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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?


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Old 07-18-2006, 04:58 PM   #1
Registered: Oct 2002
Distribution: Debian 6.0.2 (squeeze)
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Fully Linux-compatible USB hard drive

Hello all,

I posted once before about this a while ago but didn't get a response, so I thought I'd try again. I've searched the forums and net, but haven't been able to find much about specific drives.

I am looking for a way to make full backups of my system, as I have been having some issues with a possibly-failing hard drive and other hardware, and I need a better solution than using dar and burning slices to many cds. As this is potentially all my data at stake, I don't want to risk getting media that may fail or have problems with the transfer from a Linux box.

I run Slackware 10.2 (some people said it depends on the distro, not the OS), and would like an external USB hard drive of decent size (no need for something huge, but the bigger the better). My budget is pretty limited, but if I need to spend more money to get something more reliable I'm willing to do that too.

What I'm looking for is specific recommendations of drive models that hopefully are decently priced, available online, and, most importantly, are known to be able to be mounted from a Linux system and not have any compatibility issues. If people have used specific drives in the past and can recommend them, that would be great.

Thanks in advance.
Old 07-18-2006, 05:13 PM   #2
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I have three wd 250gb/2mbcache drives that work good. They are usb2.0. Sams club had them for $119 each. I use FC4/FC5/XP/OS2/etc and have not had any issues. Ok, they will not win any speed contests. For the linux boxes I formatted ext3.

Old 07-18-2006, 06:15 PM   #3
Bruce Hill
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Your Slackware-10.2 Linux distribution will mount any USB connected hard drive so long as you have the proper kernel modules loaded. Get any of those USB 2.0 laptop hard drives for storage. I use them all the time -- very convenient and effecient.

Here's a nice WD drive from NewEgg at $92.69 --

IMO that one is overkill, and really designed for the Windoze Plug 'n Play crowd.

This will do fine for your needs, and will work with your OS:

You can get a little case --
and a laptop hard drive --
and put them together for 40GB of backup space and it costs you $79.43 USD.
Old 07-19-2006, 12:32 AM   #4
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If you can use a screwdriver, then you can build your own usb external drive that has lots of bang for the $$$.

My favorites are the Western Digital drives (very, very quiet) and enclosures without fans (also very quiet). The big PATA drives have gotten relatively cheap.

Favorite enclosure drive: WD3200JB (320GB/298GiB) US$94.99

(Runner up: WD2500JB (250GB/233GiB) US$72.99

Favorite USB enclosure: Macally PHR-100A US$32.99

but the PHR-100AC is a relatively cheap USB/Firewire(400) combo at US$42.99

Always test the drive with the manufacturer's diagnostic utilities before using it. Even new Western Digitals can have problems.
Old 07-19-2006, 04:01 AM   #5
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If you want security of your backups, I suggest I suggest using 5400 RPM drives because they produce less heat and are cheaper. Do not waste money on drives with the larges cache. During backups, cache is rarely used.

CD should not be used for backups because they do not have ECC. I suggest using DVD instead of CD for backups.

All Linux distributions acts the same with external storage because they rely on the same kernel or a patched kernel. As always, the latest kernel will provide better support than previous versions.

I recommend using IEEE-1394 (aka Firewire or iLink) because its effective data throughput is a lot higher than USB. USB stalls when huge amounts of data is transfered to it. USB is designed to handle small amounts of data.
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