In addition to your laptop’s internal hard drive, you can use external storage devices to store data. For example, you may want to use an external storage device to back up important files,house large digital libraries, or run programs. In the past, floppy disks and Zip disks were used to store backup data. Today, external storage devices range in size and storage capacity, and adding portable, affordable storage to your laptop is easier than ever.
External Hard Drives
External hard drives are just like your laptop’s internal hard drive, but operate outside of your computer through a cable, typically plugged into a USB port. Generally compact in size and box-like in appearance, you can find external hard drives that offer up to several terabytes of storage. Some even have their own cooling fans.Most external hard drives can use used with laptop or desktop computers. Memory Cards
Memory cards, also called smart cards, are another way to store and transfer data. Flatter
and smaller than flash drives, memory cards are commonly used with digital cameras, printers,mobile phones, and laptops. Memory cards store 2GB or more of data, depending on the card.Memory cards measure about 2 × 3 inches in size.
Also called thumb drives or key drives because of the small size, flash drives plug into your
laptop’s USB port and offer a compact way to store data in a portable fashion. Small enough to hook onto a keychain, flash drives are also called jump or stick drives, and you can use them to transfer data from one computer to another or back up files, even software. You can find flash drives in a wide variety of shapes and colors. They also offer a range of storage capacity, from just a few gigabytes to a terabyte.
Writable CD and DVDs
If your laptop has an optical CD or DVD drive, you can use discs to store data. Using the laptop’s software, you can burn data to a disc, but only if the optical drive supports recordable (CD-R or DVD-R) or re-recordable (CD-RW or DVD-RW) formats. Most laptops sold today have a DVD combo drive, which means it can read, write, and rewrite CD and DVD media. Optical discs are perfect for storing digital media, files, and programs.
Another option is to store your data online. You can find numerous services that let you back up your data online, usually for a fee. Online data can be accessed anywhere using an Internet connection and any computer. With the advance of cloud computing — a general term for delivering hosted services over the Internet —you can also use the Internet to perform other computer tasks, such as accessing software, e-mail, photos, and videos.
Before the popularity of smaller memory cards, PC cards were common among laptops. Also called PCMCIA cards, PC cards are the size of a credit card and fit into a PC card slot on the laptop. PC cards were used to insert added memory, sound,or modem functionality. PC cards come in three types. Type I cards are used for memory devices,type II cards are used for input/output devices,such as data/fax components. Type III cards are used for mass storage devices. Some laptops still offer the larger slot for such cards.
Sherry Kinkoph Gunter