How to Transfer CDs & DVDs to USB External Hard Drives

Written by j.s. copper
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CDs and DVDs can take up a lot of shelf space. An external hard drive on the other hand, takes up a fraction of the physical space and holds a much larger amount of data. If you want to digitise and archive your physical discs to the storage drive, you can easily copy the data between the two storage methods using your computer and some basic copy/paste commands.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Connect the external hard drive to your computer. Insert the CD or DVD into the CD/DVD-ROM drive.

  2. 2

    Open "Computer" ("My Computer" on XP). Right-click the CD/DVD and select "Explore." A window will open, displaying the contents of the CD/DVD.

  3. 3

    Select "Edit > Select All." Select "Edit > Copy" and close the window.

  4. 4

    Double-click the external hard drive within "Computer" to open a window displaying the contents. Navigate to the folder where you wish to copy the CD/DVD contents.

  5. 5

    Select "Edit > Paste." The contents of the disc will be copied to the hard drive. Depending on the amount/size of the files, it may take a while to complete.

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