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Attach external drives to your computer through a USB port and you can enjoy almost limitless expansion of your desktop or laptop's digital memory. There are a number of choices in external drives that expand your hard drive's digital memory. These include the following:
* An external hard drive. You can purchase external hard drives with digital memory from 40 to 400 GB. Expect to pay anywhere from $69 to $500, depending on storage capacity.
* An external tape drive. Tape drives have been the standard for back-ups since the first Univac computers of the 1950s and '60s and they are still used as back-up today. External tape drives can be found anywhere from PCs to large industrial applications and cost anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars, depending on size and technology.
* An external rewriteable drive. Hook up a CD writer, a DVD writer or even a Mini-Disc to your PC and you have infinite back-up capacity for your digital memory. Each of these technologies uses relatively inexpensive removeable media, meaning that as long as you change the media, you can keep recording. These are all mostly used on the PC level, for home office use.
Bottom line: Use external drives to give your system a strong back-up. Tape drives are mostly for large-scale, mission critical applications, while hard drives can be adapted for both industrial and home use. Removeable media -- CD, DVD, MiniDisc -- are mostly for home use.