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External hard drive in addition to laptop?

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katreeen | 21:18 Sun 03rd Sep 2006 | Technology
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I'm looking to buy a laptop to go to university with and want to load all my music/videos onto it. I can't really afford a top notch notebook with a huge hard drive so I'm looking at the 80gb+ mark but this seems to push the price up considerably compared to, say, 40 or 60gb hard drives.

Is it worth getting an external hard drive to store all my media on, or is it better to get a laptop with a large internal hard drive?

Do you just plug it in to the laptop and can access it as you would any internal drive, or would i have to spend ages locating a song etc and transferring it to the laptop before i could play it on Windows Media Player? I have no idea how they work!

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Ensure the laptop supports USB 2.0 and the external hard drive is USB 2.0 also. This will make sure the transfer rate is high enough to play video direct from the hard drive. If they are both brand new, they *should* be USB 2.0 anyway.

Yes, you will just need to plug it in, wait for Windows to do its thing (about 30 secs), then you can access it like drive C: (probably be drive E: or F: though).
Hiya katreeen

If it's any help I've got all my music on an external drive which is about 9,000 tracks and they all fit comfortably on a 40 gig drive, with plenty of room to spare.

An external drive is merely connected to the computer by a usb connection. Mine is mains powered but I think there are some which are powered by the computer, though in your case, where power consumption is more important, this may be a consideration.

Once connected it'll become merely another hard drive 'in' your computer.

Hope this helps you.
Don't have a notebook, just an ordinary PC, but I do have seperate external drives besides. In the main I use them for back up, but one contains a lot of stuff that I can't easily back up onto disc, so it gets used as a second (well actually, third) drive, and I have no problems. The transfer rate from all is more than adequate - I would guess it all depends on the USB, and if you are buying a new notebook, it should have the latest USB (can't think of the technical name)

Be aware some drives require their own power supply (I have a 20GB one which doesn't, and just plugs in), and just to make life easier, don't use it for programmes but for data instead.
As the above say it's easy to do. Also note that if you have an external drive, get one that's big enough for you to be able to store your data as well as a backup of your laptop's internal drive. That way if you take your laptop anywhere and get it stolen or damaged, or just accidentally delete an important essay, you'll be fine.

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