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Full Featured Pocket Hard Drives?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the numerous-gigs-in-the-palm-of-your-hand dept.

Data Storage 101

Lifix asks: "I've recently been asked to be caregiver to about 150 Apple desktops. While building my software kit to handle these machines, I realized that I would need a good portable hard drive to restore the machines from when they crashed. Cost really isn't an issue but I only need enough room for 3 partitions each with restore images of less than 10 gigs, so a 40g drive would be fine. It doesn't have to be designer, it just has to work. Does anyone have any suggestions/experience with a drive thats going to be a small form factor (throw it in my messenger bag/toolkit), reliable, bootable, 7200 rpm (!important!) and support Firewire400/800 and USB 2.0?"

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Solution (3, Insightful)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527863)

1. Buy 2 1/2" hard drive. 2. Buy USB enclosure. 3. Assemble 4. ??? 5. Profit!

Re:Solution (1)

xwizbt (513040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527917)

Have to agree. I have an old 40GB hard drive from a Toshiba Satellite and a five quid USB enclosure from eBay that works just fine.

Re:Solution (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527999)

I have an old 40GB hard drive from a Toshiba Satellite

Please, please, please - stay away from Toshiba drives. I love Toshiba stuff, and have had many Toshiba notebooks, but their current drives totally suck. We bought two Toshiba laptops 2 years ago, and we're now on drive #5 between the two. They last about a year and then crap out totally. On the other hand, I have a 6 year old Toshiba with a good drive, so I won't say that Toshiba is all junk. I just think that their most recent drives are crap. If you're going down this path, maybe look at Seagate. At least they have a five year warranty. We bought one and at least it's quiet.

Re:Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14530234)

If you've lost 5 drives between two laptops, I'd have to wonder if there isn't something else wrong - i.e. bad laptop power supply, bad regulator within the laptop etc.

I've only ever had one "laptop" hard drive die; in an old work laptop. However, anecdotal evidence gets me nowhere, because if you took that as fact, then my laptop hard drive death rate is around 1% of laptops I've administered for my company. However, it was in my laptop, so it affected me more.

Alright, I'll shut up. I'm tired.

Re:Solution (1)

danielrose (460523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14530531)

Toshiba don't use only Toshiba drives, they also use HGST and seagate drives..

Re:Solution (1)

whizzter (592586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533840)

I have a R100 i bought in the spring of 04. Apart from changing the motherboard because of the faulty built in memory (that i got replaced for free), it's the same machine as when i bought it. The harddrive is fine and i've used this computer about roughly 8 hours a day on average (counting a bit less time on weekdays and much more time on weekends). But i have heard complaints about Toshibas sometimes, the R100 is quite a premium machine (the second most expensive machine when i bought it) so i guess it has a higher quality than the Satellite machines that costs a 1/3rd of the price.

Re:Solution (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14534137)

i've used this computer about roughly 8 hours a day on average

What's interesting is that my laptop runs 24x7, whereas my business partner's machine runs more like 12-16 hours per day. I burnt out my drive earlier than he did, but not by much. If things continue the way they have, his drive should die in the next few months.

I returned my last drive under warranty (by about two weeks) and noticed that there's a sticker on the side of the Toshiba drive that says "The rattling noise that you hear is typical". That should tell you something right there. :-)

Otherwise, I'll have to say that Toshiba is still a good brand. I got my first Toshiba laptop in 1991 and have been a happy customer ever since.

Re:Solution (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532555)

Great. Now tell me how you expect to boot a Mac off of a USB drive?

Re:Solution (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532767)

Choose it as the startup disk in System Preferences, then reboot; otherwise I think you can hold down a key (command? option?) at power-up and see a menu of disks from which to boot.

Re:Solution (2, Informative)

Megane (129182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14535483)

You can't boot OS X from a USB drive, dumbass. [] That was my whole point.

Re:Solution (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14539448)

You can't? What kind of shitbox did Apple sell me? They exactly told me that it could do everything a PC could and more.

Re:Solution (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14534033)

I've put together a bunch of those. A very nice recovery tool and much nicer to use than a thumbdrive. Takes about five minutes to put together.

What? (4, Funny)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527866)

Come on man, Apples never crash. Everybody knows that!

Re:What? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14530353)

They do now, since they now use Intels and can run Microsoft OSes.

