Hard Drives

What you need in desktop or laptop hard drive

A hard drive (or hard disk drive) is the storage disk inside your computer where your data is stored and accessed. More technically speaking, hard drives consist of a rotating flat magnetic plate onto which data is digitally encoded.

If you have an older computer and want a newer or bigger hard drive, you may find it easier to simply upgrade your entire computer to get more storage space because it can be challenging to find compatible equipment for older models. However, if your computer is new and you find yourself wanting even more storage space than was built in, a new internal hard drive is probably the best option.

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Buying a Hard Drive

Whether you've experienced a hard drive crash and need computer repair, or you just want to add more storage, there are a few things to keep in mind if you're looking to buy a hard drive:

  • Consider capacity. If you use your computer for personal as well as work-related activities, like watching movies or playing games, or if you want to archive your digital or scanned photos, then the bigger the hard drive, the better.
  • Check for room. Some computers have more space for hard drives than others, so be sure you look at what your case can hold before you buy.
  • Get the tools. Some hard drives come with installation kits that include computer cables, mounting hardware and proper software for easy installation.
  • Confirm compatibility. It may seem silly, but make sure you know whether you're getting a laptop hard drive or a desktop hard drive, and whether the model will be compatible with your computer. Also, look into the type of connection your hard drive has to make sure it is compatible. (SATA, IDE and SCSI hard drive connections are among the most common.)

Keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to buy one large, expensive hard drive. Many computers have room for two or more internal hard drives, so you might purchase two smaller hard drives, instead, possibly for a cheaper price. Also, remember that you don't necessarily have to buy an internal hard drive – external hard drives are very affordable and are great if you want your data to be portable.

Top Hard Drive Brands

There are plenty of hard drive brands out there, so you'll want to do some research or ask for recommendations before you buy. A few of the top hard drive brands include Western Digital, Seagate and Maxtor hard drives.