External hard drive question

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Sarcasm8

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My wife works off of a laptop, but likes to do a lot of work with Photoshop and InDesign. I don't particularly want these files eating up a ton of my disk space on my desktop. Therefore I have a question about external hard drives.

If I was to get, say a 160GB Maxtor external drive, is that only a dumping station for photo/music/etc files and back-up? Or could I install those Adobe programs on it, let her hook her laptop up to it whenever she wants and run the programs off of it when she wants to do that sort of stuff, sort of like a slave drive on a desktop?

Thanks in advance for the advice. It is always helpful and appreciated.
 

~Candy~

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If you are going to use an external to run programs off of, I'd be sure it had a case fan in it. I have a couple of externals I use for backups and storage, but one gets REALLY hot if I leave it on all the time. It does not have a case fan. I think the Maxtor you are speaking of does.

Office Max has a 120 WD external for $70 after rebates, good thru tomorrow. See page 7 of their flyer.
 

Sarcasm8

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Thanks. That answers that question. Any advice upfront on hooking it up to a laptop? Should I connect thru the docking station somehow or a direct connection to the laptop?
 

~Candy~

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Do you have a USB port on it? If so, just plug it into the laptop that way.
 

Sarcasm8

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Yes I do. That's what I planned on doing. I just wanted to double-check with you guys since you know what you're talking about and I, on the other hand, tinker with crap until it breaks and you guys have to bail me out.
 

JohnWill

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I think it's a REAL BAD idea to install applications on a removable drive.
 

Sarcasm8

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Would you mind elaborating before I move forward? And do you have any other suggestions for my dilemma?
 

Sarcasm8

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That's true. Can you give me some insight on why you don't recommend running apps off of an external? I want to make an informed decision before I move forward.

Thanks.
 

~Candy~

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My first thoughts would be the going back and forth, as it is sometimes now, I can get an I/O error when trying to copy a bunch of files...but I'm sure johnwill will pipe in anytime now :)
 

DaveBurnett

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If John won't, I will.
The main reason for not running programs off external drives is that external drives are far more likely to change their drive letter (as Acacandy is well aware :) ) and as a result any installed programs that have entries in the registry pointing to a particular drive are far more likely to fail because the letter has changed. Another reason is speed and the amount of CPU power used actually accessing the drive (especially USB).
You must at least make sure it is USB2.0 not 1.x
 

~Candy~

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:eek:

Oh, yes, I forgot about that aspect :eek:

Thanks for reminding me of my external problems, Dave :p :p Can't you assign a drive letter to it? Like, say, Z???? :D
 

DaveBurnett

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Can't you assign a drive letter to it? Like, say, Z????
Yes you can, but if you use a different slot the next time it will not recognise it as the same drive. Also windows has a nasty habit of 'forgetting' you have assigned a letter.
 

JohnWill

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Oddly enough, I don't have either of the problems that Dave speaks of. My disks are remembered for months, and I can plug in a USB/Firewire drive on either the USB or the Firewire interface, and it remembers the drive letter.

The thing that changes that is if you plug assign a different drive to that drive letter, say plugging in a new drive that defaults to that drive letter.
 
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