Are you looking to buy an external hard drive to make your data more portable or simply to protect your precious files? After working with a number of different external hard drives, you come to realize what you value the most as a flash drive user. For my money, I want speed and open plug and play functionality. Plug n play means that the hard drive can immediately self-install its own drivers on a new computer you've never used it with before. Most of the time that you plug the Seagate Expansion into the USB port of a new machine, it will have itself installed and up and running within a few moments. 

Seagate Expansion 500GB Hard Drive

Check out the product info and ordering page for the Seagate Expansion 500GB hard drive

The other factor that makes the Seagate Expansion 500GB hard drive the best external flash drive for the money is its versatility. You can plug it into your netbook's USB drive, offload all of your computer's files quickly, pop the drive out and swap it over to another computer. Once it has installed its own drivers, the Seagate Expansion flash drive will be ready to move whatever files you want to keep on the second machine. It's simply drag and drop - couldn't be easier - and the device will automatically open a regular windows explorer so you can easily find the data you need to work with. 

Using the Seagate Expansion 500GB External Hard Drive

Setting up and organizing your own files on the external hard drive is pretty simple as well. If you can make your way around the usual windows explorer windows, that show your folders and the files within them, you can handle your data on the Seagate external hard drive. 

The Seagate 500GB expansion flash drive operates at 5400 revolutions per minute, meaning you won't have to wait forever to move even large files from place to place. 

USB 2.0 functionality means you will enjoy a wide range of devices and computers. USB 2.0 is backwards compatible with USB 1.0, meaning that even if your primary computer is older, you should still be able to use your Seagate 500GB flash drive to move your files. Just keep in mind that you might not be able to use the full array of USB 2.0 functions if your primary machine is dated. 

While drag and drop is the fastest and easiest way to handle most operations you will be performing while using your new external hard drive, you also have the option of using Seagate's pre-installed data management software. This software can be a bit clunky for power users, but it will automate backups, grabbing the vital data folders off your machine and tucking them away in a date-stamped folder, making it easy to find in the future. 

Will 500GB Be Enough Storage for Me?

Generally speaking, if you are mostly concerned with backing up or transporting your personal and family pictures, your work documents and a bunch of music or some movies, then yes. 500GB is a good deal of space, enough to hold hundreds of feature length movies. 

Power users should consider making the final jump up to one terabyte if they're professionally handling graphics editing software, film making data, dense-image schematics or other graphically intense memory-hogging tasks. 

Uses for Your New External Hard Drive

While the majority of computer users seek out the best external hard drive for security and data protection purposes, there are a number of other popular uses for your new 500GB external flash drive that are often overlooked. 

For one thing, you can turn your external hard drive into a portable party by loading it up with all your favorite music, or a pre-sorted playlist suited to the theme. When you show up, instead of having to fuss with bringing your own laptop and wrestling with the arcane forces of someone else's wireless network, you can simply plug your entire music collection right into a computer there. 

As a helpful tip, always keep a few copies of your favorite programs' installation packages on your hard drive. If you like VLC media player, for example, download the install file and keep it in the folder on your flash drive where you store your movies. 

This way, you can always have the comforts of home with you when you travel. You can store music or video programs this way. With 500GB you can even keep entire games on your hard drive to play when you're somewhere away from home.