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Not sure how to explain this exactly... if you need me to clarify, please add a comment and I'll address it.

I'm looking for a USB hard drive that conforms to a laptop. Perhaps something that can be plugged in and carried around, tossed into a backpack without fear of ruining the connector or accidentally coming unplugged.

Has anyone seen a hard drive like this?

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    So the HD must stay connected at all times? What laptop would this be for? Some makes/models have different options
    – Dave M
    Jan 18, 2010 at 16:10
  • I've had baggage handlers/TSA snap off a connector plugged into a device in my checked bag. (A GPS with the car charger plugged in turned into a GPS with the power port ripped out.) I now unplug everything from everything when putting it in the bag... And I carry on ALL my electronics. ;-)
    – Chris Nava
    Jan 18, 2010 at 17:24
  • if you're thinking about TOSSING things around, you may give platter hard disks a wide berth! :)
    – Molly7244
    Jan 18, 2010 at 18:56
  • It's not an absolute requirement that the HD stay connected at all times, but it'd sure be handy. We use Lenovo ThinkPads (T60, T400, etc.) and I think a hard drive that could come with you to meetings with plugging/unplugging would be the way to go.
    – Peder Rice
    Jan 18, 2010 at 20:31

5 Answers 5

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You mention in one of the comments that you are using Thinkpad T60 and T400's. They both have the option of an Ultrabay HDD adapter, this replaces the (removable) DVD drive\second battery with a tray that you can slide a 2.5" drive into. There are some fairly cheap third party variants available online too like this one. You get a very secure removable HDD but if you need to plug it into any non-Thinkpad system you will need a separate USB<=>SATA adapter or an enclosure that has been designed to allow easy replacement of the drive. Still for the price of the 3rd party version you can't go wrong IMO and this is about as form fitting as you can get.

I've used these on Thinkpads for years and have never had a drive fail in one.

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  • +1 Exactly the solution I was thinking of when I commented regarding "conencted all the time". I have also used a Toshiba solution that fits the optical drive bay. Works great!
    – Dave M
    Jan 18, 2010 at 20:59
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  1. You could buy a western digital passport external hard drive.
  2. You could upgrade your internal hard drive to 640gb and not need an external.
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If you want it to stay connected all the time, you might be better off with a USB flash drive with a small extension cord (maybe there's also some kind of gadget that could secure the USB connection so they wouldn't come apart, similar in idea to those ones that keep electrical extension cords together).

If you really need a hard drive, maybe you should look at 1.8" ones.

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Anytime you plug into the USB connector, you will run the risk of a snap off unless the USB is recessed. I've only seen that on a HP. You may want to see - do you have a PCMCIA or a Express Card slot? I know for sure that there are Express SSD cards. VERY expensive though.

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The only thing which hits my head when you mention "form fitting" is an ExpressCard slot based SSD:

alt text

( Picture courtesy MyDigitalDiscount )

However, you haven't mentioned your laptop model, so I cannot be certain if it sports an ExpressCard slot, neither have you mentioned a budget so it might be out of your budget.

You can opt for slim 2.5" portable hard disks with USB2.0 / Firewire connectors

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( Picture courtesy Newegg ) however the USB connector just might stick out.

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