Today’s Question: You recently wrote that your main computer is a laptop, and I think in the past you’ve said that you keep all of your photo files on your computer. I’m wondering how you manage that. I have 200 GB of photo files, which I keep on my laptop (my main computer) for ease of access, and together with my photo applications and other related ‘tools’, have often found certain programs slowing down and my laptop getting low on space. I know you have many more gigabytes of files than I do. Could you comment on how large a laptop you have and where and how you keep your files so that you don’t keep running out of laptop space?
Tim’s Quick Answer: In my mind the best solution for this situation is a bus-powered external hard drive, preferably one that is durable if you will be traveling. You can then keep your Lightroom catalog (if applicable) on the internal hard drive and all of your photos on the external hard drive.
More Detail: I have indeed said that my primary computer is a laptop, but I don’t keep all of my photos on the internal hard drive. If I said at some point that I did, that would have been a long time ago when I actually had plenty of storage for all of my photos on an internal drive. That is no longer the case.
A bus-powered hard drive is one that derives its power from the data connection (such as a USB or Thunderbolt connection) and therefore does not require a separate power adapter. This provides a streamlined solution that is especially helpful when traveling.
I am currently using LaCie Rugged external hard drives, and am very happy with them. I travel with several of the 4TB versions, which provide adequate capacity for all of my photos on one drive and production files and other data on another drive. You can find an example of a LaCie Rugged drive here: