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Of course we had this idea earlier on, in the Shareware Inventions! See Portable Hard disc Drive

USB Portable Hard Disc Drives

New hard drive technology (catching up with Portable HARD DISC DRIVE

Yes, well, apparently it's true, so I've heard. There are now (2001/10) some pieces of equipment that can be bought in shops and used for carting huge amounts of data about.

The first development was the Backpack drive, in which IDE CD drives and hard drives could be linked via a parallel port. Now hard drives are available on USB and FIREWIRE. It's also possible to get USB CD-RWs. Also some USB digital cameras treat their memory as a dos partition, so it's compatible with Linux and Windows, it being possible to download pictures AND to store files (possibly secretly) via a camera. More news at Seagate

Another Update (2005): Portable hard drives now take the form of CF Compact Flash cards. These are only a few centimetres across but contain as much data as some motor-driven hard disc drives. When I bought this camera they gave me a free 256 megabyte card in addition to the 1 gigabyte one I'd bought from Jessops. Later I found out that Compact Flash cards are IDE drives in disguise, and can be plugged into an adaptor to connect straight into the hard disc drive cable on a computer. Some machines are starting to have slots on the front to plug the cards in. Also, the data recovery companies are offering a recovery service for lost data eventualities on such CF cards. Also see SD cards and Memory Shops

Maxtor OneTouch portable hard disc driveFurther update news 2006: As with many good ideas here, the world eventually catches up and catches onto the idea and then it seems it were not so silly after all! In the case of portable hard disc drives, they can now be got (2006) in portable packs containing a full-sized hard disc drive. See Portable Maxtor USB hard disc drive, the only difference being the wires being much narrower with USB or firewire in comparison to plugging in IDC ribbon cables.Seagate portable hard disc drive

Further update news 2007: Here's another example of a portable hard disc drive (USB), the Portable Seagate External USB hard disc drive, again with the thin cables and with a small power pack. As usual the power pack comes complete with two kinds of EURO lead, one with a British 13A 240v plug and the other with a US two-pin 110v plug, as the power supply just adapts to work on either. The drive itself runs off 12 volts DC at about 2.2 amps.

Western Digital My Book portable hard disc driveHere's another example of a USB portable hard disc drive. This Western Digital Portable hard disc drive was found to be big enough to back up the entire server, a machine that had in it about five hard disc drives that had been added over the years until they were being fitted into those odd voids which computer cases generally have. Again, powered by a neat 110/240v PSU producing 12 volts 3 amps to power the drive. Once backed up, the entire machine's data could be packed away a good distance from the server to provide some level of disaster recovery insurance.

I'm well chuffed with the data recovery companies who have been so kind as to send these drives. If you have a look at each of the drives, you'll see each has a page, and each of the companies has been credited. This is excellent for business! Now if, following reading this intriguing page, you'd like to get yourself a portable USB hard disc drive, you could try the places that sell computers, as well as computer bits and pieces places such as Aria. Remember that as with internal hard disc drives, there is an best size for hard disc drives for these portable USB drives too. If you're buying a hard disc drive, the best size can be worked out in terms of value-for-money, which these days is the relative cheapness of each terabyte.