Drive according to your requirements. There is no point in buying something that'll be of no use later. List your needs before making a purchase.
  2. Backing up the data: Your data isn't backed up until it is not stored in more than one location. A backup can easily be created by the drag and drop option or with a simple copy-paste method. Another way is to use copy software that will copy the file to the directed destination after the setup has been completed. The use of automatic backup is also highly recommended.
  3. Hard Drive Security: Encrypting file information is a good option, but many smart hackers can access your file. Make sure that you maintain the security of your hard drives with passwords and other security files that'll encrypt the critical data on the hard drive.

One needs to know how to use an external hard drive as proper maintenance and installation help in the sustainability of the Hard Disk. To begin with, one can consult their manuals or simply follow the instructions given above on how to use an external hard drive effectively.

Part 4: How to Recover Lost Files from External Hard Drive?

If you lost data on your external hard drive, unfortunately, don't worry! You still have the chance to get lost data back. To recover files from external hard drives, you can have tried the following tool.

Best External Hard Drive

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What is the best format for an external hard drive Mac and PC?

ExFAT is the best format for the external hard drives in PC as well as Mac. This is because it allows you to save files irrespective of the file.

Can I use WD Passport for both Mac and PC?

Yes, you can use a WD passport on Mac and PC. In addition, it will allow you to write and read the files.

How do I convert my passport for Mac to Windows?

First of all, switch on the map and look for the external hard drive button. Then, choose the WD password and rename it. Now, pick the passport a second time and choose the exFAT format. As a result, you will be able to use the WD passport on Mac and Windows.

Is there a hard drive that works with Mac and PC?

There is no one hard drive that can work with PC and Mac because they use NTFS and HFS, respectively. However, you can format them with an exFAT filesystem for making them work.

Can I use an external SSD as a boot drive?

Yes, you can boot the external SSD on the Mac or Windows system. This is actually a reliable yet simple method for upgrading the system.

Recoverit author

Theo Lucia

chief Editor

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