Q. My laptop has a two-gigabyte (Gb) hard disk, which I used to think was ample for my needs. But now I’m discovering I probably can use twice, and maybe even quadruple, that size. Short of buying a new laptop, what are my options?
A. You’ve got several options. Let’s begin with the no-new-hardware one. You can zip, that is, compress, files which you don’t use often. Pick up a copy of WinZip; it’s one of the best file-compressing applications you can find. It crunches a file to between 25% and 50% of its original size. You can download an evaluation copy at www.winzip.com . However, if you want more than file compression, consider ZipMagic. Not only does it zip and unzip (compress and uncompress), it does so on the fly, which means if you click on a file that has been compressed by ZipMagic, it will unzip automatically; you don’t have to stop and “uncompress” it before viewing it. For an evaluation copy, go to www.zipmagic.com .
Your other option is to buy an auxiliary hard drive that can plug into your laptop and any desktop. One of the most popular is from Iomega ( www.iomega.com ). The company produces several such drives. But the one I think is the most practical (because of its capacity) is the Zip drive. It’s about the size of a portable CD player. The model that’s been around for a few years can hold 100 megabytes (Mb) on a cartridge about the size of a floppy disk. Iomega just came out with a new slimmed-down Zip drive that can hold 250 Mb. Don’t worry about compatibility because the new 250 Mb Zip can read and write to the older Zip cartridges.