external hard drive help?

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Sharkie
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external hard drive help?

Postby Sharkie » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:10 pm UTC

I know pretty much nothing about computers, so sorry if I don’t use the correct technical terms for anything. =/

I want to use a hard drive from an old laptop as an external hard drive to back up all my files on. So, I removed the hard drive from the old laptop, slipped it into a portable external hard drive case and plugged it into my newer laptop with the little usb cable the case came with. The little light on the case turns on, and if I put my ear next to the case, I can hear the hard drive making a very soft noise, so I’m assuming it’s working. But I can’t save anything to the hard drive (if I open Word and go to save, it doesn’t come up as an option like the Local Disk, DVD Drive or USB Drive do).

I guess I must have skipped some important step, but I have no idea what I skipped since the case didn’t come with any instructions at all. I thought it would be as simple as removing the hard drive and slipping it into the case. Anyone know what I need to do?

jerome_bc
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Re: external hard drive help?

Postby jerome_bc » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:48 am UTC

What operating system are you using? Assuming Windows, right-click on "My Computer", then click on "Manage" then click on "Disk Manager", "Disk Management", or something like that (I don't have a Windows box around and I don't remember the exact term). Do you see the drive there?

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Sharkie
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Re: external hard drive help?

Postby Sharkie » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:11 am UTC

Actually, the cord the case came with has the mini usb connector to plug into the case and then what looks like two regular usb connectors on the other end (one to plug into a laptop and one to plug into something else?). I just took the twisty-tie thing off the cord to unwind it and realized I was using the wrong usb connector. It works now. Like I said, I'm stupid when it comes to computers. =/

I have another question though. There's a whole bunch of folders on the hard drive. Do I need any of these to use it or can I delete them all?:
cpqs
Documents and Settings
hp (I got the hard drive from a hp laptop)
i386
Program Files
SwSetup
WINDOWS

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Dropzone
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Re: external hard drive help?

Postby Dropzone » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:17 pm UTC

Sharkie wrote:Actually, the cord the case came with has the mini usb connector to plug into the case and then what looks like two regular usb connectors on the other end (one to plug into a laptop and one to plug into something else?).
External hard drives use a lot of power - often more than a single USB port can supply - so the second connector just lets the drive use two USB ports worth of power. That's why the drive was spinning but you couldn't transfer anything to it - the second connector only provides power, not a data connection. It's probably best to always plug both connectors in, even if the drive initially seems to work fine with one, because (in my experience) it might turn out that it's less than 100% reliable on one connector.

I have another question though. There's a whole bunch of folders on the hard drive. Do I need any of these to use it or can I delete them all?:
cpqs
Documents and Settings
hp (I got the hard drive from a hp laptop)
i386
Program Files
SwSetup
WINDOWS
Unless you want to preserve any of the files that were on the old laptop, you can delete them all.

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Sharkie
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Re: external hard drive help?

Postby Sharkie » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:34 pm UTC

Dropzone wrote:External hard drives use a lot of power - often more than a single USB port can supply - so the second connector just lets the drive use two USB ports worth of power. That's why the drive was spinning but you couldn't transfer anything to it - the second connector only provides power, not a data connection. It's probably best to always plug both connectors in, even if the drive initially seems to work fine with one, because (in my experience) it might turn out that it's less than 100% reliable on one connector.


Wow. Never would have guessed the extra connector was to supply extra power. The weird cord makes so much more sense now. Thank you for explaining it. =]

Unless you want to preserve any of the files that were on the old laptop, you can delete them all.


Awesome!

Thanks jerome_bc and Dropzone. ^_^ I appreciate your help.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: external hard drive help?

Postby Eebster the Great » Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:31 am UTC

Dropzone wrote:It's probably best to always plug both connectors in, even if the drive initially seems to work fine with one, because (in my experience) it might turn out that it's less than 100% reliable on one connector.

It will certainly run much slower with only USB x1 power (unless you got one of those fancy USB triple power mobos ;)).

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Carolina
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Re: external hard drive help?

Postby Carolina » Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:14 pm UTC

Make sure u keep a copy of whatever u have on the external somewhere.. My external hard drive failed and I lost everything.. I tried every recovery tool and it didn't work :(
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Emu*
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Re: external hard drive help?

Postby Emu* » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:15 am UTC

Sharkie wrote:
Dropzone wrote:External hard drives use a lot of power - often more than a single USB port can supply - so the second connector just lets the drive use two USB ports worth of power. That's why the drive was spinning but you couldn't transfer anything to it - the second connector only provides power, not a data connection. It's probably best to always plug both connectors in, even if the drive initially seems to work fine with one, because (in my experience) it might turn out that it's less than 100% reliable on one connector.


Wow. Never would have guessed the extra connector was to supply extra power. The weird cord makes so much more sense now. Thank you for explaining it. =]


The power limits are 500 miliamps per hub not per port, so don't plug them in right next to each other. On most of the motherboards I've used, the front and back USB ports were separate hubs, sometimes each pair of ports maps to one hub each.
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Seraph
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Re: external hard drive help?

Postby Seraph » Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:17 am UTC

Emu* wrote:
Sharkie wrote:
Dropzone wrote:External hard drives use a lot of power - often more than a single USB port can supply - so the second connector just lets the drive use two USB ports worth of power. That's why the drive was spinning but you couldn't transfer anything to it - the second connector only provides power, not a data connection. It's probably best to always plug both connectors in, even if the drive initially seems to work fine with one, because (in my experience) it might turn out that it's less than 100% reliable on one connector.


Wow. Never would have guessed the extra connector was to supply extra power. The weird cord makes so much more sense now. Thank you for explaining it. =]


The power limits are 500 miliamps per hub not per port, so don't plug them in right next to each other.

Can you point to the part of the spec that spells that out? When I look at section 7.2 of the USB 2.0 specification it suggests the following: For root hubs (ie the ports in your computer) with external power the system needs to be able to provide 500mA per port for "high-power" ports, while battery powered root hubs can implement "low-power" ports that only need to provide 100mA. Self powered hubs follow the same rules as externally powered root hubs. Bus-powered hubs can only implement "low-power" ports, and have to be capable of respecting the 500mA limit on the upstream port.

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Emu*
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Re: external hard drive help?

Postby Emu* » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:45 am UTC

Fine, what you said then. My belief was merely supported by my own external hard drive being a bit unstable when the wires went to a pair of ports rather than reparate ones. The device definitely can't tell, since it uses a barrel connector at the device end for the second cable... Guess I looked for reasons to explain my phenomena :roll:
Cosmologicon wrote:Emu* implemented a naive east-first strategy and ran it for an hour, producing results that rivaled many sophisticated strategies, visiting 614 cells. For this, Emu* is awarded Best Deterministic Algorithm!


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