Steep requirements (4, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527880)

Does this really require an Ask Slashdot? For crying out loud, just go to Best Buy or Fry's and buy one. I'm sure the crazy fanboys will tell you to go out and buy a 40GB Video iPod to use as a bootable drive, but just save your money and buy a 100GB portable external firewire hard drive. Go to the MacMall website or something and you'll probably find a dozen different external firewire portable drives.

Re:Steep requirements (3, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527894)

I actually bought one of these today at Aldi (a German store that also has shops in Holland). 250 GB for 139 euros!

Re:Steep requirements (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14527899)

How much is that in real money?

Re:Steep requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14527916)

5000000000 USD

real money (0, Offtopic)

gizmo_mathboy (43426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527923)

With more and more oil producing countries moving to the Euro, I would say that the US dollar is slowly becoming funny money.

Re:real money (1, Offtopic)

innosent (618233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528125)

And given the future of the global economy, you might want to start calling the Yuan (China) real money. But certainly, the Euro is a much better global choice than the US Dollar, and if China ever stops artificially lowering their exchange rate, the Yuan will probably be the strongest currency. After all, if you have over 1/5th of the world population using it, it must be a pretty good candidate for "real money". The dollar may be relatively strong, but only around 1/20th of the population really use it. (Not counting international business transactions, since the currency used really makes no difference.)

Re:real money (0, Offtopic)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531046)

The amount of people using it doesn't really describe it's worth. China doesn't value thier money on open exchange like the rest of the world does. The control it in a closed form.

This is the reason they are lowering thier exchange "artificialy" as you put it. Raising it would offset some of the incentives for outsourcing manufacturing and other job to them. The influx of money allows them to feed thier coutnries style in ways comunism never thought of. In essence it is a comunist country capitolizing on other countries' greed which is probably one reason why comunism seems to work here.

Re:real money (1)

smcavoy (114157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533528)

Communism? I don't think what is going on in China can be called communism by any standard then their own. They "acknowledge the value of personal property".... not very communist. I *think* whats going on there is more unbridled capitalism.

Re:real money (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14534004)

Communism is the word being thrown around. It is held as an example of a country were communism works. I think the reason it works there is as you state, It isn't very communist.

This page goes to show that they have moved away from communism [] a little. I think it is still considered by most in politics as communist though. I don't know if it is a result of international pressure, internal pressure, or the government just knowing changes needed to be made.Anyhow, it is interesting that we commonly belive it to be somehting it isn't. It makes you think a little about how different they actualy are from other parts of the wold.

Re:Steep requirements (5, Funny)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527930)

How much is that in real money?

95.23 pounds.

Re:Steep requirements (1)

Echnin (607099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527964)

A bit less than 20000 yen.

Re:Steep requirements (1, Offtopic)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527966)

139 euros.

Re:Steep requirements (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14529211)

I would never rely on a piece of hardware (or *anything*) bought in Aldi. I mean, have you ever even looked at what they're selling?

Re:Steep requirements (2, Informative)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14530856)

Yes. I know quite a few people who have been using Aldi computers (Medion) for years without anything breaking down. That hardware is really good.

Re:Steep requirements (1)

cowbutt (21077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537914)

I would never rely on a piece of hardware (or *anything*) bought in Aldi. I mean, have you ever even looked at what they're selling?

Yes, and the components that I've seen listed on the spec sheets of the machines sold by both Aldi and Lidl are pretty good - Seagate discs, Samsung memory, ASUS motherboards, Sony optical drives, etc. You'd be hard pressed to put together a machine of similar spec yourself, and that's excluding the software (which, given this is /. may actually have negative value) and warranty it all for 3 or 5 years as both Aldi and Lidl do. About the only concern with these machines is the quality of the phone support, but again, given this is /. ....

Interestingly, a German friend told me a few years back that Medion/Aldi [] had secured 11.6% of the PC market in Germany.

Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14527952)

Just looking through the MacMall external storage section shows a number of drives [] that meet his requirements.

Re:Steep requirements (2, Insightful)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528012)

Does this really require an Ask Slashdot?

Since when has it been a crime to ask for hardware recommendations on Slashdot? I was thinking about submitting a request to see what people though would be a good replacement for a LaserJet 6L based on user experience. I would hope that I'd get something other than a moronic response like this.

Re:Steep requirements (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528229)

re: Replacing that Laserjet 6L

Answer: Virtually any printer on the market.

