The lowdown on external removable hard drives

What are they? External removable hard drive enclosures are equivalent to a PC's original drive and can be plugged directly into the computer, requiring little or no effort to set up.

When do I need an external drive enclosure? Whenever your storage requirements exceed the limits of other storage peripherals, such as tape drives, or rewritable CD and DVD disks. Hard drives are also faster and more dependable than tape systems.

How do external drive enclosures differ from external hard drives? Generally, external hard drives are preloaded at the factory with different types and sized of drives. The enclosures provide an extra amount of flexibility to users by allowing them to select and install their own drives.

How much do they cost? Good removable hard drive enclosures in portable or desktop format usually cost less than $100. And since you can select your own drives, they provide considerable storage flexibility as well.

Must-know info? While the manufacturers of removable hard drive enclosures are hardly industry icons, they will become more recognizable as time goes by. Purchasing your model online from a manufacturer is a good idea because it gives you the opportunity to view the wide selection of drives and interfaces that are available.

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