I learned the value of an external hard drive quickly when Windows 10 trashed my home computer. <sigh> That was not a fun time. I'm back on Windows 7 Professional and that's where I'm staying until this computer dies.
Your computer should be backed up regularly and the backup needs to be stored somewhere other than on your computer. External hard drives are portable, secure storage for your data and are commonly used precisely for this purpose. Of course, the cloud is the big thing nowadays, but many people - like me - still like to use the external drives. (Vinyl records are coming back......)
New technology has made these drives smaller, sleeker and faster than ever before.
They're easy to carry, lightweight, and with SuperSpeed USB 3.0 capability you can blaze through tasks faster than ever. In case you're not familiar with USB 3.0, don't worry. USB 3.0 is backward compatible to USB 2.0, so you're covered.
Verbatim drives, like the one shown here, come with backup software pre-installed for full system backup and restore functionality. And they're compatible with recent versions of Linux, MAC OS and Windows.
Be smart - make sure you have a regularly scheduled back up on your computer and an easily accessible external storage solution. Do it before you need it!