How to Take Care of an External Hard Drive

by Megan Mattingly-Arthur
external hardrive image by Photoeyes from

An external hard drive is a freestanding device that plugs into a desktop computer with a FireWire or USB cable. External hard drives provide you with additional space for file storage and can even be used to back up the files from your main computer. Because external hard drives sit outside of your computer and lack a large protective case to shield them from damage, preventative care is necessary to keep your device in good working condition.

Step 1

Position your external hard drive on clean, flat and stable surface where it will not be bumped, jostled or dropped. Choose a position for your external hard drive that is away from heaters, air conditioners, drafts or humidifiers.

Step 2

Plug your external hard drive into a surge protector to protect it from damage caused by voltage spikes.

Step 3

Keep your external hard drive stationary whenever it is powered on. Avoid moving your external hard drive while it is in use as this can result in damage.

Step 4

Dust the surface of your external hard drive periodically with a soft optical cloth. Spray the openings of your device with canned air to remove any dust stuck in the crevices.

Set up a small fan near your external hard drive, if necessary, to keep the device cool.


  • Avoid storing your external hard drive in an enclosed cabinet as this may cause your device to overheat.


  • Back up your files on disks or a USB flash drive to ensure that they will not be lost in the event that your external hard drive is accidentally damaged or destroyed.


Photo Credits

  • external hardrive image by Photoeyes from

About the Author

Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally since 1998. She has contributed to various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines, as well as a book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." Mattingly-Arthur is studying travel and tourism through Penn Foster Career School.

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