The printer sitting on my Desk is a Brother HL-1440 -- seperate tonor cartridge and print drum to save on costs, still works fine after four years (although it could use a new tonor cartridge and some cleaning), built-in USB and Parallell. $140 three years ago.

In that same price range, Brother has a personal laser printer with a built-in print server and standard duplexing. If my Brother dies, it's the one I'm picking up.

Re:Steep requirements (1)

ldspartan (14035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528302)

Which model is this? I can't seem to find it.

I adore duplexing. I don't know why, but I have some giant crush on duplexing-as-default. Man, do I like things duplexed.


Re:Steep requirements (2, Informative)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528483)

MSRP, not sale price!: HL-5250DN [] for about $250

And I must say "simple economics" when it comes to duplexing.

Re:Steep requirements (0, Offtopic)

TheSalzar (945163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528480)

Another HP, I once loved a laserjet it grew very old, i was tempted by the whore of a brother on sale. Man is it slow, man is it nosiey, also trips my surge protector when it prints. BUY a LASERJET dont cheap ur self.

Re:Steep requirements (0, Offtopic)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528617)

Don't buy a laserjet. Heck, don't buy any printer that demands that you return every functional component after a single tonor cycle.

Re:Steep requirements (2, Informative)

bleaknik (780571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14530746)

I'd recommend the Samsung line of cheap laser printers. I have a ML-1710, and it prints amazing prints quickly and the toner lasts forever. I paid $100 for the machine, but the replacement toner cartridges run $60. Although, this model has been replaced by the ML-2010?

Also, if you shop around you can get their color laser printer for $300 or so...

Noteworthy piece of information: these printers are definitely not business class printers. If you do a heavy amount of printing... Go with something a wee more expensive.

Re:Steep requirements (2, Insightful)

mnmn (145599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14530010)

I was about to say the same thing... theres too many Shop-by-slashdot these days.

I realize many of my recent posts are sarcastic answers to extremely obvious questions posted on slashdot. That makes me wonder if slashdot is more about more novice geeks (oh boy, 64-bit! twice as fast!), than specialized people who work in their respective fields.

To get a harddisk enclosure, I'd first google the terms, calculate rate-of-transfers for usb, firewire etc, check prices on tigerdirect, do a quick look at ebay and pricewatch, pick up popular company/model names and search for them in google groups, check for issues in google groups, make a decision and make a purchase. Chances of me getting a good drive this way are way higher than having my shop-by-slashdot questions selected by editors.

To the original poster: a quick answer is at But I suspect your plan is flawed. You did enough research to conclude you need to boot from a USB drive, but not enough research to which drive is better. I think the first research is more worthy of a slashdot story... a repair and restore-OS mechanism for many similar desktops. For that I'd think of a knoppix-type CD with the OS image somewhere on the network.. and would try to put the knoppix-type image on a USB key. If you can network-boot the machines and have the OS installed with specialized admin apps (Windows and Linux can do these), all the better.

Other interesting questions include: Why would the OS crap out frequently or at all, and How much can I lock down the machine from the user to never have to reinstall the OS.

Sorry, but us tech support people feel we're providing tech support on slashdot too. Ask us questions we love to answer... not 'hey pick a harddisk for me'.

Re:Steep requirements (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14530929)

I realize many of my recent posts are sarcastic answers to extremely obvious questions posted on slashdot. That makes me wonder if slashdot is more about more novice geeks (oh boy, 64-bit! twice as fast!), than specialized people who work in their respective fields.

Well, you can be specialized and work in a specific field without knowing much about computers. I mean 'nerd' != 'computer geek'...

Why do you answers these posts instead of just ignore them? Apparently there are people on /. thet find these posts interesting. Let them be, I'd say; /. is not only for computer-savvy people.

Re:Steep requirements (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531497)

Video ipods (& also 4th gens) don't support firewire, thus aren't bootable on macs.

Re:Steep requirements (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532351)

My 4th gen iPod (20GB, no video) came with both a USB and firewire cable.

Re:Steep requirements (1)

bitingduck (810730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532501)

My 60 GB 4G iPod photo also supports firewire, it just doesn't come with the cable. I use Firewire to attach it to my old DVI powerbook that only has USB 1.1

First Post put it best (2, Insightful)

CliffH (64518) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527912)

I would have thought this was a no brainer. My only question is why you are so stuck on the 7200rpm condition? Personally, I get by beautifully on a 30GB hard drive running at 5400rpm in a little noname USB2.0 enclosure for reimaging. Granted, I reimage Linux and Windows boxes but that doesn't really make a difference. Then again, if money is no object, there are plenty of Firewire enclosures out there for 2.5" drives and a good, fast, 7200rpm drive you should look at would probably be at the Seagate website. I would start there just based on their warranties to get an idea of what you can get. get ahold of resellers in your area to find out prices.

