Gizmo's Freeware Forum

Gizmo's Freeware Forum (https://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/)
-   General Computer Support (https://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/general-computer-support/)
-   -   External HDD ROTs (https://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/general-computer-support/4939-external-hdd-rots.html)

15. Aug 2010 03:46 PM

External HDD ROTs
 
I am looking at setting up an external hard drives on 2 PCs for different purposes and I was wondering if there were any Rules of Thumb (ROTs) that I should take a look at first.

I have purchased USB hard drives in the past without any regard for the purpose in which they were intended. As an example, I thought all ext HDD's were bootable once a backup app or Image creator app did its magic. I discovered after the fact that my LaCie 500GB unit is a storage device only (by design) and can never be made bootable. I also thought bigger had to be better (but maybe not for the purpose I had in mind).

The two scenarios...

1. One yr old Laptop, internal 320GB HDD, W7/32 installed
Would like to purchase a new external HDD (I have 2 USB 2.0 ports). On this unit I would like to install W7/64 (to boot from) and also use it to for my W7/32 backups.

2. 8 yr old laptop, 40GB HDD, XP/Pro SP3 installed (USB 1.1 only)
Want to try out Linux here. I do not know how best to address this scenario as the internal HDD is also 8yr old. An external HDD seems like a reasonable investment as it can be used on another PC at a later date. The BIOS supports removable drives.

What ROTs should I consider?
Examples...
For OS recovery purposes: smaller GB size & keep only one OS on the unit?
Terabyte units: good investment (place to keep multiple OS images) or dumb idea for backup/recovery purposes?
Implementation: Not sure if booting directly from an ext HDD is a good thing or not. I understand the BIOS has to be set to allow this, but should it only be considered a temporary use, i.e. to recover only. The internal HDD should be set as the primary asap?
OS considerations: not sure that I am allowed to have W/32 and W7/64 licensed to the same laptop (I do have 2 separate legit licenses). I am sure there are other OS dependencies (no, not sure actually!).
Best setup: Know nothing about the setting up of primary and slaves (not sure if this applicable in either of my scenarios!).

The above are questions that I have asked myself (research has not helped all that much) and I am sure there are some very important ones that I am not considering. I don't even know the difference between a portable external HDD and an external desktop HDD (they list separately on electronic sites, but look the same to me).

16. Aug 2010 05:46 PM

I have done research and this is what I have found so far...

1. Can mix drive manufacturers on the same PC but the drive interface must be the same, e.g. SATA, SCSI, IDE etc. for drive copy purposes

2. When copying a smaller HDD to a larger one, resize partitions proportionately to expand the partitions to their new sizes on the larger disk, if not you end up with space on the new drive as unallocated (this option is not available in all software)

3.The BIOS that shows support for 'Removable Drives' does not necessarily mean that a USB external HDD is supported as a boot device

4.After a HDD to HDD copy: a jumper may have to be reset to make the new drive the master (check manufacturer's install instructions)

Item #3 kills my scenario 2 plan. I am now considering getting another internal HDD (larger) for this purpose, which means I will have to get my XP system copied over to the new device somehow (preload, no Win disks). I use windows backup and restore (hmmm, challenge looming). Time to research dual boot.

Item #2: I had not given much thought to the software until I found this. I need to find some freeware software that will do the resizing (and sector by sector cloning looks like a requirement too).

I think my scenario #1 is probably dead also. I am going to have to determine if I want to put W7/32 or W7/64 on this PC. I still need an external HDD for backups, so my research continues on that front.

Researching for ROTs are at least making me rethink my scenarios (they turned out to be dumb ideas actually). :o

Jojo Yee 17. Aug 2010 03:05 AM

Thanks emmjay for sharing your findings with us.

Not sure if you have tried Easeus Partition Manager or other free apps recommended in BF Partition Manager to resize partitions and take up the unallocated space in a hard disk.

18. Aug 2010 10:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jojoyee (Post 34265)
Thanks emmjay for sharing your findings with us.

Not sure if you have tried Easeus Partition Manager or other free apps recommended in BF Partition Manager to resize partitions and take up the unallocated space in a hard disk.

Good to hear from you Joyoyee. Thx for the links...I will definitely check them out. I think I will need a partition manager, a drive manager and a backup/restore manager (unless this comes with the HDD ... I know that some come with software and others do not).

jim 18. Aug 2010 10:52 PM

If it's any use to you, my son, my daughter and I bought a Seagate 500gig usb drive from Amazon (for about 60) which comes with various software. My son had a little problem with his but it was replaced free of charge. Daughter and I have had no problems at all over the about 18 months we have had them. Son used the built in software and says it performed perfectly. (Daughter and I have other preferred software). I know this is a freeware forum but you need to start somewhere and HDDs don't come free. :D

19. Aug 2010 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jim (Post 34376)
If it's any use to you, my son, my daughter and I bought a Seagate 500gig usb drive from Amazon (for about 60) which comes with various software. My son had a little problem with his but it was replaced free of charge. Daughter and I have had no problems at all over the about 18 months we have had them. Son used the built in software and says it performed perfectly. (Daughter and I have other preferred software). I know this is a freeware forum but you need to start somewhere and HDDs don't come free. :D

Thank you Jim, I very much appreciate your response. Reliability is a huge factor and it is good to hear that the Seagate units you purchased were such a good buy for you and your family. It appears that the top brands do include software (various degrees of capability) unless they are sold as 'bare units'. I am currently looking at the recommendations here at Gizmo (the pros and cons and user feedback is so helpful).

