External Discs

I have a disc.  It used to live in a regular desktop computer, but that died.  It has quite a few different partitions, and different filesystems on them.  And I want occasional use of it.

To resurrect it, and I’m contemplating buying an external hard drive enclosure.  Seems I can get one with USB and/or ethernet connection.  But that leaves me wondering: what does the computer see?  Does the enclosure expect to manage the disc and just export it in the manner of NFS or SMB?  Or does the computer see it as a local device at low level?  Should it be possible even to boot from it – subject to configuring a boot manager?

If the former, that’s pretty useless to me, as I’d expect to be hard-pressed to get it to grok all the filesystems on there.  If the latter then great: I can do without IDE support in a new barebones box.

Browsing vendor sites, I can’t see any mention of using them for an existing disc that isn’t windows or mac, even in the user reviews.

Dear Lazyweb, how can I tell whether I’m buying something useful?


Posted on August 8, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Rather than purchase an external enclosure, you might want to look at a simple adaptor kit. I’ve used the Kingwin EZ-Connect [1] to rescue data from some drives and it’s very handy. It presents as a USB mass storage device and allows access to the partitions provided the OS supports the partition type.

    [1] http://www.censuspc.com/Kingwin-EZ-Connect-USB-2-0-to-SATA—IDE-Adapter–with-One-Touch-Backup—Model–USI-2535-pr-6212.html

  2. The idea of “use to live” in an old computer suggests to me it is probably small compared to modern disk drives?

    Get an external 1TB USB drive from your local supermarket, find/borrow a box with IDE and USB and dd the contents into a file in the filesystem. Plug USB storage into box it wants to live in. Forget IDE for ever.

    Enclosures come in both types, Some just present as a USB mass storage device, and typically Linux (can’t speak for Solaris) will present each partition as a different slices(e.g. /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2 etc). Some claim to be network storage, but most of those have Ethernet interfaces instead (or as well) as USB, you don’t want those.

    Boot-ability of USB devices may depend on BIOS features, and I’m perpetually disappointed to find that it is never as simple as it should be.

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