Thinkgeek (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527926)

I'm only recommending Thinkgeek's drive enclosure [] because you said cost is not an option. Where can I get thinkgeek like stuff in Canada without mad shipping costs? Anyone?

Re:Thinkgeek (1)

frost22 (115958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533319)

Thinkgeek are idiots, pure and simple. They basically refuse to sell to foreigners.

A few months ago ordered 10 or so of their T Shirts. My VISA card was perfectly valid. First, after a few days the put my order on hold. Then they sent me email demanding I send them photo id. So I scanned my Personalausweis and sent it to them. The next day they demanded I send them the backside of that as well. So I scanned the backside of my Personalausweis and sent it to them as well. Then they demanded I scan my credit card and send it to them, too. That was the point where I lost my patience and stopped replying.

I use this card for all kinds of shopping on the net, and never had problems with it. But those hillbilly hicks that run Thinkgeek apparently have a najor "we don't sell to bloody evil foreigners" chip on their shoulder. Well, I can take my business elsewhere, and so should you.

P.S. Yes, I asked for an escalation instance to find somebody with a rest of sanity. No go. I tried to contact them a few months later and asked if that particular policy had changed. Not even an nswer.

Thinkgeek xenophobia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14533476)

I tried to order around $550 worth of tees and caps (joined order with a couple of friends). First they cancelled the order for no reason. Mailed them, re-ordered, and got an email stating they didn't ship to the netherlands.

Thinkgeek can go ckuf themselves!

Re:Thinkgeek xenophobia (1)

frost22 (115958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536598)

AC wrote:
I tried to order around $550 worth of tees and caps (joined order with a couple of friends). First they cancelled the order for no reason. Mailed them, re-ordered, and got an email stating they didn't ship to the netherlands.
Funny thing is, they have no qualms to still bombard me with their promo material, even though my email is very obviously German. You would think they would have filtered my address out some time ago, since they don't sell to no bloody foreigners, but apparently not.

What's even more strange, some years ago, I bought some shit from them without any problem. Even with an earlier instance of the same f*** credit card. So this xenophobia policy apparently was instated more recently.

Hey, Taco, did you accidentally hire a few Klansmen or what ?

Re:Thinkgeek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14550040)

One caveat (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14527988)

Presently, due to mutually incompatable partition formats, it might not be possible to set up a single hard disk that can boot up traditional Macs (whether 68k or PPC) and the new Intel-based Macs. Unless this is resolved, it's going to be a bit of a pain in the ass for the next couple of years.

Re:One caveat (1)

Joe123456 (846782) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528004)

68k and pre g3 ppc macs can not boot form firewire / usb

Re:One caveat (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528191)

Well, that's more a matter of enclosures. I would imagine there's a bridge out there somewhere that could put a SCSI drive on USB or Firewire, and that drive, if hooked up directly, would work for older machines.

Re:One caveat (1)

rakslice (90330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14535214)

Hooked up directly to a SCSI port?
Why not just use SCSI and skip the bridge?

Re:One caveat (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14535399)

Because if you had a SCSI drive in a bridged enclosure, you would effectively have an extra interface. For Macs w/o SCSI, you'd use the bridge, and for Macs that can't boot over those interfaces, you'd still be able to use the drive directly. Instead of needing multiple drives, you just need multiple cables.

Why was this article ever even posted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14528065)

Can anyone tell me that?

Wiebetech (1)

Parsec (1702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528111)

Wiebetech makes some solid enclosures: []

Re:Wiebetech (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14530410)

I have several products from Wiebetech and they're all pretty solid. (I still can't get to their main web site from China though, so no links below, sorry).

I have several drive docks which are quite useful for reading raw drives from other computers.

I also have a 3.5" fw400 drive. It has two fw400 ports too, so you can daisy chain from it. It also has a power supply socket (uses bus power normally), in case you want to put a big drive in that takes too much power (I haven't had that problem yet with fw, but I have with USB).

