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questions about external hard drive

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by starchild, Oct 14, 2008.

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  1. starchild

    starchild Thread Starter

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    I have a Dell XPS 400 PC with WIN XP and sp2 It has the 80gb hd that came with it. I thought at the time "why would anyone need more than 80 gb? But, I take a lot of pictures and have been saving them (off the hd) on DVDs, but hard to find ones I want, and the 80 gb fills up fast.
    I am getting a 250 gb external hard drive. I've never had one, and know little about them, just what I've been able to find for info online.
    It has it's own power source, and for 2 and 1.1 USB (I verified mine can use 2)
    When I get it, I just plug it in and it sets up like new hardware? It will take the D drive and push the D and E drives ( CD/DVD player/burner) I now have to E and F?
    Anything specific I need to do or watch for or do? Set it for master/slave?
    After it's installed, will I be able to unplug it and use it on another PC, and move it back and forth?
    Someone is giving me a PC (I want to use as a spare) that has WIN 98 SE (the hd I'm getting says it works with that, too)
    What would be the best way to back up the OS from the WIN XP computer (and maybe the 98 SE since I don't have a reinstall CD for that version)? And save it on the external hd?
    I know, externals come a lot bigger than 250, but it's all I could afford right now.
    I'd like to use it to back up the C drive (maybe on both pcs) and save pictures, at least the ones I am working with at the time, or ones I think I might want at some time.
    Thanks,
    Carrie
     
  2. fairnooks

    fairnooks Banned

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    Single USB external hard drives are plug and play (use) on XP systems, assigning the next available drive letter to the device. Your hard drive sounds like it is preformatted with the FAT32 file system so it will be compatible with both XP and Win98se. However, to make it fully compatible with 98se you may need to install a driver on that system for it. Sometimes the company will provide the mass storage driver on a CD with the hard drive or you can get it from their website, or they might leave you hanging.

    If so and you need them, many times generic drivers will work which you can get from the following site; http://www.technical-assistance.co.uk/kb/win98se-usb-mass-storage-drivers.php.
     
  3. Courtneyc

    Courtneyc

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    First off, depending on where you are, a 500GB will run you about $100 or less.

    When you get the drive, plug in the power cable, then plug the drive into an available USB port. It will automatically take the next available consecutive drive letter. For instance, if you have drives C: through G: (regardless of what kind of drives they are, including thumb drives, card readers or optical), the new USB drive will be drive H:.

    If you leave it formatted to the default (FAT32), it will work on both XP and Win98 without any changes. Reformat it as NTFS and anything below 2000 gets kicked out of the picture.

    In other words, the external USB drive will function the same way a thumb drive would. If WinSE needs a driver, it will come with the drive.

    Courtney
     
  4. starchild

    starchild Thread Starter

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    Thanks!
    It just came today (it was $56 with the shipping, from an ebay auction) and it's sitting here with all it's cords, etc. Bigger than I thought. It has a stand to put it in, too.
    I'm thinking (just a guess) that maybe it could be taken out of the case and built in, if a person wanted.
    Since I am getting another PC (the WIN 98 SE one) maybe next week, for a spare/bedroom one, I like the idea of moving info back and forth like this.
    I'm printing out your posts.
     
  5. starchild

    starchild Thread Starter

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    I put it on and it set up, it's on F drive
    and says NTFS system
    It says on the box it works with Win 98 SE up to XP and there's no driver with it.
    I'm not too concerned about that, I don't even have the SE yet. And, it has a burner in it (the owner isn't sure if it's a CD or DVD, someone gave it to her after her previous one broke, till she could get another, and she never burns discs) But, whatever it burns, I could use that to transfer any info back and forth.
    Of course, I could also use it to learn to network them.
    I don't even know how often I'll be using the SE one, but a few weeks ago, when the modem on my "good one" went, I was lost without being able to go online and yell for HELP and/or order something (like a new modem)
    So, if nothing else, it will be set up for a backup/spare.
    And to think, 10 years ago, I used to say "I don't see what anyone can do with a computer they can't with a notebook and pen..." (like keep records)
    Now I'm lost without it, it's my source of information, creativity and connection to the world.
     
  6. vicks

    vicks

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    For ease in moving info between 2 pc's I find a usb flash drive is fast and easy to use. I just plug it in then open what I want to put on it (open the drive too) and drag/drop . do the reverse to put it in a folder on the other computer.
    Flash drives (aka thumb drives) are quite inexpensive now (1 gig for less than $20.00 at Walmart here in town)
    vicks
     
  7. starchild

    starchild Thread Starter

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    Thanks, Vicks that is a good idea.
    I know what flash drives are, but never had one.
    This external hd is a lot bigger than I thought it would be and plugs in the power source, too, so it would be more to move between computers.
    After I get the other pc, I will look into the flash drive.
    One time when I had 2 pcs, I thought I could use floppy discs to move data, but turned out they didn't work with each other (Win XP and 98) I always thought they were more universal and could be used on anything.
    When I got this Dell 2 1/2 years ago, the floppy/A drive was an option and I got it, I guess out of habit, I wanted it just in case I ever needed it (LOL)
    I haven't used it for anything.
     
