A hard drive designed to be connected to a computer via an external interface such as USB, eSATA, Thunderbolt, or IEEE 1394.

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53
votes
11answers
67k views

Automatically mount external drives to /media/LABEL on boot without a user logged in?

This question is similar, but kind of the opposite of what I want. I want external USB drives to be mounted automatically at boot, without anyone logged in, to locations like /media/<label>. I ...
51
votes
9answers
360k views

How do I remove a MyBook's “WD SmartWare” virtual CD from my desktop?

I recently got a Western Digital MyBook external hard drive to enable Time Machine. It has its software installed on a "virtual CD" called "WD SmartWare" which shows up on the desktop any time the ...
35
votes
4answers
2k views

Is time a substitute for Safely Remove Hardware?

In Windows 7, before unplugging an external hard disk or flash drive, you are ideally supposed to use the Safely Remove Hardware option to make sure there aren't any writes still pending. Suppose it ...
24
votes
8answers
23k views

How much time until an unused hard drive loses its data?

Do you guys know how much time needs to pass until the data stored on a hard drive starts to degrade? To keep the data intact for long periods of time, I heard you need to periodically rewrite it on ...
24
votes
3answers
26k views

Permissionless external drive with NTFS

I have an external hard disk which has 1 partition, formatted in NTFS. I use this drive on multiple computers with a different logins on different machines, Windows XP and Windows 7. All files are ...
22
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the tolerable magnetic field (in Tesla) for a hard disk?

I was wondering what would be the safest magnetic field for a hard drive so that the data inside it is safe and not wiped off? For example I have a 2.1 home theatre system and when I take my android ...
22
votes
2answers
84k views

How to copy files to read-only NTFS hard drive on a Mac?

I want to copy my some files from Mac (Macbook-Air) to an USB external hard drive, formatted as NTFS. How is it possible? Because when I do copy my files from the Mac and go to paste them on the ...
20
votes
5answers
40k views

Can I install Windows OS (Windows 7) on a removable USB hard drive?

I wanted to take a sneak peak at Windows 7 so I thought of installing it. I have Windows Vista on my laptop which came pre-installed with it. I didnt want to mess with it. So I created a partition ...
19
votes
5answers
24k views

How can I remount an ejected (not just unmounted) USB drive on Mac?

I frequently eject an usb stick, and then realize I still need it. If I unmount the drive in Disk Utility, I can just remount it, but if I eject, it's gone. Not showed in Finder Not showed in ...
18
votes
1answer
42k views

Why Do Some USB Cables Have Two USB Connectors at the End?

I've recently bought an external hard drive enclosure and it had arrived with an USB cable, with one USB connector on one side and two on the other. Why do some USB cables have two connectors while ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it safe to remove USB media when a computer is suspended?

We are often cautioned against unplugging USB drives in case it is currently being read from or written to. When a computer is suspended, hibernated, or asleep is it obviously not writing any data; it ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Which virtual machine can boot from USB drive?

There are any desktop (not hipervisor) virtual machine software able to boot from USB drive? Which one and how?
16
votes
4answers
17k views

How do I make an external hard drive keep the same drive letter permanently?

I have a desktop PC (2002 vintage) running Windows XP that I turn on about two or three times per week. I have a mains powered 250 GB Western Digital hard disk connected to it via USB. I ...
16
votes
8answers
128k views

How to read and write Mac drives on Windows

I have some external hard drives that are Mac OS Extended (Journaled) formatted. What software can you recommend for working with those drives when under Windows? Do you have any experience with this? ...
15
votes
3answers
16k views

What is the difference between SATA and eSATA?

Is the following correct? eSATA is the same as SATA, except that the cable plug has a slightly different shape, but as far as the electrical signal goes, it's the exact same thing. In theory, if you ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

Safely remove external USB drive fails due to $extend

When connecting an external USB 3.0 hard drive to my USB 3.0 ports I can never safely remove it. Somehow windows always keeps the journal files open: "Always" as in this time I only connected the ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

How to prolong the life of an external hard drive?

In ten years, across several different machines, different companies, and different operating systems I've noticed a trend that external hard drives die long before their internal counterparts. ...
13
votes
3answers
8k views

Ubuntu - How to automount an external drive at a preconfigured mount point?