Re:Wiebetech (1)

mpechner (637217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14530923)

$119 for the empty carrier, $238 for one with a 60GB HD. And they still have the Chutzbah to charge extra for a power supply.

Go spend $30-50 for the carrier at any computer store. Make sure it has a Win and mac compatibility logo on it.

I have a couple of carriers that have worked great for me on XP systems and Linux systems. But I can't perform a format of the drive from my Mac.

You don't need a portable hard drive. (4, Informative)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528130)

Dude, you don't need a portable hard drive (wow, redundancy)! You just need an install CD from 10.3.x or 10.4.x.

First, create an image for your Macs (one image per model type is safest). Boot your ideal Mac that you will be imaging in Target Disk mode (hold the T key at boot) and connect it to another Mac with a Firewire cable. The Mac you will be imaging will show up as a hard drive on the other Mac. Open Disk Utility and create a new disk image from a folder. This allows it to be dynamic and resizeable in case your restore machines have different hard disk sizes. Make sure you are creating a compressed image. Save the image to the Mac that is not being imaged. This will take a while and, even with compression, create a large file.

Once you've created the image, use Disk Utility's Scan Image for Restore function. Just browse the menus until you find it. This will take as long as actually creating the image. Just be patient. Once you're done you have an image that can be used to restore any compatible Mac.

Now, take this image and host it from a web server. A Mac using personal web sharing will work great, but any other Apache server with the correct MIME type set for .dmg files will work fine. You can even store it https and password protected if you like.

When you want to restore a Mac, boot it from a 10.3.x or 10.4.x CD OR in Target Disk Mode and connect it to another Mac. Either the Mac being booted from CD or the Mac to which you are connecting the Target Disk booted Mac must have a network connection. Run Disk Utility from the Install CD or on the other Mac. Select the HD you wish to restore to. Click on the Restore tab on the right in Disk Utility and drag the icon of the hard disk/volume from the sidebar on the left to the Target field in the restore area. You'll notice there's an area above the Target that specifies source. You could browse for a local image, or... you could type in the http/https path to your hosted image on the network

https://yourserver.wherever.ugh/images/103xG4Deskt op.dmg [wherever.ugh]

Click restore and it will restore the Mac using the contents of the prepared image file as hosted on your network.

I'm sorry if my description is a little rough. I'm going from memory and I can't find the page on-line that so long ago made me aware of this technique. Either way, it should save you from having to lug around an external HD to service Macs. Just have an install CD handy or a laptop with spare HD space and a firewire cable.

Have fun!

Re:You don't need a portable hard drive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14528188)

Either way, it should save you from having to lug around an external HD to service Macs. Just have an install CD handy or a laptop with spare HD space and a firewire cable.

To solve the problem of lugging around a (relatively small) external hard drive ... the solution is to lug around a laptop???

Re:You don't need a portable hard drive. (1)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528881)

You could always take note of the "or" in that sentence you quote. But I guess some posts are AC for a reason...

You can simply take an OS CD on-site with you. For the restores you don't need another computer or HD involved other than your network image store and the machine you're bringing back up.

Re:You don't need a portable hard drive. (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528655)

You could, likely, also store the image on the external drive he was talking about. Restoring from a local drive should be faster than restoring from most networks.

Personally, I'd go for the network option... reimaging isn't that common, particularly on Macs, and it's nice having to carry only a CD to do it, instead of hauling around a drive and a bunch of cables. It's rare that a reimage is so time-critical that a half-hour would matter that much. If I were in a situation where time was THAT critical on machine rebuilds, I'd just keep a whole spare machine on standby.

There are other network users (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532616)

The problem isn't the download time, the problem is that you're saturating the network for the whole subnet/department/workgroup unless you've got a rather high-end switching infrastructure. If you're working for an SMB, they don't have such infrastructures -- just basic router-hubs and a hardware firewall at best.

But rather than keep the image on a USB drive, why not just a small wallet of bootable DVD installer burns? One DVD per machine type, one "optional" software DVD per business function. Update the images on a regular basis (I'd think monthly to be sufficient), and archive or discard the older versions according to your business needs.

If you're using corporate license keys instead of per-machine, you shouldn't even have to enter key strings -- just boot the installer, a couple clicks, and go do something else for a few minutes.

Re:There are other network users (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14534229)

'High-end'?? Who on earth uses HUBS anymore? You can get perfectly good 24-port switches for under a hundred bucks these days. Hell, my HOME network is fully switched.