  8. vicks

    vicks

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    Yepper.. Floppies are going the way of the old 45rpm and 33-1/3 rpm records. Were great for some time, didn't hold a lot of info tho. Most newer machines are sold w/o the floppy drive.
    Happy computing
    vicks
     
  9. fairnooks

    fairnooks Banned

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    Two little points so you don't run into any confusion in the future (near or far). One is you'll need a mass storage driver for the 98SE system to use a flash drive as well if none have ever been installed on it previous.

    Two, is the USB drive you got completely factory spec, or is there a chance it was out of the box previous? I say that because you mention it says the file system is NTFS. Someone must have reformatted it if that's true because NTFS is not compatible with 98SE. FAT32 would be the interchangable file system that both can read from and write to.

    So if you still decide you want compatability and before you put a bunch of data on it, there's a program called SwissKnife (http://www.download.com/CompuApps-SwissKnife-V3/3000-2248_4-10070864.html) you can use to format a large drive (>32GB) to FAT32.

    That's it, as Vicks says happy computering.
     
  10. vicks

    vicks

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    I have several thumb drives, some work with no problem on 98SE others need special drivers.
    Vicks
     
  11. astrogirl

    astrogirl

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    Hi all

    I've just realized that I have only about 1.6GB space left on my 60GB laptop. I can't copy DVDs, the msg says I don't have enough space to copy. I've been saving all these music and photos and it's just growing. Can DVDs be copied to store in external hard drives?

    I've never used an external HD before.
    How would I use the external HD, do I continue to save all these music and photos on my laptop and then drag and drop like using a thumb drive?

    If I only keep program files on my laptop and keep all my other files (word, music, photos) on the external HD, will I be able to access my photo files on Picasa on laptop and the others on the associated programs? Is this a good idea?

    What's the preferred way to use an external HD to manage my storage problems/back up so as to free up space on my laptop?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  12. fairnooks

    fairnooks Banned

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    Ideally you probably would want to keep a copy of data on the external so you actually have a backup but if you run out of room on the laptop and upgrading the drive to a larger one or backing up to yet another external or online for true backup, then its more of a risk to just keep the one copy on the external for the sake of room but it will live there just as happilly as anywhere else. Its perfectly fine to drag and drop or use whatever method works in Windows. Any program you open and want to access files from the external drive is as simple as navigating to the F: drive and the location of the file there instead of on the internal drive. With Picasa you can have it re-inventory your whole system at any point or go into the settings and add the F: drive or any subfolder thereon and it will watch that folder from then on as well if it doesn't do it all automatically for you.

    In summary, its basically no different than using your internal drive except the drive letter is F: instead of what I assume is C: (for the internal).
     
  13. astrogirl

    astrogirl

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    Thanks fairnooks!
     
  14. astrogirl

    astrogirl

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    Hi all

    I just bought WD elements 320 HD. When I plug it into a USB hub that's is already plugged into my laptop, it does not show up on 'my computer'.

    It only shows when I connect it directly into my laptop's USB port, as Elements E drive and it's 298 GB . Is this normal??

    Does this mean that I can only use it directly plugged into my laptop's USB port? I have only 3 ports and 2 of them are stacked top and bottom on the right, I plug in my mouse here and any other USB plug would sort of squeeze against each other, I'm afraid to ruin anything here so I'm only using 1 port, what a waste!

    The other is a vertical USB port on my left side, I always use a hub with this port because my printer etc are here and there's more space on this side of my desk. Also, if the USB is fat, it will raise my laptop a little, that's the reason why I've been using a USB hub.

    My C Drvie is NTFS and the external hd is FAT32, does this matter or make any difference? What does it mean?

    HOW????? Thanks in advance!!
     
  15. fairnooks

    fairnooks Banned

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    All good questions, all pertaining to the nuances of computers. File systems in this case don't make any difference. Hubs and external drives sometimes work together, sometimes don't. Usually you'll have more success if its a powered hub that can distrubute a consistent power level to every port. Is the mouse USB plug a little fatter than ordinary? Usually there should be no problem double plugging into an over and under arrangement. You can buy short extensions with normal width plugs if needed. On the other side you'd have to elevate the laptop just enough or something because you're right that its not a good idea to have the weight resting and wiggling on the plug all the time.

    Finally the 320 GB drvie showing up as 298 GB in Windows is normal. It has to do with two different measures of what a gigabyte is. Manufacturers use one measure, computers use the other.
     
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