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Back story: I have a WD Passport USB hard drive that I take back and forth from work every day. At both ends, we have a Windows Home Server backing up all computers. I am plagued every day by a pop up message helpfully telling me that I have a new hard drive that I need to set up. The drive is also added automatically to the list of drives to backup, and I don't want to back up this drive. The Home Server does not remember the setting if I tell it to exclude this drive from the backup. I've given up hope solving this problem directly, but noticed that all the flash drives that I attach and detach every day don't cause this problem.

I suspect that the difference is that the Removable Media Bit is set and so the backup server is ignoring these drives.

I would like my removable hard drive to look like a Removable drive as well. I've downloaded and tried the Lexmark BootIt utility but this doesn't work. It seems like this is only for going the other direction, ie. making a flash drive look like a fixed drive. Is it able to go the other way as well? Any other utilities to try to set the RMB?

How can I make my hard drive appear to be removable rather than fixed/local/basic?

Update: I didn't mention that my drive is formatted NTFS -- is this preventing me from declaring it Removable?

Update: I've since solved this problem by disabling "Network Health Notifications" from the client tray icon and installing the Remote Notification add-in. Works great -- I get an email whenever an issue starts or ends.

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3 Answers 3

The simplest solution would be to configure Windows Home Server to exclude the USB drive, which should be possible as long as the drive is always assigned the same drive-letter.

See this article on how to exclude specific folders from backup, and do this with the drive connected to the computer so that it is visible :
Get Started: Configure Excluded Folders in Windows Home Server Backup.

Is there a reason that you cannot use this simple solution ?

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Sorry I thought I included that part but yes, I have tried that many times and the setting does not persist. The drive does get the same drive letter (G:) each time, but I think when I remove the drive at night, the Home Server removes the setting as the drive is no longer there. –  jacobsee Nov 10 '11 at 15:30
    
You could maybe (if necessary) use USBDLM to ensure that the drive always gets the same letter. Then as another maybe use autorun on the usb to launch a script to remove this volume from backup. I know of such PowerShell cmdlets for more recent systems, but don't know about yours. –  harrymc Nov 10 '11 at 21:17

You can create a junction point ( see: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/205524 for details and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS_junction_point some discussion about them).

I don't have Home Server etc, but I did this to facilitate shares to data on a removable drive.

Essentially, you make an empty folder on your system drive (c:\exampleJP), and then map that folder as a junction point to the root of the passport drive (or subfolder). It keys off of the CLID (GUID?) so there is no conflict or confusion with other removable media. Then you can access the content of the removable drive by referencing (c:\exampleJP). This might not stop popups, but if you configure backup software to reference the JP instead of the drive, you might not need to click the popups...

When the drive is detached, c:\exampleJP is empty. This survives power cycling and unplugging, but the nature of my server is for backups and I don't detach the drive a lot. Your milage may vary.

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Thanks for the idea. My problem is that the server sees when the drive is attached and automatically adds it to the list of drives to back up. I can disable this backup but that is forgotten by the next day when the drive is no longer attached. My only hope is that setting up a junction point would mask the fact that the original drive had been attached, etc. I don't actually want to backup my portable drive. –  jacobsee Nov 3 '11 at 16:39

You might consider testing the free trial version of BackupAssist in your environment to see whether it will help you overcome this issue. I've recommended it to many of my clients precisely because it has very robust options for setting up USB drives to take the place of backup tapes. Most notably, the BackupAssist service will "remember" drives that belong to a particular backup set (even if it's only one drive), and it will ensure that they are always mounted with the drive letter that you expect. It also has an option to "safely remove" a drive automatically after a backup completes, so that the drive can simply be unplugged when it is time to take it offsite and/or rotate USB media.

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