If you work in a place that's still using hubs, suggest they spend a few hundred bucks and upgrade. It's worth it if you have more than one server... it'll let you use all your servers at their full capacity, rather than splitting one Ethernet cable among however many you've got. Dell has perfectly competent Fast Ethernet switches that are very cheap (I think $80 for a 24-port), and their 16-port GIGABIT Ethernet switch, which supports jumbo frames, is only $200. (their 8-port switch doesn't support jumbo frames, so if that matters to you, be careful.)

Admittedly, you might want a bigger backbone switch in the center of a 150-person organization (which I believe is the size of the OP's network), but if you presume he's on HUBS now, he could buy 240 switch ports for $800. Including installation time... under a grand to move their whole network to switched, with plenty of extra ports. And if he did go with the 'big switch in the middle' theory, it's unlikely that the total bill would exceed $2500.

Decent network infrastructure just isn't that expensive anymore.

But if, for whatever reason, that much money is out of reach... he might be able to do a DVD wallet, but didn't he say he needed 10 gigs per partition? He'd probably need at least two DVDs per machine, which is much less convenient. It means he can't just go away and let it rebuild, he has to come back halfway through. That'd be pretty annoying.

That may be (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538136)

It may be that you can get a packet-switch for a couple hundred dollars nowadays, but have you ever tried to convince mom & pop to replace something that "works just fine" from their perspective? There are a lot of places using old-fashioned hubs, and that won't be changing until the equipment has to be replaced.

Re:That may be (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14543623)

The OP is talking about a 150-seat network, not a 5-seat Mom and Pop shop. If you worked for a network that big and were forced to use hubs, it'd be time to find another job.

Anyplace still using hubs at this point, unless in dire financial trouble, is just stupid. If they're that cheap, then as an IT person, you're underpaid, and can do much, much better.

Deep Freeze (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14528166)

Might I suggest this instead []

Re:Deep Freeze (1)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528858)

Why, when Apple provides you the ability to do basically the same thing with tools built into the OS?

Re:Deep Freeze (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531703)

What tools would these be? I would love to know as the OSX permission sets do not work well in a lab environment with software such as Quark, which requires the directory it is installed to to be writable by a normal restricted user account to run correctly.

Re:Deep Freeze (1)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532734)

You set up your permissions in advance. All I'm saying is that Apple provides all the software to do, in some way or another, everything Deep Freeze does. And chances are the price of "included" is better than some kind of per seat licensing scheme for 3rd party software. Not to mention there are many free tools to also assist in achieving parity. [] is a site that has developed over the years from the roots of into something with all sorts of advice on how to manage Mac OS X in different environments. For a lab take, look back to their archives. []

Who else? (0, Offtopic)

Bootle (816136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528171)

Who else read that subject as "Looking for a full-featured pocket rocket" ?

Man, I need to get laid! Slashdot: you aren't helping

Re:Who else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14530736)

...Who else read that subject as "Looking for a full-featured pocket rocket?"

How about NO... ya crazy dutch bastard!!!

why are you thinking about backpacking stoves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531571)

I mean, it's a nice stove and all, but really. Like anyone on slashdot actually gets outdoors. []

Dear Slashdot: (2, Funny)

voxel (70407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528336)

I need something that has storage on it. It should be smaller than a house, but bigger than a head of a pin. I need like 40 gigs of storage on it so I can have some partitions.

I don't know if this technology exists because I haven't been outside in over 50 years and even though I've heard of these wierd things called "sto-res", I don't know if they REALLY exist.

Dear Slashdot, please help.


Caveman Burns

Re:Dear Slashdot: (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531757)

If you have been outside for 50 years it is more likely you want 40 kB storage instead of 40 GB.

Re:Dear Slashdot: (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538545)

I was thinking portable punchcard carrier.

Obvious solution (1, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528430)

You need a portable drive that works with USB and firewire, has about 40GB of space, and lives comfortably in OSX and XP land. And money isn't a big deal.

Dude. You need to get your boss to buy you iPod.

Booting from firewire (1)

David_Bloom (578245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528434)

If you plan to buy any Intel macs in the near future, you may want to know that they do not support booting from a Firewire drive.

Perhaps there is a bootable CD that can mount a USB2 or Firewire drive and image it to the internal hard drive? If not, someone should make one...

Re:Booting from firewire (2, Informative)

the_proton (257557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14529088)

Bzzt! Thanks for playing.

