How To Use External Hard Drive On Laptop | 5 Easy Steps

Your laptop storage is insufficient and you want to use an external hard drive on your laptop, right? However, you are a little worried as you don’t know how to use external hard drive on laptop.

If this is the problem for you then just chill and follow me because I am going to lead you to an extremely simple way to connect a hard drive with a laptop and use it with ease. But the most important thing is that you will have to follow every step to connect the drive and use it. I will make it easy for you by providing the information in easy steps. 

So, let’s move towards the problem.

How To Use External Hard Drive On Laptop

How To Use External Hard Drive On LaptopThe external hard drive helps you to transfer files from one computer to another and it also helps you to back up your important data and documents. So, if you are looking to upgrade your computer hard drive then installing a new external hard drive will be a great option for you to use. It will provide you security and portability for your data. Few basic things should be kept in mind while using an external hard drive on the computer.

Understanding the process of adding a hard drive:

Understanding the process is essential because without this you will not be able to add and use an external hard drive on your laptop. Usually, external hard drives come with a manual. So, read the manual carefully before adding the drive to your laptop.

Secondly, the hard drive will not work immediately after plugging into the laptop. You will have to format it before using it. The formatting option is always available in a laptop setting. You just need to click and format it before using it.

Check out the 9 Best 2-in-1 Laptop Under 1000 Dollars | 2022 Top Rated

Find the connection ports on your laptop:

You should examine your laptop carefully because the laptops come with a variety of connection ports. Usually, laptops come with a USB 3.0 port. But some of the modern machines come with USB Type-C ports. So, if you find any of these then try to find the external hard drive with the required USB cable for connection.

Your requirements:

You will also have to keep your required space in mind. Always choose the drive that has more space than your required space. External hard drives are available in a variety of spaces ranging from a few hundred megabytes to several terabytes. You can pick one according to your requirement. And also, you can choose one from the traditional hard drive and solid-state drive available on the market.


Various brands are operating in the market for the hard drive. They provide you quality material in this regard for your proper working and better performance. Some of the high-quality brands working in the market are as follows.

  • Samsung
  • Buffalo
  • Western digital
  • Seagate
  • Adata

All these brands provide customers with great quality products. They ensure that you get good services as well. These brands operate both on physical and online platforms. You have complete authority to choose one according to your own choice and requirements.

Best hard drives for users:

Some of the best suggested hard drives available for users are listed below. You can consider any of these if you are interested in buying one.

Image Product Details Price
WD 2TB Elements Portable WD 2TB Elements Portable

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LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C

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WD 1TB My Passport Portable WD 1TB My Passport Portable

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LaCie 1TB USB 3.0 Portable LaCie 1TB USB 3.0 Portable

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Toshiba Canvio Basics Toshiba Canvio Basics

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Check Price On Amazon

How To Add An External Hard Drive | Step By Step Guide

After completing your initial testing and requirement now you are ready to install your external hard drive on your laptop. So, let’s start our work. Now follow me for the stepwise process of connection to enjoy the facility of the external storage.

  1. Check for the power cord, because some of the external hard drives require a power cord. If the same is the case with yours then connect the power cord to the back of the drive. Usually, power cords have a small round connector at the end. Connect the other end to the power adapter. If your drive doesn’t require a power cord then skip this step.
  2. Now, connect the USB cable to your hard drive. Then plug the other end of the cable into the USB port of your laptop.
  3. After the successful connection, your machine will automatically detect the drive and install the required drivers if needed. If it doesn’t show then reconnect the drive.
  4. Usually, the operating system opens the file explorer and shows the content of the hard drive. If it doesn’t show automatically then follow the manual process to open the explorer and locate the external hard drive. For this purpose, open the file explorer and see the newly added drive on your laptop and rename it according to your own choice.
  5. In the case of a MacBook, macOS opens the finder and shows the content of the drive. If it doesn’t show then just open the finder manually and locate your drive in it.

Depending on the window version there are differences in the operating system. You can find it in file explorer by clicking on this PC or computer. If you are uncertain about the location of the drive then look in the start menu. Once you have located the drive then you will be able to see and control the content of the drive. 

Another important thing to remember is to erase duplicate files. This will help your drive work faster and have space for more files.

How To Use The External Drive As The Primary Drive

In laptops and computers, primarily hard drives are those which are already installed in the machine. However, if these drives have a storage capacity that is not enough for you then you will look for the external drive. If you want an answer on how to use the external hard drive as a primary storage drive then don’t worry, I can provide you the solution for this as well.

Keep one thing in mind that an external hard drive will not turn into your primary drive automatically. If you are planning to change your external hard drive to a primary drive. You will be able to get help in this regard in the installation of the windows.

If your external drive doesn’t show up when connected then click the start button, go to the control panel, and then the system and security section. Open administrative tools in computer management and double-click on it. You will have to type a passcode if you have set one. At the end search for the hard drive in the storage section in Disc management.

How To Use An External Hard Drive In MacBook

MacBook also detects the external hard drive automatically just like the window system. But some preliminary measures should be taken before adding a drive to a MacBook. If you will follow the instructions regarding this then it will be easy for you to use an external hard drive on your MacBook computer.

Connect the drive to your MacBook by plugging the cable in compatible ports of the machine and hard drive. Then search Disc Utility in OS X operating system and open it. Locate your drive and click on it. Use the erase option and choose the format Mac OS Extended (Journaled) if you are intended to use your drive only on MacBook. When the format is complete your drive will be ready for use.

For your help, I am going to add a few advantages and disadvantages of the external hard drive as well.


  • It helps you extend the storage capacity of your machine.
  • It is easy to use.
  • It is less expensive as compared to internal hard drives.
  • It has good performance.


  • It creates disturbance and annoyance.
  • It can create logistic issue due to the limited availability of ports in laptops.

Final Thoughts

Your data is your priority so you will always look for a good storage device and you must have knowledge of how to use an external hard drive on your laptop. And you need to be completely attentive while installing the external hard drive on your laptop or MacBook.

Any kind of ignorance can be dangerous and you can lose your data in that case. You will not want any type of damage or wastage of time and money. I hope you have got enough knowledge about adding an external hard drive to your laptop.

If you want to share any other tips regarding this you are most welcome. You can share your experiences and knowledge. See you soon with another informative post.



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