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Home Compare External Hard Drives

Compare the Best External Hard DrivesDecember 2018

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What is the Kagoo Score? Our unique external hard drives rating which considers: 500 US prices • 4,900 expert & user reviews • 1,000 product comparisons • 140 industry awards • Score breakdown
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Save Up To $164 on External Hard Drives View Today's Best Deals
Rank
Kagoo Score
Average Review Rating
Price
USB Powered
Weight
Hard Drive Capacity
Release Date
#1

OWC Mercury Elite Pro ‑ 1TB

17 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$137.75

Info
300g
Info
1TB
Info
Jun 2015
#2

Seagate DJI Fly Drive

69 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$109.99

Info
217g
Info
2TB
Info
Jun 2017
#3

G‑Technology G‑DRIVE Thunderbolt 3 ‑ 8Tb

98 Reviews
 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$459.95

Info
1.2kg
Info
8TB
Info
Apr 2017
#4

G‑Technology G‑DRIVE ‑ 10TB

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$329.95

Info
1.4kg
Info
10TB
Info
Jul 2016
#5

OWC Mercury On‑The‑Go Pro ‑ 1TB

4 Reviews
 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$399.99

Info
300g
Info
1TB
Info
Jan 2017
#6

Western Digital My Passport

15 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$52.97

Info
170g
Info
1TB
Info
Oct 2016
#7

79

Seagate Expansion Portable 1TB

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$49.99

Info
170g
Info
1TB
Info
Feb 2015
A good spec and top-value 170g external hard drive.
#8

79

Seagate Backup Plus Slim ‑ 1TB

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$57.62

Info
140g
Info
1TB
Info
Oct 2013
A good spec and top-value USB powered external hard drive.
#9

79

G‑Technology G‑DRIVE Mobile USB‑C ‑ 1Tb

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$74.95

Info
140g
Info
1TB
Info
May 2018
An spectacularly cheap and best selling USB powered external hard drive, with a good spec and a phenomenally light 140g weight.
#10

79

LaCie Rugged ‑ 1Tb

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$129.94

Info
100g
Info
1TB
Info
Jun 2016
An extremely light weight and affordable USB powered external hard drive, with a good spec.
Save $40
#11

79

LaCie Rugged Mini ‑ 1TB

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$79.99

Info
240g
Info
1TB
Info
Sep 2015
A good spec and great value for money 240g external hard drive.
#12

79

Transcend StoreJet 25M3 ‑ 2Tb

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$144.99

Info
216g
Info
2TB
Info
Apr 2014
A best selling and top-value 216g external hard drive, with a good spec.
Save $90
#13

78

LaCie Rugged Mini ‑ 2TB

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$109.99

Info
240g
Info
2TB
Info
Sep 2015
A good spec and impressive value for money 240g external hard drive.
#14

78

G‑Technology G‑Drive Mobile ‑ 1Tb

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$195.99

Info
295g
Info
1TB
Info
Sep 2012
A very popular and affordable 295g external hard drive, with a good spec.
Save $20
#15

78

G‑Technology G‑DRIVE ev RaW ‑ 1TB

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$79.95

Info
240g
Info
1TB
Info
Jan 2015
An affordable and good spec 240g external hard drive.
Save $10
#16

78

Seagate Backup Plus Portable Slim ‑ 1TB

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$49.99

Info
159g
Info
1TB
Info
Apr 2015
The best scoring external hard drive under $50.
#17

78

Seagate STEA500400

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$65.42

Info
170g
Info
500GB
Info
Jun 2017
A good spec and top-value 170g external hard drive.
#18

78

Seagate Expansion ‑ 2TB

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$69.99

Info
170g
Info
2TB
Info
Sep 2015
A very good value for money and good spec 170g external hard drive.
#19

78

Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable ‑ 2Tb

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$89.99

Info
140g
Info
2TB
Info
Jan 2017
An affordable and good spec USB powered external hard drive.
#20

78

Western Digital My Passport Ultra ‑ 2Tb

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$83.49

Info
230g
Info
2TB
Info
May 2015
A good spec and affordable 230g external hard drive.

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$1k Price Drop
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Amazon External Hard Drive Deals

What Are The Best External Hard Drive Brands?

We looked at the reviews for every external hard drive and used this to calculate the average overall rating of each brand. The top rated external hard drive brand is Western Digital with an average rating of 78%. Compare all award winning external hard drives.

Rank Brand Number of External Hard Drives Price Range Average Rating
#1
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Western Digital External Hard Drives 97 $50 - $1,551
78%
1,198 reviews
#2
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Seagate External Hard Drives 112 $50 - $1,204
69%
525 reviews
#3
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G-Technology External Hard Drives 42 $58 - $5,400
66%
337 reviews
#4
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Buffalo External Hard Drives 37 $75 - $213
50%
46 reviews
#5
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LaCie External Hard Drives 73 $60 - $500
49%
79 reviews
#6
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A-DATA External Hard Drives 50 $47 - $156
48%
72 reviews
#7
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iStorage External Hard Drives 29 $428 - $428
47%
54 reviews
#8
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Freecom External Hard Drives 22
46%
32 reviews
#9
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Silicon Power External Hard Drives 38 $80 - $425
16%
3 reviews
#10
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Intenso External Hard Drives 25 $145 - $145
9%
3 reviews
#11
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Toshiba External Hard Drives 61 $49 - $256
#12
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BUSlink External Hard Drives 24 $92 - $560
#13
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Fantom Drives External Hard Drives 24 $47 - $201

Trending External Hard Drive Comparisons

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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
More popular
VS
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Seagate
2TB Backup Plus Slim
$99.71
$45 cheaper
Better brand
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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
More popular
VS
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Seagate
Expansion Portable 1TB
$49.99
$95 cheaper
Better brand
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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
More popular
VS
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LaCie
Rugged Mini - 1TB
$79.99
$65 cheaper
Better brand
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Western Digital
My Passport Ultra - 2Tb
$83.49
$62 cheaper
Better brand
VS
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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
More popular
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LaCie
Rugged Thunderbolt - 2TB
$153.30
More popular
VS
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Seagate
Desktop - 3Tb
$84.99
$68 cheaper
Better brand
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Western Digital
My Passport Ultra - 2Tb
$83.49
$17 cheaper
Better brand
VS
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Seagate
Backup Plus Portable - 4Tb
$99.99
More popular
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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
Eight more
awards
Marginally
better expert
reviews
VS
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LaCie
Rugged USB-C - 2Tb
$119.99
$25 cheaper
User reviews
are appreciably
better
Better brand
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OWC
Mercury On-The-Go Pro - 1TB
$399.99
$60 cheaper
Considerably
better user
reviews
VS
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G-Technology
G-DRIVE Thunderbolt 3 - 8Tb
$459.95
Better brand
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G-Technology
G-DRIVE - 10TB
$329.95
Better brand
VS
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LaCie
Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C - 5TB
$249.95
$80 cheaper
More popular
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Seagate
Backup Plus Slim Portable - 2Tb
$89.99
$55 cheaper
Better brand
VS
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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
More popular
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G-Technology
G-DRIVE ev RaW - 1TB
$79.95
$20 cheaper
More popular
VS
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Seagate
2TB Backup Plus Slim
$99.71
Better brand
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Western Digital
My Passport Ultra - 2Tb
$83.49
$166 cheaper
Better brand
VS
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LaCie
Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C - 5TB
$249.95
More popular
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G-Technology
G-DRIVE ev RaW
$179.95
User reviews
are a little
better
VS
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Seagate
STEB6000403
$119.99
$60 cheaper
Better brand
More popular
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LaCie
Porsche Design - 2Tb
$94.95
More popular
VS
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Seagate
Desktop - 3Tb
$84.99
$10 cheaper
Seven more
awards
Better brand
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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
More popular
VS
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Seagate
Desktop - 3Tb
$84.99
$60 cheaper
Better brand
loading image
OWC
Mercury Elite Pro - 1TB
$137.75
Expert reviews
are slightly
better
VS
loading image
LaCie
Rugged USB-C - 2Tb
$119.99
$18 cheaper
Seven more
awards
Better brand
loading image
Western Digital
My Passport Ultra - 1Tb
$75.97
$64 cheaper
Better brand
VS
loading image
LaCie
Porsche Design - 5Tb
$139.99
More popular
loading image
Seagate
2TB Backup Plus Slim
$99.71
Better brand
VS
loading image
G-Technology
G-DRIVE Mobile USB-C - 1Tb
$74.95
$25 cheaper
More popular
loading image
LaCie
Rugged Mini - 1TB
$79.99
$5 cheaper
More popular
VS
loading image
Seagate
Desktop - 3Tb
$84.99
Better brand
loading image
Seagate
Expansion Portable 1TB
$49.99
$30 cheaper
Better brand
VS
loading image
LaCie
Rugged Mini - 1TB
$79.99
More popular