Intel Macs can start from a Firewire disk with no trouble, but the partition table must be the GUID Partition Table, meaning the same disk can't also boot a PowerPC Mac (Open Firmware doesn't support it) even if the install on the disk is universal. PowerPC Macs can read, but not boot from, external disks with a GUID Partiton Table in Mac OS X 10.4.4 and later.

- proton

to restore the machines from when they crashed. (1)

Odocoileus (802272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528582)

Is this guy for real?

FireFly / FireLite (1)

Goyuix (698012) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528636)

These are the smallest cases [] I have seen, but only marginally so. Both Firewire 400 AND 800, as well USB 2.0. Are they really any better than your no name $10 USB enclosure - no. It is just the smallest form factor I have seen, but only beating the others out by millimeters.

OK, I'll bite... (4, Informative)

jhealy1024 (234388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528770)

I take care of about 500 macs (~450 laptop, ~50 desktop). We stick mainly with Apple's Imaging Services [] (especially with Mike Bombich's [] frontends) to install fresh machines.

I agree with other posters that just about any hard drive will do in this situation, especially given that everyone has an axe to grind about a particular manufacturer. FWIW, we've been having good luck with the LaCie drives of late (triple interface USB2/FW400/FW800), and they come in a variety of sizes, form factors, and speeds. We've had mixed results with Maxtor drives; the older revision all died with the click of death, though the newer ones are still going strong.

For on-the-go repairs, I like the bus-powered 2 1/2" drives. They're easy to carry, and don't require a power brick to go with them. Yeah, they're only 5400 RPM, but that's plenty fine for us. If you used compressed disk images and ASR [] (or Mike Bombich's NetRestore [] frontend), you get even better throughput since the computer will decompress on the fly. In this case, portability may be better than the increased spindle speed.

Also, if money really is no object, look into getting yourself a NetBoot server [] . If you do that, you don't even need a drive at all! Just hold down the "n" key on boot, and the machine will netboot to your restore image. From there, you can nuke & pave with the click of a button, and get back to doing real work (the machine will reboot itself when done). We use one here to image our lab machines, desktops, and laptops, and it really works great. Huge time-saver at the beginning of the year when we get new equipment. Obviously, this requires a decent core network if you don't want to slag the entire LAN, but if you've got a decent switched network this can work very well.

Re:OK, I'll bite... (1)

tcoady (22541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531082)

For on-the-go repairs, I like the bus-powered 2 1/2" drives. They're easy to carry, and don't require a power brick to go with them.

There's nothing wrong with this statement except it implies 2.5" is the only form factor that will permit portability without separate power. I'm no expert but i have a 60 GB USB drive without its own power supply that works fine in 3.5" form. I think its useful to know this as the extra inch will cut the cost considerably (and widen the choice & availability).

Soooo. Obvious question. (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 8 years ago | (#14528985)

Is that a full featured hard drive in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

Why limit your self? (1)

TheSalzar (945163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14529173)

Why limit your self to 7200rpm, find sum 10k notebook drives or scsi "raid5 in yo pocket" (TM)

I have one word for you (2, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14529209)


Their new portable bus-powered firewire drives [] are highly recommended (you can preorder them now; the previous models of these they were selling were absolutely required equipment for sound designers.)

There are only two considerations (2, Informative)

sootman (158191) | more than 8 years ago | (#14529410)

1) MUST be firewire. Intel Macs might boot from USB devices but PPC Macs can only boot from FireWire drives.

2) Given #1, you have to decide if you want it to be bus-powered or not. You basically have two choices here:

- you could buy a small enclosure with a 2.5" laptop-style hard drive. If you want, you can build your own with a 5400 RPM drive, or maybe even find a 7200 RPM one--rare and pricey but AFAIK they exist. Probably not in anything less than 60 GB, though--7200 RPM laptop drives are a recent development. In any case, these drives are small enough that they can run off the power that FireWire provides, so all you need is the drive and a cable. FireWire iPods fall into this category. The lack of an A/C adapter makes these very convenient. Note that some badly-designed 2.5" enclosures also need an A/C adapter--avoid these.

