Must-Have Hard Drive Accessories

These gadgets turn ordinary hard drives into something more.

Western Digital WD TV Live Plus

This $150 media player lets you connect any hard drive via USB, and use it to play media content on your TV. This update adds Netflix, and it can play content across your home network and from popular Web sites like YouTube.

Seagate GoFlex TV HD Media Player

Seagate's answer to Western Digital's WD TV line, this $130 dock is designed to work with Seagate's FreeAgent GoFlex portable storage line and with any other drive on your network. Insert the drive into a slot protected by a flip-open door, and access media files on your TV. Or use other external Mac or PC drives via the USB port on the back.

Clickfree Transformer SE

This $80 USB dongle can attach your computer to any one of a number of devices and turn that device into a backup drive. Plug the Transformer into your PC or Mac, and then connect it to a USB 2.0 hard drive, or to your iPod/iPhone. Backup starts automatically once you've established the connection.

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Upgrade Cable--Auto Backup

The FreeAgent GoFlex Upgrade Cable is one of a bevy of available modules for the GoFlex line. Here, Seagate brings the software of its now-defunct Replica drive into a simple dongle. Functionally similar to the Clickfree Transformer SE (in the previous slide of this slideshow) but based on Rebit's backup software, which also powered Replica, the cable will initiate your backup immediately and automatically--requiring no effort on your part.

Newer Technology USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter

Have an older drive, and want to see what's on it? Migrating from one system to another, and want to ease your pain? USB-connected drive adapters like this one can help. This $35 Mac and PC device from Newer Tech is simply a cable with colorful status lights for IDE/ATA/ATAPI and SATA connections. It's compatible with any 2.5-inch, 3.5-inch, or 5.25-inch hard drive, and it works with optical drives, too.

Apricorn SATA Wire

Keep it supersimple with this SATA-to-USB wire. The wire is a bit short, but for $19, it's an easy and inexpensive way to hook up a 2.5-inch SATA drive quickly . It comes with disk imaging software, too.

Newer Technology Voyager Q

Prefer a more permanent-feeling setup for using a bare internal drive? The $90 Voyager Q is a premium dock that provides a stable base where you can insert either a 3.5-inch or a 2.5-inch SATA drive. At the back of the Voyager Q, you'll find ports for FireWire 800 (two of these), FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA. The dock works with Macs and PCs.

Newer Technology Voyager S3

Already have USB 3.0? This single-bay, $48 dock will accept a 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch hard drive, and will transfer data via either USB 2.0 or 3.0. It works with both Macs and PCs.

Apricorn DriveWire Universal Hard Drive Adapter

Apricorn's DriveWire is similar to the Newer Tech Universal Drive Adapter, but the DriveWire is a bit tidier looking. It handles 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch IDE and SATA drives, and comes with a suite of bundled cloning software.


This $130 white-and-pink device is the second-generation version of the first gadget for putting your hard drive on a network. Jack into one of the four USB ports, and you can share content via the Web or even via an iPhone or Android app.

IPEVO Mini Network Storage Adapter

The Mini Network Storage Adapter ($59) works with Mac, PC, and Linux systems. The blunt, poison-apple-green box, which has a single USB port, sits between your router and your storage device. It has native BitTorrent support, and it supports streaming to xBox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Hitachi SimpleNet

This USB 2.0-to-hard-drive adapter is black, but otherwise it resembles the IPEVO Mini Network Storage Adapter in the previous slide. It accepts a single USB drive and puts it on a wired network. Hitachi specifies Mac, PC, and Linux support for this device, and confirms that it will even work with Time Machine on Macs.

Seagate GoFlex Net Media Sharing Device

Another accessory for Seagate's GoFlex line, this $100 dock takes one or two FreeAgent GoFlex drives, and puts them onto your network. Inside, the dock uses Pogoplug's technology, which it also uses to enable Web sharing.

Ctera CloudPlug

Physically, CloudPlug looks a lot like the first-generation Pogoplug. The CloudPlug puts a single USB drive onto your network via gigabit ethernet.

Iomega iConnect

Iomega's slim, $100 box takes the smarts from the company's NAS drives and removes the hard drives--so you can bring your own storage onto the network instead. Plug any USB drive into one of the four ports on the iConnect, and you can access the drive locally via your network or remotely via the Web.

Clickfree Transformer NE

The Transformer NE looks almost identical in design to the Transformer SE, but the $100 Transformer Network Edition works to connect a USB drive to back up your computer over the network.

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