Any geek worth their weight in silicon will be prepared for almost any type technical problem or situation. One such device I reckon should be in a geek’s technical support arsenal is an external hard drive dock.
A hard drive dock is important when you might have a computer that is refusing to boot up for whatever reason and you really need to extract data from the drive or to run some diagnostics upon it. Otherwise, you might want to use a high capacity drive as part of your backup strategy and take the hard drive off site once a week to protect your data. For others, it may be more cost effective to buy a hard drive dock and a stack of hard drives containing various content as opposed to buying self-contained external hard drives that don’t allow you to upgrade the capacity of the enclosed drive without voiding the warranty.
For those of you who don’t know what such a device looks like, here are a few pictures:
The hard drive dock that I use is the Vantec NexStar hard drive dock. It offers a number of connection options to a computer, including:
I have not done any benchmarks but my expectation would be that eSATA would be the fastest followed neck and neck by Firewire and USB.
Connecting it up is a snap. Simply plug in the power cord, choose a connection type (I use USB), pop in a hard drive and push the power button on the front.
The partitions on the drive should appear in My Computer and Windows Explorer (under Windows obviously). Once you have found the corresponding drive letter(s), you can simply browse the contents like any other drive connected to your computer.
You never know when a hard drive dock might come in handy so pick one up if you can – it might get you out of a pickle later on!