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

QHow is the capacity of hard drives measures?
AModern external hard drives are measured in gigabytes (Gb), which equates to approximately 1,000 megabytes (Mb). A single mp3 takes up about 3-4Mb, while a single picture takes 1-2Mb. Larger capacity drives are measured in terrbytes (Tb), where 1Tb = 1,000Gb.
QWhat security is available for external hard drives?
AMost hard drives lack any serious security options - however some have password protection to only allow authorised access. This can be a software password, or an actual physical keypad on the drive itself. Heavier degrees of security are available - including biometric fingerprint scanners, which will only unlock the data to someone with authorised fingerprints.
QHow are external hard drives powered?
AMost external hard drives are powered via USB, meaning they can be plugged directly into the computer and used from there. However some very large/powerful drives need too much power for USB alone, and will also require am external power supply to function properly.

External Hard Drive Buying Guide

External hard drives are portable and used to backup files and data from your computer, so they’re safeguarded in case of accident or for retrieval at a later date. While Cloud-based backups are being used more and more for backups, external hard drives still have several important benefits compared to online backups:

  • Peace of mind: many people don’t 100% trust the Cloud yet, and having their data stored in some unknown, invisible server somewhere leaves them worried about the long-term safety of their data. External hard drives offer tangible, physical objects to safely backup your files, without having to rely on 3rd-party companies.
  • Backing up and restoring files is far faster, especially with newer models that use USB 3 for transferring data.
  • Data can be retrieved without needing a net connection, making them useful if travelling or if you find yourself somewhere without a solid net connection.
  • High-level security options - such as fingerprint scanners, palm vein scanners and number pads - offer vastly increased security and peace of mind when storing very important files. Moreover, there is the increased security of being able to physically lock away the hard drives away from prying eyes.
  • Finally, USB hard drives are still one of the best methods for quickly moving very large files between different computers. It is frequently easier (as long as the computers aren’t too far apart) to simply transfer the file to the drive, plug it in to the second computer, and transfer rather than having to deal with slower upload/download speeds from services such as Dropbox.
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Capacity

The main important consideration when choosing an external hard drive is the capacity. This Is a measure of how much data the drive can hold, and is measured in gigabytes (Gb) or terrabytes (Tb) . A gigabyte is 1000 megabytes, and a terabyte is 1000 gigabytes. Our drives range from relatively small portable 120gig drives to enormous 5Tb drives, which can safely hold all the data from multiple machines at once. Generally speaking the higher the capacity the better, but it does depend on what you’re going to be backing up. If you only use your computer to store documents, low-res photos and the like, a 2-500 gig drive should be enough. On the other hand, large capacity drives are useful for storing RAW photos, video editing or Photoshop files.

Size & Portability

Hand in hand with the capacity of the drive is its size. Generally speaking, the larger the capacity of a drive, the bigger it is. Small-capacity drives are extremely portable, being no larger than a mobile phone, so can be transported very easily. On the other end of the scale, the very large capacity drives are not meant to be portable, and usually sit in or under your desk as a safe deposit for all your data. Portability and weight will only become a real issue when choosing the very high-capacity drives, but it is worth paying attention to if you plan on transporting the drive frequently.

Read/Write Speeds

Read & write speeds measure how quickly data can be written from & to the external hard drive. This is measures in bytes per second - the higher the speed, the faster large files (such as movies) will be transferred onto or from the drive. The read-write speeds are also affected by the USB version supported - USB 3.0 supported drives allow far higher transfer rates than USB 2 drives, so it is worth seeking out the newest drive you can for the fastest data transfer speeds.

Power

On the subject of USBs, external hard drives are powered by 2 main methods: via USB or externally power lead. Smaller drives will be powered via USB - this means that the same lead that transfers the data also powers the device. This means no battery, no extra leads, and they are far more portable. Larger drives may be so big and powerful that USB alone can’t provide enough power - in which case they may need an external power connection to properly function. This means that extra consideration has to be made for a spare power socket and the required leads - making them less use when on the go.

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Extras

Finally, there are a wealth of extras that can be found in more advanced models of external hard drives. Some of these may only be useful in specific situations, and you will usually pay more for them, but the utility may well be worth the extra cost. Some examples of extra features include:

  • Integrated card reader: a built in card reader in the drive allows the device to also read/write to SD cards.
  • Fingerprint scanner: an optical fingerprint scanner drastically increases the security of your device, by meaning only specific fingerprints can unlock the device and access the files. For even greater security, a ‘palm vein’ scanner detects the blood pumping through the unique arrangement of veins in your hand, meaning that the scanner cannot be fooled by severed fingers - the owner has to be there in person and alive.
  • Ruggedized outer layer: for those who frequently take drives outdoors or in harsh conditions, a hefty rubber or metal basing protects the device from damage, keeping your files intact through even the worst conditions.

