External HDD: How Large Can My Laptop Support?
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Thread: External HDD: How Large Can My Laptop Support?

  1. #1
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    Red face External HDD: How Large Can My Laptop Support?

    I have a Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop from around 2006/2007 running Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate SP1 with 2GB (maxed out) RAM. Works great!

    I am looking to purchase a new external backup drive and my question is how can I know whether or not the laptop's bios and hardware can handle a 2,3 or 4TB drive? Those are the three sizes I am deciding between. The most important consideration is that I don't want to buy a drive that my system can't handle, of course.

    I know that some large drives can be used with special driver software even if the system they are on doesn't natively support them. My strong preference would be to use the external drive without any special driver software needed if that is possible. So I really would like to avoid that solution if I can.

    I'm currently using a 1TB external backup drive with no problems, but it's time to retire that one and I would like to get a larger drive ONLY IF my laptop system can support it. But how can I be sure?

    I can post detailed specs about bios and motherboard, etc. if that will help... just tell me which ones you need.

    Thanks for any expert help here!

  2. #2
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    That laptop has USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire port.

    http://www.engadget.com/products/del...on/6400/specs/

    If the drive is set up properly, you should have no issues accessing the full capacity. Depending on the partition formatting, you may be limited to 2 GB partitions, unless you use GPT, then you can use larger sizes. You did not say if you play to try booting from the external drive - that might make a difference on how you set it up.

    Links:

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2581408

    http://www.sevenforums.com/backup-re...t-machine.html

    http://superuser.com/questions/30849...sb-hard-drives

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdc2000 View Post
    That laptop has USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire port.

    http://www.engadget.com/products/del...on/6400/specs/

    If the drive is set up properly, you should have no issues accessing the full capacity. Depending on the partition formatting, you may be limited to 2 GB partitions, unless you use GPT, then you can use larger sizes. You did not say if you play to try booting from the external drive - that might make a difference on how you set it up.

    Links:

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2581408

    http://www.sevenforums.com/backup-re...t-machine.html

    http://superuser.com/questions/30849...sb-hard-drives
    Thank you, that's a lot of good info. I won't be using the external drive as a boot drive, just to store backups of my laptop drive.

    I know that Windows 7 can handle 2,3 or 4 TB drives with no problem (with the lager sizes needing GPT partitioning). But my main concern is whether or not the bios, motherboard, or any other hardware in my laptop can handle it. That's the part that worries me.

    Can you tell me why you feel confident that the bios/hardware in this laptop won't have a problem with external drives that size either? I'm not quite clear on how you can determine that.

  4. #4
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    Way back in the very old days - hard drives were measured in megabytes. And as drives got larger, the BIOS sometimes got in the way... That hasn't been the case for over ten years now..

    Same goes for the "hardware" on your laptop... It is basically being controlled by the operating system.
    "They say "don't try this at home" so I'm coming over to your house to try it."

  5. #5
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    Expect about 10 MB transfer rates. USB 2 is kind of slow.
    SMILE
    and post back. Let us know if it worked.
    [ Book mark this post to find it again]

    AntiX-16, MX-16 and Win 10

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve R Jones View Post
    Way back in the very old days - hard drives were measured in megabytes. And as drives got larger, the BIOS sometimes got in the way... That hasn't been the case for over ten years now..

    Same goes for the "hardware" on your laptop... It is basically being controlled by the operating system.
    I'm betting you are right. But the laptop is about 10 years old. Still, your comment makes sense and gives me more confidence. I hope!

    Quote Originally Posted by Train View Post
    Expect about 10 MB transfer rates. USB 2 is kind of slow.
    Yeah, I know 2.0 is slow compared to the newer standard. It's one of the sacrifices I make for staying with my old workhorse. But I love this machine, fairly recently took every part off and cleaned it out, and then, after the previous HDD crashed, upgraded to Win 7 from Win XP. I spend the last couple of months configuring it so I can do everything I need to on it. So I'm probably going to stick with it for now. I'm happy with the way it works. On 90% of the things I do, I can't tell the difference between them running on this old machine or a brand new one with 5 times the specs. Most of the stuff I do just isn't all that resource intensive. So I can't see any real reason to upgrade. This thing just keeps going and going! It's an old friend.

    But yeah, I have to admit, shorter times dealing with backups to the external drive would be nice... but the way they are now is not all that bad. Maybe some day! Windows 20?

    ===

    Thank you to all. This is my go to place for great advice for 15 years!

  7. #7
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    My favorite lap warmer.
    Of coarse it is not running Windows.

