Computers Hard Drives

How To Use An External Usb 2.0 Hard Drive


Many modern computers ship with fairly sizable hard drives, ranging from laptop to desktop systems. However, this space quickly runs out for many users, especially those who like to download movies, music and pictures from the Internet. Also, some people may keep a computer for several years after purchase, building up user-generated files that clutter and hog valuable hard drive space.

The answer to limited space inside a PC is to attach an external hard drive to the USB 2.0 port. Conventional hard drives connect to the motherboard or main board inside a PC via a cable called the IDE cable. Data transfer on the hard drive in a PC goes fairly quickly with an internal hard drive, and many users need that same reading and writing speed when working with external storage media.The USB 2.0 standard is faster than previous standards, as it should be which means people use external hard drives don't suffer any major conveniences when transfer data.

After your connect the USB 2.0 hard drive to a PC, using it as an external storage medium is fairly easy.

Step 1

Plug the USB 2.0 external hard drive into an available port on the front, side or back of your computer. Many smaller laptops may have only two USB ports so may have to temporarily unplug another device that is using the port. However, if you plan on using the external hard drive on a more permanent basis, such as for daily back ups of the internal hard drive, you may need write off use of this port.

You can also buy a USB hub or adapter that expands one USB 2.0 port for use a multiple USB ports. If you do invest in one of these peripheral devices, make sure it has 2.0 specifications as well.

Step 2

Wait for the Windows operating system to mount the USB 2.0 external hard drive. Your C: drive holds the operating system and user generated files on the hard drive. The OS may assign the external drive letters D: or E: or F:, depending on which is available.

Step 3

Open the My Computer or Computer window in the operating system, depending on your version. Now you should see an extra drive letter that denotes the USB 2.0 external hard drive that you connected to the PC. You may have to look in the section that is titled Removable Storage.

Step 4

Double-click on the drive letter for the USB 2.0 external hard drive. This opens a path to the storage space on this external storage medium.

Step 5

Drag and drop files into the USB 2.0 external hard drive. You can also use the "Open" function in most applications to access this external hard drive.


You can network external USB 2.0 hard drives via the file sharing features in Windows.

Sources and Citations

  1. "Back up Your Programs, System Settings, and Files." Web. 17 Mar. 2012. <>.
  2. Crothers, Brooke. "Long Delay Expected for Intel Support of USB 3.0." CNET News. CBS Interactive, 07 Apr. 2010. Web. 17 Mar. 2012. <>.
  3. Crothers, Brooke. "Why Doesn't My Laptop Have USB 3.0?" CNET News. CBS Interactive, 30 Apr. 2011. Web. 17 Mar. 2012. <>.
  4. "Install a USB Device." Web. 17 Mar. 2012. <>.
  5. "Old Content." Ars Technica. Web. 17 Mar. 2012. <>.
  6. "Start Your Computer from a Windows 7 Installation Disc or USB Flash Drive." Start Your Computer from a Windows 7 Installation Disc or USB Flash Drive. Web. 17 Mar. 2012. <>.
  7. "Transferring Files and Settings: Frequently Asked Questions." Web. 17 Mar. 2012. <>.
  8. "Using Memory in Your Storage Device to Speed up Your Computer." Web. 17 Mar. 2012. <>.
  9. "What Is a USB Flash Drive?" Web. 17 Mar. 2012. <>.
By Adri Buckminster, published at 03/22/2012
   Rating: 4/5 (11 votes)
How To Use An External Usb 2.0 Hard Drive. 4 of 5 based on 11 votes.