How to Open Files From External Hard Drives

By Jess Jones

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Computer

  • External hard drive

  • USB cable

i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

An external hard drive is a storage space for computer files that is outside of the actual computer tower. It is usually connected to the computer tower via USB cable. External hard drives have gained popularity because of threats like trojan horses and worms that can affect an internal hard drive. Also, the more users on one computer system, the more likely files will be deleted or corrupted by accident. Saving files to an external hard drive alleviates all of these problems. Files are kept safe on a separate drive that can be unplugged from the main computer to avoid damage.

Make sure the external hard drive is connected to your computer. It should be attached via a USB cable.

Check the cable to make sure it is firmly plugged into the USB ports.

Click the “Start” button or "Windows" icon on your desktop toolbar. This will open up a menu.

Click on “Computer” or “My Computer.” A new window will open.

Double click on the icon for your external hard drive. If you have only one internal hard drive, the external hard drive may be labeled drive D or E. It may also have the name of its manufacturer. A new window will open.

Double click the file you wish to open off of your external hard drive. The file will then open.