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I just bought a new Sony Vaio Laptop. Now I want to create a recovery/backup. There is an option of creating the recovery in a usb flash drive. But I only have an External hard disk. It does not detect this hard disk. in the help pane it says fixed drives will not be recognised. Is it possible to make the External Hard Disk as a usb flash drive?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

First you need to know how these two types are distinguished. Microsoft has some documentation here:

The removable media device setting is a flag contained within the SCSI Inquiry Data response to the SCSI Inquiry command. Bit 7 of byte 1 (indexed from 0) is the Removable Media Bit (RMB). An RMB set to zero indicates that the device is not a removable media device. An RMB of one indicates that the device is a removable media device. Drivers obtain this information by using the StorageDeviceProperty request.

So you need to change that bit. One way would be to change the firmware in the disk's controller using a vendor specific tool, but this is not always possible. Assuming you use an USB drive, you might want to do a search on the USB vendor/device ID to see if there is a possibility to change that bit.

The other (OS specific) way would be to use a filter driver. Since one usually wants to convert removable to fixed disks (since there are limitations for removable drives on Windows) there are filters available e.g. dummydisk.sys by Anton Bassov but I don't know of a driver that does the conversion in the opposite direction. It might be possible to edit the drivers's code to accomplish this but I haven't looked into this.

Since there is probably no universal solution that always works you might just want to use another tool that does not have this dumb limitation to backup your data.

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Thanks for the answer:) I tried searching for software that converts fixed disks to removable drives, but in vain. – Ashwin Jul 8 '12 at 4:19

"Fixed drive" generally means a conventional internal hard drive, connected using ATA or SCSI. External USB hard drives and flash drives both use the same protocol — they're "USB mass storage devices" — so I'd expect that software like your backup tool should treat them the same.

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But it is not detecting it. the hard disk is displayed as a drive in my computer. So there is no problem with the hard disk. – Ashwin Jul 7 '12 at 3:58
Your assumption is wrong. In fact most (if not all) external USB hard drives will be registered as fixed media. See my answer on how these devices are different to most USB flash drives. – Gurken Papst Jul 7 '12 at 14:00

While working with large capacity usb storage drive, they shown as regular fixed drive not as the portable drive in win-7.This might be the case your backup software is not showing you external drive.

This might not be the answer you are looking for but still let me make a point you may try other backup software

  1. cobian backup
  2. clonezilla

These are some of the tool that helps your creating and restoring your systems image. They came with live cd option so you can boot your system from these cd and restore you os. They might detect your physical and usb storage(Not tested with usb storage).

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