19. Aug 2010 03:45 PM

Research Update #2
This is the last installment (hope it helps others)...

As I have an older XP system and I am looking into trying out Linux I have since learned that the new HDD technology can be somewhat challenging. The right hardware and software component is now even more important.

So far Easeus Partition Manager looks good (up to 2TB support, but no W/64 support). Paragon free looks good too (Windows and Linux support).

Research results...

New Technology Considerations.

4096 byte sectors instead of 512 byte sectors.
The new technology drives use 4096 byte sectors, whereas most operating systems and/or partitioning tools are used to 512 byte sectors. This will cause problems if care is not taken when partitioning the drive for Linux, BSD, possibly other alternative operating systems. Windows XP and earlier are the worst effected, according to the manufacturer. Basically you have to align the partitions yourself so that they start on sectors divisible by 8. Windows Vista and Windows 7 apparently handle this out of the box.

Partioning Considerations

If you misalign your partitions, disk performance can suffer.

Performance Issues: If you don't know what you're doing, you can get lousy write performance (a factor of 3.3 performance drop across the board).
Linux is not "unaffected", e.g critical Linux tools like fdisk.

User Experience: To use fdisk, create a primary partition like normal. Once the partition is created, type 'x' to get into expert mode, then use the 'b' command to move the starting sector of the partition. Make sure that it is an integer multiple of 8.

The problem is that fdisk starts partitions on "cylinder" boundaries. The cylinders are 'faked', and they're reported as being 63 sectors. As a result, your partitions will start on 63-sector boundaries. 63 is obviously not a multiple of 8. Move the start of your first partition to block 64, and it makes all the difference in the world. Same goes for all other partitions. Realign them.

User experience: I ran benchmarks in Linux using a number of filesystems, and I found that with most filesystems, read performance and write performance with large files didn't suffer with misaligned partitions, but writes of many small files (unpacking a Linux kernel archive) could take several times as long with misaligned partitions as with aligned partitions.

Note: Physical versus Logical
This new technology drive uses the new 4KB physical sector, not to be confused with 4KB logical sectors. When you format a standard drive to have 4KB sectors that only relates to the logical size of the sectors, not their physical size. The physical sector size is set at manufacturing.

Operating System Considerations

If you are planning on running Windows XP on this drive you must either jump pins 7 and 8 or run an Alignment application.

User Experience: Read that by inserting short on Pins 7&8 you can use these in WHS as data drive (NOT, NOT, NOT as System drive!!!). Tried it and it works fine.

NB: User Experience is not mine (I found them while doing my research). I think they give a 'howto' perspective to the Rules of Thumb.

Pilgrim 20. Aug 2010 03:34 PM

emmjay,

Having just read through this thread I would like to contribute a few comments.

To start with the recommendation for Seagate is well founded as 4 out of 5 hard drives I have on 2 computers are made by them and I have never had any problems.
Also Seagate do a free program called Disk Wizard which is based on an older version of Acronis True Image, it does not do everything the later versions do but it works and there are often opportunities to upgrade to the later versions at very good prices.

Earlier this year I spent a couple of months researching alignment and there are several threads I started on various forums about the subject as well as a great deal by other people, I do not have any links to hand but a web search will turn up a lot of information.
The consensus was that different alignments can make a difference but it varies from system to system and on home computers any difference is often so small it cannot be noticed.
As far as Windows goes 7 and usually Vista will fresh install to a sector aligned position, XP-SP3 will sometimes install with this alignment but XP-SP2 and earlier usually do not. I never looked at Linux.

My interest in alignment arose when the Paragon Alignment Tool was offered for free. If you have not come across it have a look.

One other thing that I will mention is that most operating systems, both Linux and Windows can create their own partitions to suit their needs for space and format, so unless you are dual-booting it can be best to install the OS first and then consider the question of additional partitions.

21. Aug 2010 02:30 PM

Hi Pilgrim,
Great to hear from you and thank you for the info. I took your advise and googled Paragon Alignment Tool and found the Paragon website. Looked at all the products and only found the paid versions offered on the categories list (then I noticed the free tools at the bottom of the products page). Paragon Alignment Tool was not listed there. Back to google and ended up on the Wilders Forum (Paragon official forum). Latest posts on this tool ... looks as though the product has gone buggy. Here is one post (there are several others)
http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=276996
Anyways I will watch what happens here, and if the bugs get addressed I will try to find out where the free version is located and take a closer look at it.

11. Sep 2010 11:05 PM

Thought I should finish this off by letting you know what I eventually ended up doing.

I purchased a Western Digital 320GB ext HDD (I chose this over Seagate based on this link (a 2010 study of HDDs which gave WD a pretty good rating).
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...elab,2681.html

To setup my HDD I used Paragaon (free) which was easy to use and did allow me to implement all of the ROTs that I researched. I have the HDD working on my W7 system. I could not find a separate Paragon Alignment Tool (free), but the setup in the base tool did provide alignment options. I restored to make sure all was working and it too was a simple process and worked without errors. I am using an 5 year old HP PMD 500GB HDD to backup my Linux system (works on 512b sectors ... did not want to go with a new unit here).

Thank you to everyone who provided suggestions. I followed up on all of them. :)


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 07:41 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.