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In times of increasing memory capacities, backing up your data isn’t quite as easy as it was a few years ago. Optical media is totally unsuited for saving the volumes of data that are generated today. Well, what could be easier than backing up your data by simply copying the contents of an internal drive to an external one?
Hard drives are available at low prices, around 10 cents per gigabyte, and there are two primary ways of connecting an external drive to a computer: USB 2.0 and eSATA. We have already introduced some of the adapters that make connecting an external hard drive to a PC easier in this story on storage accessories.
Connecting via USB 2.0 or eSATA?
Connecting via USB 2.0 works without problems on the vast majority of computers. eSATA drives can also be connected to and disconnected from the computer without needing to restart the operating system, just like a USB memory stick. When using eSATA to connect, you must ensure that the controller is capable of AHCI mode—only then is it possible to connect/disconnect devices without restarting. The only thing missing with eSATA is an icon in the task bar which enables you to safely remove devices.
In order to be able to operate the external drives in an appropriate manner, it also makes sense to acquire a drive housing. It is now possible to purchase units that can support more than one drive. This article investigates what can be expected from a housing designed for multiple drives.