Storage devices

Storage devices

Expand the storage on your PC while protecting your precious data at the same time

USB hard drive

The simplest way to increase the storage space on your Advent PC is to plug in a USB hard drive. When it’s set up you can access the drive via the Start button. Click Computer and you’ll see it appear as a separate drive. You can then save directly to this drive, or you can copy files across to it. It will also appear as an available option for backing up photos, documents, settings and other files stored on your PC’s main hard drive. To find out more, follow our guide to using the Windows Backup tool.

Best desktop USB hard drive: Western Digital My Book Essential 2TB. This drive has a whopping 2TB (or 2,000GB) of space, which is more than enough for all your photos, videos, documents and backups, and supports the newer, faster USB 3.0 standard as well as older USB 2.0 ports.

Best portable USB hard drive: laptop users looking for something small and slim to take on the road should check out the Seagate Backup Plus Portable Hard Drive 1TB.

USB drives add extra storage capacity to your PC with the minimum of fuss

Network hard drive

If you’re looking for a central location where all the family can store their backups and files, you’ll need a network attached hard drive, which plugs into a spare Ethernet port on your router . These aren’t as simple to set up as USB drives but once in place they’re visible to all the computers on your home network.

It’s worth noting that the Windows Backup tool won’t back up to network hard drives, so you’ll need to invest in a third-party backup program such as Paragon Backup & Recovery 11 Home Edition in addition to your new drive.

Network hard drives can be accessed directly by any PC on your home network

Best network hard drive: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Network Hard Drive 1TB. Not only do you get a gargantuan 1TB drive space for your home network to share, but it also comes with a USB port: plug a USB printer or hard drive into this and you can expand your network storage further or make a printer available to all the computers on your network.

Internal hard drive

Another solution to the problem of limited drive space is to upgrade your computer’s internal hard drive. If you have an Advent desktop PC you’ll find room in the case to fit a second hard drive next to the first. If you have a laptop you’ll need to replace the existing hard disk with a larger one.

In either event, we recommend you use an in-store service like PC World’s KnowHow Hardware Install service (£25 plus the cost of the hard drive, KnowHow) to make your upgrade a painless one.

Best desktop hard drive: make sure you choose a 3.5-inch SATA drive. Expect to pay around £75 for a 2TB drive and choose a renowned brand like Hitachi, Western Digital or Seagate.

Best laptop hard drive: this needs to be a 2.5-inch SATA drive, and larger than your current drive. Expect to pay around £75 for a 1TB model, like this Toshiba MQ series 1TB drive.

USB flash drive

Sometimes you just need a portable device where you can store a relatively small amount of data to move between computers. A USB flash drive is perfect for this: it fits in your pocket and you just plug it into whichever computer you need.

Best USB flash drive: PNY 16GB Key Attache USB Memory Stick has plenty of raw capacity for your everyday needs. It transfers data quickly and it’s small enough to hang from your keyring when not in use. What’s not to like?

DVD rewriter

A growing number of laptops are shipping without an internal disc drive, which reduces both power consumption and weight. Should you need occasional use of a DVD rewriter, a model like the Samsung SE-208AB/TSBS External USB Simline DVD Writer fits the bill perfectly.

Laptop ship without a DVD writer? Add your own external model for under £40