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External Hard Drives - advice? HELP!!!!


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So my laptop is havin some issues, and it's under warranty, so I'm getting it fixed. I want to get an external hard drive this weekend so I have somewhere to put everything while its being fixed, and also to use as a backup once its fixed, or i get a new one. (One of the issues is that the cd burner no longer works, so it'll probably be the easiest way to get everything off here). But... I know absolutely nothing about external hard drives. I'm looking to spend under $200. Maybe 60 or 80 gigs. Do these things usually connect via USB? Any reccomended brands or ones to avoid? I'll probably be going to the Tiger Direct store in Markham to buy it, but I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks.

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Thanks Basher - my parents live right near Bayview and Major Mac, so it'll be super easy to pop in there while I'm visiting them this weekend.

But, well, I don't know if it's USB 2.0 or not... The laptop's about 2 and a half years old... how do i check?

(shainhouse has the same laptop as me.... shain, do you know?)

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Ok, so I wound up going to tiger direct, but i got a normal hard drive, and a case, and got them to put it together for me. Now I'm following all the instructions, and it's not working. Here's what going on:

I got a Maxtor 160GB hard drive and a 'super slim' usb 2.0 case. I have windows xp home.

It says to right click on 'my computer' choose 'manage' to go to the 'computer management' window.

Ok, no problem.

Then it says click on 'disk management' and all the drives are supposed to show. well, my internal hard drive, and my cd drive show up, but not the one i plugged in. I can;t find it anywhere.

The power is plugged in, there's a little red light on the drive, but i can;t find it anywhere on my computer. when i plug it in it even makes that little 'ba-ding' noise it makes when i plug in my mouse. i tried clicking refresh, i tried rebooting, i have no idea what to do.

any suggestions???

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