External hard drive question?

I'm looking for an external hard drive for a lap top pc that does NOT require software downloads to get it started. My computer is having issues and the computer repair person said would be best to back everything up as soon as possible,but computer may have issues downloading software. I did call radio shack to see if they carried external hard drives without software,they said yes and gave a name to one but when I looked it up ( Toshiba Canvo) the reviews were bad. Some people said it did come with software and it either didn't work, or corrupted and couldn't be read through their usb ports. Where could I buy hard drive without software that you plug in like u would usb stick and easily transfer files? I did try amazon,ebay,walmart,target,radio shack,best buy etc. Thanks!

3 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    If you search for external hard drives you will always find them with enclosures, cables and software because that is what most people want. A drive they can just plug in to the pc and start using. THe software (even though frequently it is not very good) is to make it easier to backup or migrate the files to a new computer. Of course it is not mandatory that you use the software. You can always just use the drive without using the software, or format the drive to remove all that software.

    Of course those external drives always cost several dollar more.

    It sounds like you want an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) drive which comes with no software, cables or hardware. A bare hard drive.

    When using an OEM drive as an external drive you do have to be more careful not to move the drive while it is working and that it sits on non conductive material ( wood, cardboard box, etc) to avoid shock and electrical shorts which those external enclosures do a small bit to prevent. You also need a cable to attach the drive to the usb port.


    They come is all sizes but if it is just for backup it does not need to be larger than the one in your laptop.

    There are laptop drives and regular desktop drives. The only difference is the physical size both work the same. You do not need an ssd drive for backup.


    Something like the Western Digital Caviar Blue Hard Drive WD2500AAJS should work just fine. It is only 250 GB.

    For the cables you can use the simple setup (more expensive) or the do it yourself plug in the right cable setup (cheaper):



    All this hardware (probably not the exact same brand and model, can be found in any computer store with sales people who know something about computers.

    On the other hand if you have a techy friend they probably could loan you a hard drive and help with the backup.

    Most people buy the prepackaged external drive. Pay the extra costs and don't worry about the cables etc. Those external drives will work for basic tasks like a simple backup.

    Good luck

  • M
    Lv 4
    6 years ago

    I use a My Passport Ultra, and I really like it. Incidentally, many, if not most, external hard drives and flash drives come with pre-loaded software, and you don't have to use any of it. In fact, I've personally found that pre-loaded software on any of these devices tends to be buggy and unreliable. You can delete whatever you find already on it and use the drive however you want.

  • 6 years ago

    With no software, no guarantee, you need to buy separately , but not any drive installable or connected exists with no specifications included.

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