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Definition: portable hard drive

(1) See USB drive.

(2) A magnetic disk drive that plugs into a USB, FireWire or eSATA port on a computer. Used for backup, secondary storage as well as transport, portable hard drives rival the capacity of many internal hard drives.

Portable Vs. Desktop Drives
External drives for stationary desktop use are larger than the portable drives used for transport. In addition, USB desktop drives typically require power from the wall, whereas portable hard drives can be powered from the USB connection. See USB drive kit and SATA.

Portable USB Hard Disk
Plugging into the computer's USB port and deriving all power from the USB, Iomega's 7-ounce eGo drives provide up to 500GB for backup, auxiliary storage and transport. (Image courtesy of Iomega Corporation.)

Portable and Rugged
With capacities up to 500GB, this LaCie portable drive's rubber sleeve and internal rubber bumpers absorb the shock if dropped up to six feet. It also plugs into both USB and FireWire. (Image courtesy of LaCie USA, www.lacie.com)

External Desktop Drive
With up to 2TB of storage, this LaCie desktop drive plugs into the USB port. Although they can be easily unplugged and moved, at 2.5 pounds, drives such as these are designed for stationary use. (Image courtesy of LaCie USA, www.lacie.com)

The RAMAC: World's First Hard Disk
This was breakthrough technology when introduced by IBM in 1956. It held a whopping 5MB and weighed a ton (see RAMAC). (Image courtesy of IBM.)