Normally, when I attach an external USB drive to my Ubuntu system, the filesystem on it are automounted to /media/label. However, I'd like the filesystem to be mounted at a mount point of my choosing. ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Why does OS X insist on spinning up all external drives when loading a file from the local drive?

Why does OS X insist on spinning up all the attached external drives (firewire, usb) when loading a file from the local (internal) drive? It's driving me insane that I have to wait for 3 attached ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Is a 7200rpm USB 3.0 drive going to have very similar performance to an internal 7200rpm drive or is it still going to be noticeably slower?

I use my old 500gb drive to store all temporary stuff (windows temp folder, adobe scratch disks etc), and anything that needs thousands of small files to avoid unnecessarily fragmenting my C drive. ...
12
votes
9answers
33k views

How does the USB 3 speed compare to eSATA? [closed]

Will the full speed advantages of the future USB 3.0 be negated by the fact the most HD being mass produced are SATA 3? If so, what would you suggest a person do? For performance reasons, I go with ...
12
votes
1answer
46k views

USB stick appearing as hard disk drive, not removable storage device

I just plugged in a very simple 1GB USB stick from the office in hopes of making it a Fedora Live USB stick. For that to work, I need a removable storage device, or else it won't appear in LiveUSB ...
11
votes
8answers
11k views

Which file system to use for a large (1 TB) external hard drive?

I've got a 1 TB hard disk drive which is currently formatted as NTFS. I've recently learned about exFAT. I'm connecting this drive via USB. Which filesystem should I use for this large hard disk drive ...
11
votes
5answers
51k views

How to detect if a USB port is 3.0 or 2.0?

I have a Toshiba Canvio 3.0 external HDD. It has USB 3.0. It flashes blue if you connect it to a USB 3.0 port. If it is a 2.0 port, the light becomes white. Yesterday, I plugged it in and the light ...
11
votes
6answers
47k views

Util to check external USB Drive health? [closed]

I tried a few utils and none of them worked. Either USB wasnt supported or the drive was 'recognized'. I am trying to figure out if i should dump the drive or not. Its only a year old but the warranty ...
11
votes
6answers
7k views

External HDD is always in use when trying to safely remove

I have a WD 1TB Elements external hard drive, and every time I use the Windows 7 "safely remove" feature, it gives me a dialog telling that a process is using the disk. Using Sysinternals Process ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Can storing my HDDs airtight damage them in anyway?

I have lost many electronics that I keep unused for a long time before due to the near sea (high humidity area) area that I live in. I learned this the hard way, so in order to protect hard drives ...
10
votes
3answers
13k views

Force spin-down of external hard-drive on linux (raspberry pi)

I'm currently setting up a home-server using a Raspberry Pi with an external hard-disk connected via usb. However, my hard-drive will never spin down when being idle. I tried already the hints ...
10
votes
6answers
5k views

2.2 TB limit applies even to eSATA drives? 3TB appears as 746 GB

I have an Icy Dock 3.5" external enclosure with USB 2.0 and eSATA. I have an Intel DG45ID motherboard with USB 2.0 and eSATA ports. In the past I had a 2 TB Seagate drive in the enclosure, and it ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Do hard disk drives turn on 512e (512byte emulation of 4k sectors) as-needed depending on host controller?

I have a 4 TB hard disk that has 4k physical sector size (Advanced Format) and I attached it to two SATA host controllers (one internal and one in a USB enclosure). On the (older, about 2010) it comes ...
9
votes
9answers
9k views

Can't read External Hard Drive anymore!

I've had a WD external hard drive for a while, all of a sudden a couple of weeks ago it stopped working. When I plug it in, windows prompts me to "Format Disk", I also tried it from linux mint, but ...
9
votes
3answers
32k views

How to password protect an external hard drive without encrypting it?

I carry my external hard drive around with me sometimes, and was wondering if there was a way to password protect the entire drive, with no hassles or anything, just a simple password protection...if ...
9
votes
5answers
58k views

How can I install Windows 7 from an external hard drive?

