How to Transfer Files From an Internal Hard Drive to an External Hard Drive

An external hard drive can act as insurance if the internal drive in your PC fails, allowing you to back up your important files, data and multimedia content. An external hard drive typically provides more storage than a flash drive, and it can store a larger number or files. When you connect the device to your PC for the first time, Windows will install the necessary device drivers. You can then use Windows Explorer to copy and back up your data.

portable hard drive
You can transfer files from your external hard drive to different PCs.
credit: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Step

Plug the micro-USB end of the cable into the external hard drive; then plug the larger end of the USB cable into an open port on the PC. If the external drive has an AC adapter, plug the adapter into a nearby power source before connecting the device to the computer.

Step

Select the “Open folder to view files using Windows Explorer” option in the AutoPlay dialog box. If the AutoPlay window doesn’t open, go to “Start” and select “Computer.” Double-click the external hard drive icon in “Devices with Removable Storage.”

Step

Navigate through your folders in the Windows Explorer window and select the files you want to transfer to the external hard drive. To select multiple files, hold the “Ctrl” key on the keyboard and select each file with your mouse. Press “Ctrl-A" to select all of the files in the current folder.

Step

Right-click on the selected files, highlight the “Send to” option and select the name of the external hard drive. A green status bar will appear in the “Copying” dialog. When the process is complete, the dialog box will close and a copy of your files will reside on the external hard drive.

Step

Right-click on the name of the external hard drive in the Windows Explorer window and select the “Eject” option to safely disconnect the device.