The problem with floppy disks is that their 1.44MB capacity is rarely big enough, for all our files these days. More and more people are turning to USB flash drives, since they commonly have capacities ranging from 64MB to 256MB, and even larger ones will soon be cheap enough to come into common usage. Still, for portable memory, nothing beats a notebook hard drive. The problem is that a 2.5" IDE hard drive doesn't have the universal connectivity of a USB device, and you really do want the security of having your drive properly installed in a casing.

A 2.5" IDE hard drive enclosure designed to maximize the convenience that such a drive can offer. It insulates the device and uses a USB 2.0 connector to simultaneously power and connect the drive to just about any PC. The enclosure is compatible with IDE ATA 100 drives and rated with a maximum transfer rate of 480MB/s.

The aluminum casing plates are cool and blue, and protect against physical shock and trauma, while also conducting heat out efficiently. An insulation pad defends against unpleasant electrical shocks as well.

Following the user guide, I installed the drive by unscrewing the four flat-head screws on the top of the enclosure and removing the top aluminum plate. By inserting the drive at a slight angle, I managed to plug it into the 44-pin ATA/ATAPI socket and slide it snugly into place inside the enclosure, and then screwed the top plate back on. Just like that, the drive was mobile and ready to roll.

With the PC already on, I was able to connect the drive without a hitch. The soft-start feature ensured a slow powering up process for the drive, which is meant to prevent damage from sudden high currents. There are two LEDs in the front of the enclosure just so you know what's going on in your drive: the green one is for power, while the blue one lights up when loading or writing data. As with most USB devices, drivers were entirely unnecessary when connecting with any Windows system later than Windows 98.