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

By Christina Shaffer

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.

Step 1

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 2

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 3

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 4

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 5

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.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure you have enough storage room on your new external hard drive.
  • You can save the items to your external hard drive to take up less space on your laptop or computer, or use it as a backup to your computers internal hard drive.
  • Be sure your computer is compatible with the external hard drive you purchase. The out side of the box or the instruction sheet that comes with your external hard drive should let you know which it is compatible with.