proof your data with removable drive bays.
drive bays are a great method of protecting your computer data
from a virus or hardware failure. Each unit consists of a portable
bay that holds the hard drive, and a dock shelf that fits into
your PC's 5 1/4" front panel. Mounting hardware is supplied
with the kit. Two front panel drive bay slots are necessary.
One will become your normal C drive,
and the other will be your new D drive. Using Norton
Ghost Personal Edition software, an exact image (including Windows
system files) of your C drive data can be transferred
to the other new D drive easily. Selective backups are
possible, but I always choose the full backup. The drive sizes
do not have to be identical. Just make sure the data size from
one will not exceed the capacity of the other. Internal power
connector pigtails inside your PC will provide power to each
bay shelf, and the I/O cables from your motherboard plug in
also. If you use ATA/133 or similar drives, make sure your kit
supports this. Some bays offer fans and fancy locks. I don't
You need to
configure each hard drive's jumpers to select the drive as a Master
drive. Use appropriate motherboard connector positions. This way,
you can simply remove D drive and insert into the C
drive slot, and just reboot! It's really that easy. No wasted time,
no hassle, with your sanity maintained and no productivity loss.
Cost? Expect about $20 and up for each bay and shelf combination
for IDE drives if you don't shop around. I found a bargain and paid
$14 for the C and D drive pair. Sure, no fans or
metal key locks, but they work just fine. If you have a suitable
spare drive available, you have a start. Otherwise, just pick one
up, possibly on sale. Ebay has also proven to be a good source.
Drives are cheap these days.
I normally do
a full system backup once a week, and 3 Gig takes about 30 minutes
or so. After the backup, I power down and physically pull
the D drive out about a half inch so that it doesn't have
power applied. This way I'm protected should a power surge or lightning
strike take out the rest of the computer. My PC motherboard BIOS
does a power on check for a physical drive at power on. If the
D drive isn't there, the CD-ROM will then get the D
a favor and mark each new drive with it's letter indicator. It's
easy to get C and D drives confused since they look
identical. You don't want to do a reverse backup! Also, don't try
to hot swap the drives, despite what the instruction sheets say
you can do. Don't do it. Turn the power off before removing or inserting
has saved my data. I experienced a C drive failure (under
warranty). I just removed D, inserted into C, and
sent the defective drive back for repair.
too have been using removable drive bays - about 6 or so years,
and have been installing them inside multiple systems for easy drive
clean up and OS switching. I have found that spending a little more
- not so much in the addition of fans to the system but to the material
in which the hard drive tray is constructed out of, such as aluminum
or plastic. I have found that the newer drives, 7200 or 10000 rpm
drives tend to get a lot hotter and therefore require a larger area
of mass or thermal conduction to dissipate the heat.
follow-up would be to encourage the use of aluminum trays and then
the addition of fans to keep the drives cool. I've had the unfortunate
trial, maybe someone can learn from my mistakes.
(Thanks to Charles
Remember, it's not a matter if your
hardware will fail, it's a matter of when.