- you could buy a large enclosure and a regular 3.5" desktop-style drive. 7200 RPM drives are common here but I have never seen an external enclosure with a 3.5" drive that didn't require a separate A/C adapter for power. This means you've got to crawl around more for every machine you touch, but operations will go faster.

watch out for lack of USB power (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14530472)

I have had to deal with many execs buying large capacity USB drives for their laptops, only to find out that their USB buses won't supply enough power. They end up buying an extra PCMCIA (or whatever) card and a weird cable pigtail to supplement the power from two USB interfaces (note that multiple USB ports might be powered from the same source and so the second one won't supply more power than the first). The other thing is to simply tell them they have to plug them into the wall using a a transformer (they don't like that idea, obviously).

Also, watch out for firewire ports that don't supply any power at all (don't buy a firewire drive thinking it will be powered from such a bus).

Re:watch out for lack of USB power (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538567)

All Macs have power coming to the firewire port. And most firewire notebooks hard drive enclosures power through the bus.

Re:watch out for lack of USB power (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14544571)

Indeed. I've not had any trouble with power using firewire on a Mac. The comment was mainly aimed at if the user intended it to work on a non-Mac laptop - such laptops often come with firewire w/o power (similar port to some DV cameras and stuff, I guess).

Uh, last generation iPod? (2, Insightful)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14530789)

If you can drop the 7200 RPM requirement just get an older iPod that supports firewire + usb.

7200rpm incompatible with portability (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14530801)

As far as I can see, if you must have 7200rpm then you will need an external power brick as well. The power requirements seem to be too high for a USB port.

5400rpm is still reasonably speedy, but of course imaging machines is one of those bandwidth-intensive tasks where the more the better.

But, so long as you accept that you will have to carry a power supply as well, there are a thousand options. It's really very lazy to ask Slashdot just for that!

7200 rpm is just fine in a portable (1)

bitingduck (810730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531301)

Is this really an ask slashdot?

I just picked up a macally firewire/USB 2.5" case for $35 (yeah, I splurged- you can get enclosures as cheap as $20) and an 80 GB 7200 rpm hitachi drive for about $155 at newegg. The drive is in my laptop now, but I set it up in the enclosure first (formatted, installed os, transferred, used it for a few days to make sure things were ok). It worked fine off Firewire bus power. Took minutes to install. Now my old laptop drive is in the external to use as backup.

There are more options if you're willing to go up to 3.5".

Re:7200 rpm is just fine in a portable (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537692)

OK, firewire may be different - I was only looking for USB drives (actually FW+USB - but I guess they were limited to the lowest common denominator)

Re:7200 rpm is just fine in a portable (1)

djw75 (948484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14542320)

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my thinking here would be that the 7200 rpm wouldn't really help much considering the Firewire and USB transfer rate bottleneck. Are there benchmarks somewhere showing a sizeable performance increase of external 7200 rpms over 5400 rpms?

Re:7200 rpm is just fine in a portable (1)

djw75 (948484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14542389)

I mean, I could see the seek time being faster with an external 7200rpm, but does this really help much when the data is crawling along slowly through a cable?

Glyph Portagig (1)

rocketsummer82 (945350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531068)

Funny timing. I work at Glyph Technologies and we recently released our first bus-powered 7200 rpm external hard disks. They are FW400 and USB 2.0. There's also an optional power supply in case you don't have bus-power capability. They are in sizes 80 and 100 gig and called the Portagig.

Speed 7200, so probably not useful, but.... (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532857)

iPod? I can't remember if you can boot from it, but I know several techs who carry iPods with restore volumes on them. And to be honest, is 7200 rpms _that_ important? You're booting a computer, not trying to run a database or play Quake(n).

Why Portable HDDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14533411)

If you have to use the portable drive idea and cost is no object, Think Geek has some pretty enclosures and Best Buy has one that can take a HDD up to 1TB for about US$80.

Personally, I don't bother. First, all of the 250 PCs I take care of have HDDs larger than needed. I partition them about 50/50 and store the image locally. On the image partition, I keep the imaging software, so all I need is a boot floppy/USB key/CD/whatever to re-image the PC. Second, if I make major changes and need to upgrade a group, I just have the image on a laptop and boot with a floppy that has the net drivers and imaging software, connect, re-image, done. And that process also replaces the local image stored in case the PC needs to be re-imaged between major updates. We use Ghost and the Ghost server package even has a boot floppy utility (thankfully; I got tired of making my own).

So, this doesn't answer your question, but it might make it moot.

Topic (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533685)

I feel an overwelming urge to make a Chandler-esque joke just looking at those words...

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