I have to retract my earlier rant about being able to download to an external portable hard drive only once. It is partially true. I took another look at the user manual and realised that the copy function can also be used to copy selected videos to an external hard drive. On connecting the external hard drive to the camera the automatic reformatting still occurs and if a video has already been automatically downloaded the camera then displays a message "No Images". From here select the X and then select the Menu, followed by the Edit/Copy function. After that select the Copy function and follow the prompts. This allows individual videos and photos to be selected and copied to the external hard drive.
I have a Sony HDR-XR260VE Handicam with a Hard Drive. I have found an annoying feature in an otherwise excellent product. When downloading from the hard disc in the handicam to an external portable hard disc it appears that this can only be done once. After downloading (it was done at the Sony shop when I purchased the special connector required to connect the handicam to the portable disc) I subsequently reformatted the portable disc to NTFS so I could use it for another purpose. Later I tried to use it again on the handicam. It reformatted to FAT32 ok and also created the necessary folders but downloaded nothing because there were no new videos. I found that I could still download to a PC again but do not want to carry a heavy laptop around with me everywhere! This means that if for some reason the portable hard disc fails or is lost it is not possible to download to a new one.