What Is an Additional Hard Drive in a Computer For?

Our computers are meant to process a lot of information, and it is easy for it to get filled with memory. Cloud storage is very convenient, but not every person wants to opt into a subscription. An internal desktop hard drive can be a very useful addition to a computer or laptop setup, or an additional hard drive can be used to support the existing one. They provide additional storage space for files and programs.

What is a hard drive?

A hard drive is the “brain” of your computer or laptop. It contains all the digital content, including but not limited to: pictures, music, videos, programs, and subsequent files needed for programs to function. Most importantly, it also contains the operating system for the computer. All this information is crucial user data. Hard drives come in different sizes, and are measured in terms of megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB) and the largest, terabytes (TB). Hard drives contain five components:

  • The hard drive platter
  • The hard drive spindle
  • The hard drive head actuator
  • The hard drive read head and write head, and actuator

These components work together to write information onto the platter, storing it for use later on. As information gets processed through, it either can slow down or speed up depending on the amount of information it is asked to sort through. It is usually recommended that computer hardware monitoring software be installed to help monitor activity being operated through on your hard drive. 

Uses of Hard Drives

Our lives, more than ever, are connected with the Internet and technology today. Some people even have multiple laptops to separate personal and private use. The top five uses for an external drive,according to HP, are as follows.


For people that have had a personal computer for a long time, storage becomes a necessity in order to hold many files. As our lives become more digitized, even our memories move onto the computer, such as old photos, videos, records, and other momentos.


It is recommended in general that anybody working heavily on a computer backs up their hard drive regularly to avoid losing all computer information. Issues related to the hardware such as viruses or something physical like dropping a laptop can cause hours if not weeks of work and possibly memories to be lost. This is where a hard drive comes in handy.

Digital editing

Some of the most exhaustive tasks a computer goes through is processing imagery, video, and the editing of both. This function doesn’t simply apply to people with that occupation, as digital editing of images, video, photos, and illustrations has become a commonplace hobby for many people. Working with a hard drive when running these programs helps to avoid slow processing times on your computer or laptop. This opens up more space for editing.

Data sharing

With the advent of cloud storage, it might seem archaic physically sharing data through a hard drive. But cloud sharing can have its limits when moving and sharing a large amount of information. In a work setting, and especially if the field of work involves a lot of information or large file sizes, a flash drive can be a more convenient method to transfer to either a coworker or client.


Computer games are some of the most taxing programs to run on a laptop or computer. Running computer games require a few factors to have the best playing experience, but the amount of space on a computer can be one way to optimize the gameplay. Most games require a larger amount of storage capacity, and if a computer’s hard drive is too full, it can affect the quality of game play with lag times. Hard drives free up the storage capacity in order for the computer to run the game more effectively.

Internal vs. External Hard Drive

External Hard Drives

Depending on the computer you have, you would be choosing between adding an internal or external hard drive. The main difference between the two is as it suggests; an external hard drive is a device that gets plugged into a computer or laptop through a USB or FireWire connection.

A portable USB drive may be considered an additional hard drive, depending on how much storage capacity it holds. But functionally, it would not be a great additional hard drive for a computer for general use without significant storage space.

Sometimes, the laptop or computer is not made to include a second internal hard drive. In this sense, an external hard drive can become the more convenient option, especially for someone who is not used to working with, and modifying hardware technology.

Internal Hard Drives

Internal hard drives, as the name suggests, are inside the body of the computer. Often, they have larger storage capacity as well. Generally, they are faster at pulling information than external hard drives. However, internal hard drives are harder to upgrade, especially for laptops. It often requires opening the shell of the laptop, or in a computer’s case, the tower, and installing a new hard drive. 

An internal hard drive however, will usually always outperform an external hard drive, as there is a constant connection. They usually have the potential for the largest storage capacity and are the most affordable option, if one is willing to overcome the learning curve.

At the end of the day, it never hurts to have an additional hard drive for your computer. In this day and age, a lay person has so much information in just photos and videos alone. This is not only a consideration for someone working with computers or large amounts of information. This is a problem for every person who has a computer and is considering upgrading or modifying their setup.