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mobile dock as primary HD

By byteside ·
I have an individule who wants to use a SanMax PMD-961 mobile dock as his primary and only HD between two computers. He spends his winter in the southern states and his summer in the northern states and wants a pc in each place but one mobile HD with operating system shared between two pc's. I have been trying to find information regarding his needs and what I understand is he will have problems booting from one hard drive on two seperate pc's. He wants me to build him two identical Pc's to use the mobile HD in. He does not want a permanently installed HD or CD drive. They will both be mobile. Can this be done. Running windows XP home.

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by In reply to mobile dock as primary HD


Will it work? Maybe. There are some problems with what your client is asking for. But, it can be adjusted to achieve his core objectives.

1. As you know, Windows XP requires activation. Activation looks at the hardware to compute a number that is designed to uniquely identify that system. Two "identical" PCs are not identical to Windows Activation. This may or may not be a problem because very small differences between two PCS do not make them different to Windows Activation.

2. Legally, by the license, you're not supposed to install Windows like that. You're supposed to install Windows on one PC, not share a single copy with two PCs via a removable HDD.

3. His real requirements appear to be: (1) Ability to move his data easily from one PC to another, (2) Normal high performance accessing his data.

4. I would recommend you obtain two PCs for him each with Windows and applications installed on an internal HDD. Then, obtain a USB 2.0 or FireWire external HDD for him. Configure Windows so the "Desktop" and "My Documents" folders reside on the drive (the external HDD).

5. It's generally better to use two separate physical HDDs for system and data anyway. The two recovery scenarious are:
5.1 If the system drive fails, replace it and install a new system and applications without affecting any of the data.
5.2 If the data drive fails, replace it and restore the data USING THE STILL WORKING SYSTEM from the latest backup.

6. Note: The backup could easily be a second external HDD.

Does this answer your question?

-----Steve Jackson

Software Corporation (Softcorp)
Advanced pro bono tools and utilities free for personal use

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by TheChas In reply to mobile dock as primary HD

The only thing I disagree with from Steve's post is point 1 on activation.

Even if you build up 2 identical PCs, you are VERY apt to trigger an activation event when moving an OS hard drive between 2 different PCs.

At a minimum, the CPU and NIC will report different serial numbers.
That is 3 points right there.

One way to reduce the risk of an activation event would be to use a USB NIC that is transported along with the hard drive.

Also, avoid motherboards with built-in NICs.

If you build up AMD based systems, you can avoid the CPU serial number issue.

I myself would suggest a more utilitarian solution.

Get a decent notebook PC and 2 docking stations.

No license or activation issues.

No setup complications.

Plus, he can access his data while in transit.


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by byteside In reply to mobile dock as primary HD

Thank you for all the answers. What you have said is what I was thinking would be the problem. I don't feel comfortable building these computers for this individual. I think his son-in-law convinced him that he could do this. I am going to try to convince him to buy a laptop instead.

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