Parallel port storage comes in the form of removable cartridge drives.
These drives allow you to store data on high-capacity disks that can be used as archives or be shared used with other computers.
You should consider adding a removable cartridge drive to your computer if you want to cheaply and relatively painlessly expand your computer's storage capacity, or if you need to move large files between two computers that are not mutually networked.
A removable cartridge drive is a good storage solution if you find that your hard drive is too small, or if you want to bring home large files from work or school.
Most removable cartridge are available in both parallel port and SCSI external configurations.
Parallel port drives are generally easier to connect to the computer, because they are attached directly to the computer's printer port and require no special hardware configuration.
SCSI drives are usually faster than parallel port drives; they can copy, retrieve, and save data more quickly.
However, they require that a SCSI controller, a relatively uncommon component, be installed inside the computer.
A SCSI controller must be purchased separately, making the overall cost of SCSI drives greater in general.
There are many different parallel port removable cartridge drives available.
Each has a unique type of media, and almost none can use media from another drive.
There is very little variation among different makes of drives in terms of features;
each package comes with the drive and one cartridge containing utility programs.
However, each drive has advantages and disadvantages in terms of capacity, cost, and popularity.
The capacity of the drive's media should be a major consideration.
If you want to use your drive to backup your hard drive, a drive with media of about one gigabyte would probably be most suitable.
If you want to use your drive to move files between computers, on the other hand, a drive with media only a fraction as large in capacity would probably be quite adequate.
The cost of the drive and the cost of the media usually depend on the capacity of the media.
Drives with media of higher capacity tend to be more expensive, as do their media, but their "per megabyte" cost tends to be lower as more cartridges are purchased.
Removable cartridge drives range in price from approximately $100 to $300.
Media cost as little as $15 each and as much as $100 each.
The popularity of the drive (i.e. how widely it's used) should only be considered if you need to share files with other computers.
If you are going to use the drive only to make backups or store archives with one computer, you can choose the drive that best fits your needs regardless of its popularity.
Conversely, if you need a drive for home so that you can take files to and from work, look for a drive that is already being used at work.
It takes about 15 minutes to install a parallel port removable cartridge drive. No tools are needed.
Click here for a list of links to parallel port storage drive manufacturers.