External Hard Drive Care and Feeding

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How to connect and care for an external hard drive.

 

Why external hard drives?

The typical user's data backup needs have increased dramatically in recent years. Though it used to be practical to back up all one's important documents on the school's file servers, now students and teachers have large music and photo collections that we cannot accommodate on our network. We are piloting the use of external hard drives with the incoming ninth grade class with the expectation that it will become easier to regularly back up one's files to a device that is fast, located at home, and larger than your computer's internal hard drive. External hard drives are best used along with a backup software utility such TimeMachine (Mac) or Windows Backup.

Power
Connect the two pieces of the power adapter together, and connect one end to the computer, as pictured. Turn the power switch to the on (|) position.

Data Cable

The drive comes with three data cables. Usually, only one will work with your computer.

Macintosh users should use the Firewire cable, which has a fat, notched termination at each end.

Thinkpad users should connect with the USB cable (picture needed).

Care and feeding

External hard drives, like other computer equipment, are sensitive devices containing a circuit board and delicate, spinning magnetic surface to store the data. Be sure to keep your drive somewhere protected from theft, extreme heat or cold, dropping, and bumping. Always keep two copies of information you wish not to lose, for example, one copy on your laptop computer and one on your external hard drive.