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Re: External USB Hard-Drive on Linux

Roy Schestowitz wrote:
__/ [ Jeff Gaines ] on Wednesday 08 March 2006 12:23 \__

On 08/03/2006 Roy Schestowitz wrote:

I  ended up with the Seagate, which was also on display at the front
win- dow.  Nice housing, 300GB, 7200 RPM, good packaging with both
European and British connectors, software CD for backup (Windows and
maybe also OS X, I imagine).  Price was 140 pounds, but I get a 5%
discount for being a  stu- dent.
You won't regret it, it's a much more reliable drive than the WD based
on statistics on uk.comp.homebuilt.

Thanks, I was deeply worried about that capricious and arbitrary choice, which felt like more of a fallback option. The last time I was surveying hard-drives I was much younger and WD were the top notch. Recently I heard that Maxtor were taking some lead, but a Maxtor drive I had failed me sev- eral months ago, just 4 days after I had purchased a brand new computer!

FWIW I bought a Maplins USB drive about a year ago - the 120 GB WD one for about 100 quid. That didn't work with Fedora Core 1 - FC1 noticed the drive was there but didn't recognize the device ID etc, so it couldn't work out how big it was and just sort of gave up. I couldn't figure how to add the right stuff to the USB device database, so I gave up at that point.

Late last month I dug the drive out and plugged it into an FC4 system and, just as you found, it "just worked". Here is some behavior you might find useful:

- when I first connected it I was logged in as root with tail on the log so I could see what went on. The drive was recognized, a directory (WD_USB_2) was added to /media and the drive was mounted on it. I think the mount directory name is made from the drive maker abbreviation (Western Digital) plus the USB port (USB_1 or USB_2 - I have the drive in the bottom port of two.

- logging out unmounts the drive, which times out and stops after a while.

- logging in spins it up and mounts the drive on the same directory.

- ssh login does not spin up or mount the drive. Nor does running a script. As long as the drive is connected and powered on, the act of mounting it spins it up. Umounting it causes it to time out and stop.

- I have a cron.daily script that dumps the whole system as a compressed tarball onto the USB drive and e-mails me a report. When the drive is more than 90% full it will start to delete enough of the oldest tarballs to free up 10% of the drive before making the next day's dump. Its not yet been running long enough to start deleting old dumps.

- I reckon that as long as the drive is spun down its contents are pretty safe from anything short of a house fire regardless whether its powered on or not. So the drive just sits on the system box, permanently connected and permanently powered on.

- I still take a weekly DDS2 backup. This is kept in a safe place, as my offline backup.

As I said, this is what happens with FC4 and Gnome, but I'd imagine that SUSE
will do pretty much the same. IMO if you're planning to use the disk for
backups, then a fully automatic setup like mine is a good thing to have.

martin@   | Martin Gregorie
gregorie. | Essex, UK
org       |

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