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Everything You Need to Know About Selecting and Using an Apple Hard Drive

The hard drive is an essential component of any Apple computer. It contains the system files that make up the operating system and allow users to create and edit documents in all sorts of programs. It can also be used as backup storage for Macs with external data connections, or it can be linked together with other disks in a chain to add several TB of extra space.

How can these hard drives be used for backup storage?

If your operating system is installed on an internal disk, you can use additional storage devices to back up your data as you create or edit documents. Whether you install a backup device internally or externally, it’s important to store your data on at least two disks. This practice makes it easier to transfer your files when reinstalling your operating system or upgrading your machine.

Can a vintage drive store an operating system installation?

Apple disks are designed to store essential system files so that they can be executed as you open applications and create new documents. These files contain the graphical desktop environment and system services such as sound and networking drivers. The operating system should be installed on an internal disk to ensure that processes can be executed as efficiently as possible. Your operating system can be backed up on an external disk and quickly transferred to your primary hard drive when upgrading your system.

Which computers are compatible with these drives?

Disk drives are available for all Apple and Mac devices. They range in size from around 512 MB to several TB of space. You can restore or upgrade a vintage machine by adding an internal or external disk to the system. Multiple hard drives can be managed with software that comes with the operating system. By opening a file folder on the desktop, you can explore the contents of each disk through the graphical user interface. Compatible devices include:

  • Apple II
  • Classic Mac
  • Power Mac
  • Mac Pro
  • iMac
  • eMac
What connector cables work with these drives?

Apple devices have used several connector types over the years. Early disk drives used IDE and SCSI interfaces to connect to the motherboard with wide ribbon cables containing between 50 and 80 pins. Later drives connected to the system externally using FireWire, USB, or Thunderbolt cables, depending on the model of computer.

What is the difference between internal and external disks?

Internal hard drives are designed to work seamlessly with the processor and memory to efficiently access system and program files as you run applications on your desktop. External disks are designed to provide plug-and-play backup capabilities. You can access the data on an external drive from any device with a compatible connector.

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