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How to Transfer Files to an External Hard Drive

written by: Steve McFarlane•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/31/2010

In this article we look at how to transfer files to an external hard drive, to create a backup copy, more space or to simply move files.

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    Transferring Files

    User files such as office documents; music files and pictures can be transferred to an external hard drive for the purpose of creating a data backup or to free up hard drive space, among other things. For whatever reason the files are being transferred, this article will explain how to transfer files to an external hard drive.

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    USB External Hard Drives

    Whether you are using Ethernet, or you are transferring the files to a hard disk that is directly connected to the computer, the process of using the computer’s file manager to copy and paste, or drag and drop is the same. If you are using a USB external drive, take the follow steps:

    • Connect the external drive to a USB port.How to Transfer Files to an External Hard Drive 
    • Open the file management system (i.e. Windows Explorer).
    • Highlight the files you want to copy, select them and press CTRL + C.
    • Move to where you want to put the files, on the external drive, and Press CTRL +V to paste them into the new location.

    If you are not sure which drive is the external drive, have a look in “My Computer” before you connect the new drive. Take note of what drives already exist there so you can identify which is the new drive after you connect it to the computer.

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    Use a Hard Drive Cloning Software

    You can also use a hard drive cloning utility to create a copy of files to be placed on the external drive. This method can be used to backup an entire hard disk and its file structure, hidden files and even deleted files that are deemed recoverable. This method also works well for: creating a backup of the entire system, transferring files to a new machine or copying them to a portable external hard drive for transportation to another location.

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    How To Mirror Copy a Hard Drive

    Two hard drive cloning software packages you can use are True Image and EASEUS. The specifics for completing this task will vary, depending on the cloning solution you use but the process should go like this:

    • Start imaging software.
    • Identify and set the destination and source disks. Be careful to specify that you are creating an image and not a mirror copy to overwrite the external hard drive. If you decide to do a clone, bear in mind that you will overwrite all the data that exists on the external hard drive.
    • Select the files to be copied.
    • Press the Start button and wait for the files to be copied.
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    Summary

    Whether you use a copy and paste method or create a clone of the current hard drive and its files, transferring a copy of your files to another hard drive is a good idea to ensure that your data can be recovered in case the original files become corrupted or are deleted by accident.

    Credit

    Image: "How to transfer files to an external hard drive." Comedy Nose.