I followed the instructions here, but format fs=fat32 quick did not work, it gave the following error: Virtual Disk Service error: The volume size is too big. So I then tried just format ...
9
votes
3answers
48k views

Convert NTFS volume to exFAT (without losing contents)

I have a 500GB external hard disk which I use mostly for storing movies/music and some backup. Since I have some rather large files I use NTFS on it, but don't need the security/compression/encryption ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

SSD Perfomance - Internal vs External?

I got a SSD for Christmas and it came with the option to have it installed internally or externally. I'm wondering if I have it setup as an external hard drive, will there be any major performance ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

What can I do with a large Hard Drive?

So I'm looking into the world of external Hard Drives bigger than I can easily comprehend (1-2TB sort of sizes. A few years ago I thought 100GB was big. Blimey), and just wondering what possible uses ...
8
votes
2answers
13k views

How to mount and unmount hard drives under Windows (the unix way)

On my work computer I have two USB hard drives that I use rarely. They have a power save mode that sends them into sleep after a couple of minutes of them being idle. Whenever I open a context menu ...
8
votes
3answers
20k views

Can I trick Carbonite into backing up an external hard drive?

I use Carbonite to back up my PC (Windows XP). We were running low on disk space on our home PC (down to 15 GB), so I went out and purchased an external hard drive. However, Carbonite will ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

External Solid State Drives

How does the performance of an external SSD drive compare to an internal? I'm assuming the connection would be USB 2.0 - would that be the limiting factor in speed? Is it a waste of money? EDIT - ...
8
votes
1answer
5k views

vmware takes too much time to shut down

Each time I shuting down my virtual machine - it takes like 30 minutes for VM Ware to complete the process. The shut down is done, but it shows a black screen and doesn't respond to any command. I ...
8
votes
1answer
21k views

How can I boot Ubuntu 10.04 on my MacBook Pro from a USB hard drive?

I installed Ubuntu 10.04 to my MacBook Pro (not the latest gen with i7, but one before that) on an external, USB harddrive (GRUB installed to the external as well). When I hold down the option key to ...
7
votes
4answers
16k views

Sync two external harddrives?

A little mishap happened earlier today and i am thinking i should have a copy of my external harddrive since 10% of it is very valuable. What is the best solution to keep two external harddrive in ...
7
votes
4answers
49k views

Can't change permission/ownership/group of external hard drive on Ubuntu

I have an external hard drive connected to my Linux box. I wanted to setup a web server to access files on it, but the permission on all files and directories on the drive are rwx for the owner which ...
7
votes
2answers
798 views

How do I browse a hard drive that has viruses?

I'm going to be connecting a notebook SATA drive to my computer via USB. This drive may be faulty so it may not work at all, however before it went supposedly "bad" it had a virus on it. My computer ...
7
votes
5answers
29k views

Formatting : The volume is too big for FAT32

Formatting an external 500GB HDD took almost >6 hours that I started like: D:\>format /FS:fat32 F: The type of the file system is EXFAT. The new file system is FAT32. Enter current volume label ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Would USB 3 make a difference for a USB 2 5400 RPM drive?

I've got a USB 2 5400 RPM external HD. I'm thinking of getting a new computer with USB 3 ports. If I'm currently getting read/write speeds from the external HD on USB 2 of roughly 30 mb/s (both read ...
7
votes
2answers
205 views

Is it safe to just yank an external hard drive if you know nothing is writing to it?

Yes, I know somewhat about the possibility of data corruption if there was data that hadn't been all written to it. But I just saw this: Note:If u remove HDD(not USB sticks) without safely ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

Install Windows XP to USB Hard Drive and Run from It

I wanted to know if there was a way (that worked!) to both Install and Run Windows XP Pro from a USB 2.0 connected Hard Drive. My system does allow to boot from external usb hard drive, but when I ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Encrypt Windows 8 file history

File history in Windows 8 is great, but it saves my files on an external drive without any encryption, and stores them using the exact same folder structure as the originals. If a bad guy gets his ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

External SATA drive does not work without the optional USB cable *also* connected

I have Vantec NST-260SU external eSATA/USB drive enclosure (which came with an optional separate power supply - 5v/2A, while the drive needs a max of 1A) connected to a relatively new Windows 7 ...