External Hard Drive Retailers, Prices and Features

External Hard Drive Prices

External hard drives range in price from $35 to $5,400 and in total we found prices for 272 external hard drives. A new external hard drive costs on average $240 and 80% of external hard drives are priced between $65 and $400. The cheapest external hard drive that we found is the Edge DiskGO - 160GB at only $36, and the most expensive is the G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle XL - 64Tb at $5,400.

External Hard Drive Brands - Price Range

The average price of G-Technology external hard drives is $667 which is the highest average price of all external hard drive brands. G-Technology external hard drives start at $58 and their most expensive external hard drive costs $5,400.

The second highest average external hard drive price out of all brands is ioSafe external hard drives with an average price of $453. ioSafe external hard drives start at $280 and their most expensive external hard drive costs $665.

IStorage external hard drives range in price from $428 to $428, and the third highest average external hard drive price out of all brands is iStorage external hard drives with an average price of $428.

External Hard Drive Brands - Average Ratings

We have checked 755 expert reviews and 2,564 user reviews for external hard drives and used this information to determine the average rating for each brand of external hard drive. The top three external hard drive brands are Western Digital, Seagate and G-Technology. Western Digital has an average rating of 78%, Seagate has an average rating of 69% and G-Technology has an average rating of 66%.

Biggest External Hard Drive Retailers

The biggest external hard drive retailer by number of products currently for sale is Adorama. We found 133 current external hard drive offers from Adorama. The second biggest retailer is Overstock with 48 offers. That means Adorama is more than twice as big as Overstock when it comes to external hard drives. Target is the third biggest retailer with 20 current offers.

When Are Most New External Hard Drives Released?

We looked at the release dates for new external hard drives over the last 3 years, but couldn't see any obvious pattern. Last year most new external hard drives were released in April, with 32 new external hard drives released that month. October was the biggest month in 2016 for new external hard drives, with 37 new external hard drives released that month. 72 new external hard drives were released in September 2015 making it the biggest month that year for new external hard drive releases.

How Fast Do External Hard Drive Prices Drop After Release?

In the first 6 months after release, external hard drives drop in price by 2% on average. That means a saving of $5 on a typical $239 new external hard drive if you wait 6 months before buying.

Weights

'Weight' denotes the weight of the external hard drive, measured in grams (g).

Across the range of external hard drives, the weights range from 41g to 11.4kg. The weights of the majority of external hard drives range from 0g to 300g. The external hard drive with the heaviest weight is the G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle XL - 24Tb, which is an 11.4kg external hard drive and currently retails for $2,199.95. The external hard drive with the lightest weight is the LaCie Rugged Secure - 2Tb, which is a 100g external hard drive and sells for $139.94.

A heavier hard drive will be bulkier, and more annoying to carry around.

USB Powered

Whether the hard drive is powered by USB or not.

The vast majority of the 817 new external hard drives currently listed on Kagoo are USB powered external hard drives. 653 external hard drives out of 817 are USB powered external hard drives.

Hard Drive Capacities

'Hard Drive Capacity' denotes how much data the hard drive can hold, measured in gigabytes (GB).

Comparing all external hard drives, the hard drive capacities range from 1GB to 64TB. The hard drive capacities of most external hard drives range from 0GB to 1.5TB. The external hard drive with the biggest hard drive capacity is the G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle XL - 64Tb, which is a 64TB external hard drive and is available at $5,399.95. The external hard drive with the smallest hard drive capacity is the Western Digital WD My Passport Wireless - 1TB, which is a 1GB external hard drive and currently retails for $189.88.

A bigger hard drive capacity means that it can hold more files and data at once.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for External Hard Drives?

The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying external hard drives. For each retailer it shows the total number of external hard drives where they currently have a market leading price. The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying external hard drives. For each retailer we took all of their prices and looked at what proportion of those prices where the cheapest on the market. The cheapest retailer that we found was Adorama. 74 of their external hard drive prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

Proportion of External Hard Drives for Which Each Retailer is Cheapest?

Assessing how cheap each retailer is for external hard drives by counting the number of cheapest prices for that retailer, makes the retailers that offer the greatest number of external hard drive prices more likely to offer the greatest number of cheapest prices. The chart below considers the proportion of each retailer's external hard drive prices that are the cheapest compared to other retailers. The cheapest retailer that we found using this approach was Adorama. 55.6% of their external hard drive prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

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