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External Storage-Multiple Partitions

Greetings:

I have a question that might be difficult to follow.  Here it is.

I have 3 computers with a total of 4 HDDs.  I want to install a new 80GB HDD with four (4) partitions in an external storage case and use it to back up (full) each of my 4 HDDs.

If I understand things correctly, whenever I plug this external HDD into a computer, that computer will assign it's own partition letters to each partition of the external HDD.  

Is this a problem or is there a way to assign drive letters so that all 4 HDDs will recognize them and not change them?  I got involved into "mapping" HDDs once and it really confused me and I gave it up.  Mapping is not an option at this point.

Karl

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KarlAibling
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KarlAibling
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Greetings KarlAibling
> I have 3 computers with a total of 4 HDDs.  I want to install a new
> 80GB HDD with four (4) partitions in an external storage case and use
> it to back up (full) each of my 4 HDDs.

HOW were you planning to backup?  Software?  Copy files?  Imaging?

> If I understand things correctly, whenever I plug this external HDD
> into a computer, that computer will assign it's own partition letters
> to each partition of the external HDD.

"partition letters" make no sense.  But I think I understand what your saying.  Yes, when you plug the external unit into a PC, the PC will assign drive letters to each drive.

> Is this a problem or is there a way to assign drive letters so that
> all 4 HDDs will recognize them and not change them?  I got involved
> into "mapping" HDDs once and it really confused me and I gave it up.  
> Mapping is not an option at this point.

The hard drive doesn't care what letter it gets.  The OS assigns it, generally based on the next available drive letter, alphabetically.  If you are using XP or 2000 on all these systems then the drive is assigned a serial number of sorts.  Then the next time you connect the drive, it checks what serial number it has and recalls what drive letters it previously assigned.  So if you are using XP and 2000, yes, they can remember what drive letter you use.  BUT, for 98/Me, NO, you can't.

What do you mean "mapping"?  You mean sharing the drive and connecting to it via network drives?

Cheers!
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rindiCommented:
If you are using windows 2k or xp on the pc, you can also enter diskmanager (right click "my computer", select "manage", then "diskmanager"). Now you should see the extra disk and it's partitions. By rightclicking on these partitions you can select to "assign a drive letter". Here you can assign any free letter to the partition, and the OS will remember rhis setting for the next time.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
rindi has described how, but this is essentially what I was talking about myself.
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rindiCommented:
I justed wanted to add how you can set a drive letter to one you prefer yourself.

:-)
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KarlAiblingAuthor Commented:
OK, now we're sorta getting there.  Now for the crap in the game.

I want to back up using backup software.  I have Back Up Now 3 by NTI.  However, if push comes to shove, I'll settle for just copy/paste data folders from my HDDs to the external backup HDD.

My #1 computer is dual-booted with Windows 98se (C:\) and XP Home (D:\)

My #2 computer uses Windows Me

My #3 computer uses Windows XP Home  

All are connected to a router and DSL modem.

I'll physically move the external HDD to each computer's USB port....if necessary.  No problem there.

I just want to be able to back up each of these HDDs so if I have a major crash, I can simply "ghost" it back.  (Image?)

If I plug the external HDD to my #1 computer, booted into 98se, I'll have drive letters C:\(HDD), D:\ (CD-ROM), E:\ (CD burner) and the 4 external partition letters, F, G, H & I.

When booted into 98se, I don't see the XP Home HDD because of the different file system.  (NTFS)  If I'm using XP, then XP will see the 98se HDD because NTFS will read FAT32.

Now, if I boot into Windows XP Home, plug in the external HDD, my drive letters now become: C:\ (98se HDD) D:\(XP HDD) E:\(CD-ROM) F:\(CD burner) and G, H, I & J in the external HDD.

My #2 computer has 1 HDD and a CD burner..... C:\ & D:\.

Does this drive letter or drive designator changing create problems ?  When using backup software, and an image is "saved" and then an incremental or differential backup is made, does it look for that particular drive letter the next time?  If it does..........

Gentlemen, I have a major headache at this point.  If you say, "Forget it," I'll understand.

Karl
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rindiCommented:
No, since the backup software is local to your PC, you'll have set it up to whatever drive you are backing up to, and that won't change, except if you change the hardware on that PC (win98PC add a further drive, or card reader etc, which would take the next drive letter and shove those of your USB device up).
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