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External HDD

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by MrsKitty, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

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    I am thinking about buying an external HDD. I am taking a class in Operating Systems that will require multiple formats and OS installs. I only have a laptop to work on, thus I don't want to use it as I will spend eons getting my system back to the way I had it. The solution: external HDD.

    So.... Any suggestions on which brands to get? Looking through them online, they seem to be different manufacturers than Maxtor, Seagate, Western Digital and the common guys I know about. Also, suggest any places to buy other than New Egg and Tiger Direct?

    I am thinking I can go into my BIOS and just set "boot from USB" each time I need to work and not have any problems? Am I on the right track here?

    Thanks All!
     
  2. darin2

    darin2

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    I'm not sure how it would work using an external USB drive for multiple boot OS. It might be interesting to see how that is configured. I have used System Commander in the past with good success. I would suggest not purchasing a name brand external HD, but just get an enclosure and put what ever HD you want into it. You might come out cheaper doing that anway, and you could use a different HD for each OS. If you just playing around with the installations you could use some old 10GB drives or something similar just to play with.

    Something like THIS

    For website you can try

    www.atacom.com
    www.techdepot.com
     

  3. fastvfr

    fastvfr Ancient Tech

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    If your BIOS supports booting from a USB drive, then you should be fine.

    I use GAG bootloader to do this for me, and all it involves is booting to its floppy and using it to find all of the various boot sectors and super blocks for the OSes you install.

    It does install itself into the MBR of your primary HDD in order to save your setup, passwords ect., but I assure you that I have added and removed this from my hard drives dozens of times with no issues at all.

    If you delete one OS and install another to that partition, it is a simple matter to relabel that OS, then resave the info to the MBR - that's it.

    I have five different OSes on my PC right now, if that's any indication. The max number of OSes GAG will fire up is nine.

    Here's the link for it!
     
  4. jprj

    jprj

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    Why dont you just use a vmware or a virtual pc in order for you to have those different OS on your laptop. It may not be necessary to buy an external harddisk. (This of course depend on the present specs of your computer.)
     
  5. eljefe6

    eljefe6

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    At my workplace we use these extensively. They will plug into your internal IDE and make it just as easy to swap out drives. BTW even USB 2 has its speed issues. If you really want an external, use Firewire 800.

    Also, we only use Western Digital HD's, YMMV.
     
  6. Jtemple

    Jtemple Geek

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    My OS class involved writing my own Minix/Linux kernel and writing device drivers, etc.

    What I did to facilitate that was install a second HD and make it dual bootable.

    My Win XP drive remained untouched.
     
  7. chevrofreak

    chevrofreak Senior Member

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    Use an external harddrive, but use it for backing up your current hardrive. Windows has a program that will copy everything on your harddrive to one file, which would allow you to c transfer it all back once you have done a "restore" with the disc that came with your laptop.
     
  8. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

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    Tell me more about this...I am not familiar with a virtual pc or vmware.
     
  9. Washington D.C.

    Washington D.C.

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    Vmware is made for both Windows and Linux.There are trial versions and beta versions available http://www.vmware.com/
     
  10. Washington D.C.

    Washington D.C.

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    Virtual PC was bought by Microsoft from Connectix.There are versions for Mac and Windows http://www.vmware.com/
     
  11. Washington D.C.

    Washington D.C.

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  12. python1340

    python1340 Licensed to Ill

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    I was under the impression that USB drives were pre-formatted, plug and play, meaning a Windows-compatible format like NTFS. ???
     
  13. Washington D.C.

    Washington D.C.

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    USB 2.0 is a bit slow for running an OS.Good for back up.Firewire 800 exist but not really any hardware yet.Firewire 400 is on the edge of being fast enough.Both USB 2.0 and Firewre 400 will work though.For testing it should be alright.USB 1.1 is really to slow to operate.There have been problems with certain USB 2.0 and Firewire chipsets locking up and and freezing.Most external drives have both connectors now.If you have USB 2.0 you can try a small USB 2.0 drive and see how it runs.That sort of testing shouldn't require a very big drive.
     
  14. Washington D.C.

    Washington D.C.

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  15. Jtemple

    Jtemple Geek

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    VMWare/VirtualPC are excellent ideas! I use it all the time and can't believe I didn't suggest it first. Basically it is an application that lets you build your own OS images and run them in windowed mode on your pc. You cannot damage your current OS configuration that way, and if you make a catastrophic error building your image (new kernel for the class), you simply delete the image and start again. No hard drive to format, no computer to crash, no strings attached.
     
  16. Jtemple

    Jtemple Geek

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    VMWare/VirtualPC are excellent ideas! I use it all the time and can't believe I didn't suggest it first. Basically it is an application that lets you build your own OS images and run them in windowed mode on your pc. You cannot damage your current OS configuration that way, and if you make a catastrophic error building your image (new kernel for the class), you simply delete the image and start again. No hard drive to format, no computer to crash, no strings attached.
     
  17. NGWT

    NGWT

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    Virtual PC is way cool.

    I have three different flavors of Linux (RHEL3, FC3 and Mandrake10) and DOS6.22(which I installed so I could play the original DOOM) and all runs fantastic.

    It doesn't overwrite anything on your hard drive but creates a file (like a o/s swap file) and virtualizes the "hard drive" to the o/s that you are installing into Virtual PC. Formats it to the required file system and everything.
     
  18. greenlead

    greenlead

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    I have something similar to that. It makes it easy to switch between OSes as home, if I want Linux, I put it in, if I want Windows, I take it out.