    Code:
    inxi -Fxz
    System:    Host: antix16b Kernel: 4.4.10-antix.1-amd64-smp x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 4.9.3)
               Desktop: IceWM 1.3.8
               Distro: antiX-16-b5_x64-full Berta Cáceres 19 May 2016
    Machine:   System: Dell (portable) product: Latitude D630
               Mobo: Dell model: 0KU184 Bios: Dell v: A15 date: 11/24/2008
    Battery    BAT0: charge: 31.3 Wh 88.6% condition: 35.4/44.0 Wh (80%)
               model: Sanyo DELL 62 status: Discharging
    CPU:       Dual core Intel Core2 Duo T7250 (-MCP-) cache: 2048 KB
               flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 7977
               clock speeds: max: 2001 MHz 1: 1600 MHz 2: 1200 MHz
    Graphics:  Card: Intel Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (primary)
               bus-ID: 00:02.0
               Display Server: X.Org 1.16.4 driver: intel
               Resolution: 1280x800@60.02hz
               GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel 965GM
               GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 10.3.2 Direct Rendering: Yes
    Audio:     Card Intel 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller
               driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
               Sound: ALSA v: k4.4.10-antix.1-amd64-smp
    Network:   Card-1: Broadcom NetXtreme BCM5755M Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
               driver: tg3 v: 3.137 bus-ID: 09:00.0
               IF: eth0 state: down mac: <filter>
               Card-2: Broadcom BCM4321 802.11a/b/g/n
               driver: b43-pci-bridge bus-ID: 0c:00.0
               IF: wlan0 state: up mac: <filter>
    Drives:    HDD Total Size: 120.0GB (6.5% used)
               ID-1: /dev/sda model: SSD2SC120G1CS175 size: 120.0GB
    Partition: ID-1: / size: 106G used: 3.1G (4%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
               ID-2: swap-1 size: 4.69GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda2
    Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 49.0C mobo: N/A
               Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
    Info:      Processes: 141 Uptime: 8 min Memory: 326.8/3945.5MB
               Init: SysVinit runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 4.9.2
               Client: Shell (bash 4.3.301) inxi: 2.3.0
    Does 98% of what I normally do.
    SMILE
    and post back. Let us know if it worked.
    [ Book mark this post to find it again]

    AntiX-16, MX-16 and Win 10

  8. #8
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    Sep 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by Train View Post
    My favorite lap warmer.
    Of coarse it is not running Windows.

    Code:
    inxi -Fxz
    System:    Host: antix16b Kernel: 4.4.10-antix.1-amd64-smp x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 4.9.3)
               Desktop: IceWM 1.3.8
               Distro: antiX-16-b5_x64-full Berta Cáceres 19 May 2016
    Machine:   System: Dell (portable) product: Latitude D630
               Mobo: Dell model: 0KU184 Bios: Dell v: A15 date: 11/24/2008
    Battery    BAT0: charge: 31.3 Wh 88.6% condition: 35.4/44.0 Wh (80%)
               model: Sanyo DELL 62 status: Discharging
    CPU:       Dual core Intel Core2 Duo T7250 (-MCP-) cache: 2048 KB
               flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 7977
               clock speeds: max: 2001 MHz 1: 1600 MHz 2: 1200 MHz
    Graphics:  Card: Intel Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (primary)
               bus-ID: 00:02.0
               Display Server: X.Org 1.16.4 driver: intel
               Resolution: 1280x800@60.02hz
               GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel 965GM
               GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 10.3.2 Direct Rendering: Yes
    Audio:     Card Intel 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller
               driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
               Sound: ALSA v: k4.4.10-antix.1-amd64-smp
    Network:   Card-1: Broadcom NetXtreme BCM5755M Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
               driver: tg3 v: 3.137 bus-ID: 09:00.0
               IF: eth0 state: down mac: <filter>
               Card-2: Broadcom BCM4321 802.11a/b/g/n
               driver: b43-pci-bridge bus-ID: 0c:00.0
               IF: wlan0 state: up mac: <filter>
    Drives:    HDD Total Size: 120.0GB (6.5% used)
               ID-1: /dev/sda model: SSD2SC120G1CS175 size: 120.0GB
    Partition: ID-1: / size: 106G used: 3.1G (4%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
               ID-2: swap-1 size: 4.69GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda2
    Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 49.0C mobo: N/A
               Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
    Info:      Processes: 141 Uptime: 8 min Memory: 326.8/3945.5MB
               Init: SysVinit runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 4.9.2
               Client: Shell (bash 4.3.301) inxi: 2.3.0
    Does 98% of what I normally do.
    Nice! Not much newer than mine. Running Linux?

    How much RAM? I do wish I could shove another couple GB ram in this thing but it maxes out at 2GB, but I am shocked how well it does with only 2GB even with the 64 bit OS. I can run quite a bit and no paging. More then I expected. I'm thinking that Win 7 memory management is better than XP was because even with XP 32 bit, I was getting more paging running similar apps.

    This is also has a 2GHZ processor and 120GB HDD in it. CPU pretty similar to yours. I love to get old machines running like new.

  9. #9
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    The reason for the 120GB drive is because it is a SSD.
    Plus it is only using 326.8/3945.5MB

    It is all listed in inxi readings.
    SSD prices examples: http://www.newegg.com/Internal-SSDs/SubCategory/ID-636

    This is the one I would like to stick in this Win 10 laptop I bought last Dec.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820226596
    SMILE
    and post back. Let us know if it worked.
    [ Book mark this post to find it again]

    AntiX-16, MX-16 and Win 10

  10. #10
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    Sep 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by Train View Post
    This is the one I would like to stick in this Win 10 laptop I bought last Dec.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820226596
    Man is that gorgeous! Out of my range though. Eventually, the prices will get there for me... (around the same time I update this laptop -- which will then be maybe 30 years old) with Windows 20)!

  11. #11
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    Paid close to that price for a 60 GB hdd years ago.
    SMILE
    and post back. Let us know if it worked.
    [ Book mark this post to find it again]

    AntiX-16, MX-16 and Win 10

  12. #12
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    michele-01 Please start a new thread for a new problem. Thanks.
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