How to use an external drive without any special software

How to use an external drive without any special software



Learn how to store and access data on your internal or external drive without the aid of any backup software, using Windows' simple interface.

Many, even most, Seagate and Maxtor-brand external drives are sold with bundled backup and management software. 

However, in some cases it is not possible to use such software.  A few examples are:

  1. A user has lost or uninstalled their software and needs a temporary (or permanent) means of using the external drive to backup data.

  2. A user's bundled backup software is malfunctioning for a time.

  3. A user prefers to backup data manually.

  4. The drive did not include any bundled backup software.

  5. The user is using the drive for additional storage and has an alternate method of backing up.

  6. Older external drive’s bundled software may not be supported in Windows 7 or Vista.  Check software compatibility:
    Windows 8 - Document ID: 004731
    Windows 7 - Document ID: 211931
    Windows Vista - Document ID: 202393
     

Every model of Seagate, Maxtor-brand, and Samsung external drive has a ready-to-use formatting already in place.  In Windows, there is no need to do anything special or additional to make the drive work.  Simply plug in the power, plug in the USB/Firewire/eSATA cable, and the drive should appear in (My) Computer and Windows Explorer almost immediately.

Once it is detected, all you have to do is move data into it.  There are 2 general ways to do this:

  1. Drag and drop
  2. Copy and paste

(Windows 8 has an additional option called file history. See this Microsoft article for details.)

Drag and drop

Here we will discuss dragging a piece of data from the (My) Documents folder to the external drive.  This exercise can be repeated with one file, many files, one folder, or many folders.

  1. Open first one window by double-clicking on (My) Computer.

  2. If the upper right-hand corner of the window that opens includes this symbol (Image), click it.
    It will change to this symbol: Image.

  3. Now you can resize it.  Move your mouse to a corner of the window.

  4. Click and hold down the mouse button, on the corner of the window.

  5. Move the mouse, still holding down the button, and the window corner will move with your mouse.  Resize it so that it only takes up a portion of your screen.

  6. Look for the Seagate, Maxtor-brand, or Samsung external drive in (My) Computer.  It will be a drive letter, like E: or F: (unless you have changed it).Open (My) Documents by double-clicking on it.

  7. Resize the window in the same way, so that each window takes up only a portion of the screen.

  8. Now you will have two windows.  One is the source, one is the destination.
    (Click to expand the image.)
    Image

  9. Click and hold down the mouse button, on the document you want to move.  It will illuminate and a "ghost" image will move with your mouse button.

  10. Drag the mouse so that the "ghost" image hovers over the icon representing the external drive (in this example, the V: drive).
    (Click to expand the image.)
    Image

  11. Let go of the mouse button and the file will copy automatically to the external drive.

  12. Double-click on the external drive’s letter. 
     Double-clicking sometimes causes Autoplay on our newer drives.
    Right-click on the external drive letter and choose Explore.
  13. The contents of the external drive will display on the window. 
    (Click to expand the image.)
    Image
     
  14. The task is complete!  This is known as a "drag-and-drop" action.


For Mac:

Simply follow the same instructions.  The key is to be able to see both

  1. the file or folder you want to move in one part of the screen, and
  2. the folder where you want to move it.

Just click and hold on the file or folder to move, keep holding down the mouse button and move the mouse over to where you want it to go.
If you encounter a message that the drive cannot be modified, you need to reformat the drive. See Document ID: 191171 or Document ID: 220091 on this issue.


Copy and Paste

  1. Double-click to open the place where the file you want to copy is located.  (My) Documents, for example.

  2. Find the file or folder you would like to copy and right-click on it.

  3. A drop-down menu will appear.  Choose Copy.
    (Click to expand the image.)
    Image

  4. The file or folder is now copied and held in the computer's short-term memory. 

  5. Double-click to open (My) Computer.

  6. Look for the Seagate, Maxtor-brand, or Samsung external drive in (My) Computer.  It will be a drive letter, like E: or F: (unless you have changed it).Double-click on the external drive. 

  7. The window will change to a display of the contents of the external drive.

  8. On the top bar of the window, choose Edit
    Alternatively, you may right-click on blank space within the window and a drop-down menu will appear.

  9. Choose Paste
    (Click to expand the image.)
    Image

  10. The file or folder will appear inside the window.  It is copied. 

  11. The task is complete!  This is known as a "copy-and-paste" action.

 

With either of these two methods, there is no need to use any special software to make use of the drive's storage.  You just move your data to it manually, and nothing more needs to be done.

Though any external drive can be used apart from its bundled software, certain Seagate, Maxtor-brand, and Samsung drives are not sold with bundled software.  Here is a list of them.

Drive image Drive name
Image FreeAgent Go for Mac (this drive is designed to be used with Mac Time Machine)
Image FreeAgent Desk for Mac (this drive is designed to be used with Mac Time Machine)
Image Seagate Desktop External drive
Image Seagate Portable External drive
Image Maxtor Basics

Image

FreeAgent Desktop 
Image

Image
Maxtor Personal Storage Family
Image Seagate External Drive
Image Seagate Portable Drive (most models)
Image Seagate Compact Flash Photo drive

 





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