Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Fill up an external hard drive

External hard drives come in a wide variety of styles, forms and purposes. But what do you put on it? The first obvious answer is computer files. But here are some suggestions that may help you along.

Back Up your Documents
External hard drives provide portable storage for files you don't want to lose. Keeping a copy of your curriculum on your computer's internal hard drive or a network drive is a good idea, but having a copy on an external drive may be the difference between sanity and weeks of frantic work. If you lost all the documents on your hard drive what would it take to replace them? With an external drive you can use built in tools on the MAC and Windows to backup files. Alternatively you can manually copy important files to the hard drive yourself.

If you regularly use your computer in the same place storing your pictures, music and videos on an external drive makes a lot of sense. Most programs for managing multi-media, (ie: iTunes or Windows Media Player) will allow you to store your music and audio on an external drive. Photo management software (ie: iPhoto, Picasa, Windows Live Gallery) will do the same. Keeping large video files on an external drive can really save you internal hard drive for the most essential files. Incidentally having your internal hard drive full or close to full can slow down system processes which depend on free space on the hard drive to perform needed activities.

Archived Materials,
If you are a laptop user it can be useful to keep your most frequently used files on your internal hard drive. Keeping archived curriculum, student work, or other files that you are no longer currently using on an external hard drive is helpful technique. Copying all your PowerPoint presentations for a course to an external hard drive allows you to make changes on your internal hard drive to reflect more timely information while also maintaining a record of what you have taught from year to year.

Have fun filling up your memory!

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