We mentioned the problem with large capacity hard drives. Another issue is simply the finicky nature of Windows support for external drives. This is true with both USB and FireWire devices. Windows XP with service pack 1 installed, offers the best support, cleaning up some bugs that existed in pre-SP1 Windows XP. If youre running Windows 98/98SE/ME, youll need to install some updated USB filter drivers, included on a CD with the Belkin enclosure. Also included is a tray utility for managing external drives, but we found it somewhat superfluous.
Linux also has support for USB storage devices. More information on Linux support for USB is here.
Dont forget to heed the warning about setting the drive to master before installing. We left a drive at the slave setting to see what would happen. What happens is that you get an indication that a USB device is present -- but the drive never appears, either in the My Computer window or in the Windows Disk Manager. Its actually worse than if nothing happens at all. If you want to avoid this type of frustration, then make sure the jumper is correctly set.
Youll also want to be sure to plug it into a USB 2.0 port, if one is available. We have several systems that support both USB 2.0 and 1.1. Plugging the drive into a USB 1.1 port elicited a warning about potential performance issues. Thats certainly better than if the system simply allowed it to work, and then saddled you with less-than-adequate throughput.
Loyd Case came to computing by way of physical chemistry. He began modestly on a DEC PDP-11 by learning the intricacies of the TROFF text formatter while working on his master's thesis. After a brief, painful stint as an analytical chemist, he took over a laboratory network at Lockheed in the early 80's and never looked back. His first 'real' computer was an HP 1000 RTE-6/VM system.
In 1988, he figured out that building his own PC was vastly more interesting than buying off-the-shelf systems ad he ditched his aging Compaq portable. The Sony 3.5-inch floppy drive from his first homebrew rig is still running today. Since then, he's done some programming, been a systems engineer for Hewlett-Packard, worked in technical marketing in the workstation biz, and even dabbled in 3-D modeling and Web design during the Web's early years.
Loyd was also bitten by the writing bug at a very early age, and even has dim memories of reading his creative efforts to his third grade class. Later, he wrote for various user group magazines, culminating in a near-career ending incident at his employer when a humor-impaired senior manager took exception at one of his more flippant efforts. In 1994, Loyd took on the task of writing the first roundup of PC graphics cards for Computer Gaming World -- the first ever written specifically for computer gamers. A year later, Mike Weksler, then tech editor at Computer Gaming World, twisted his arm and forced him to start writing CGW's tech column. The gaming world -- and Loyd -- has never quite recovered despite repeated efforts to find a normal job. Now he's busy with the whole fatherhood thing, working hard to turn his two daughters into avid gamers. When he doesn't have his head buried inside a PC, he dabbles in downhill skiing, military history and home theater.
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