[Tfug] backup drive

Jim March 1.jim.march at gmail.com
Wed Jan 7 17:43:52 MST 2009

On Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 5:03 PM,  <arizray at comcast.net> wrote:
> I am using Ubuntu 8.10 on a P4 machine, 2-80gb hdd, 1.5gb mem. I wish to take my second drive that is dual booting Suse 10 and convert it to a storage drive that would house a copy of HDA's home directory, photo's etc.
> Where can I get some guidance? Could I for example just change my boot grub file to eliminate the dual boot and change the partitions on HDB to suit my needs for storage?
> I was thinking I could use snapshot to do the backup.

You know what I'd seriously consider?

$25 or less at SWS gets you this neat kit that turns any drive (laptop
IDE, desktop IDE or SATA) into an external USB drive (no chassis, just
adapter gear).  It also includes a "power brick" for powering the
drive up with either a 4pin standard desktop internal power plug or
use an adapter to a SATA-type power plug (included).

What you do is, you leave the drive physically in the desktop for
cooling, but you disconnect it from the motherboard IDE or SATA.  You
plug the USB adapter in, and run that back through a slot plane into a
motherboard USB port or any available internal USB port if one exists
in there.  You also connect the drive to the new "power brick"
connection rather than the desktop's internal power plug.


Well first, Ubuntu treats USB drives totally differently than it does
IDE/SATA drives...so it's going to see a different critter and mount
it under /media like it's a flash drive.  Just edit grub ("sudo gedit
boot/grub/menu.lst") to get rid of the Suse references.

Second, if the desktop power supply goes "poof", it won't take out the
backup hard drive because it's now on a separate power supply.  This

Third, if this computer really blows up, you can take the backup drive
with it's USB adapter and separate power and plug them into literally
anything else - laptop, desktop, whatever.  I use IDE drives with this
type of adapter to back up my laptop.

There'll be a minor performance penalty depending on the type of
drive.  If the drive is a SATA-300 then running it through the adapter
(SATA-150 support) will slow it down a bit but...for backup purposes,
not that bad and you still get the reliability boost.  In IDE the
speed penalty will be minor at worst.

Final bonus: say you get ahold of another drive and you want to suck
the data off it or re-format it.  You can unmount your usual backup
drive, unplug it's power, connect up that power and USB adapter to the
new drive, plug in the USB and mount it ALL without taking the system
down.  I often save people's data when their computer blows up by
using this adapter hardware to connect to their naked drive and back
it up to something else.  You would end up with that same hardware
around "just in case you need it" for other purposes.

What else...if the USB adapter blows up, it likely still won't damage
the disk or it's data.  I see drives survive the deaths of their
external chassis circuitry all the time, and this is basically the
same gear but without the chassis.

NOTE: get the adapter set where the power cord is totally separate
from the USB adapter.  The type where it's all cross-wired in the
middle with a power switch is a pain in the butt.


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