If you've ever worked on a computer, you know the horrible feeling of watching your work disappear before your eyes due to a malfunction of one kind or another. If you're writing a term paper or labeling your photos, losing that precious information is beyond frustrating and depressing. But, it's a feeling that can be avoided. That's where your external hard drive comes into play.
An external hard drive is an extra place to store important information from your computer. Since it is separate from your CPU, anything bad that happens to your computer will leave your external hard drive untouched [source: Digital Photos 101]. Typically, they'll be "plug and play," which means all you really have to do is plug the hard drive into your computer and the rest is taken care of. Best of all, the price of hard drives is falling while the amount of space you can get is on the rise. So, if you have a hard drive with 2 terabytes of space (more than 2,000 GB) you can store upwards of 400,000 photos on it.