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Using external eSATA and USB hard drives with 64-bit Vista

Posted on 2009-03-29
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I am using a 64-bit Vista OS Dell Precision M2400 laptop that supports eSATA connectivity.  I am currently backing up to external hard drives using USB 2.0 ports.  I would like to switch to eSATA, but would like answers to the following questions first, starting with some error messages I have been receiving:

1)  I am using StarTech SAT2510U2E 2.5" eSATA and USB Combo SATA drive enclosures.  If I connect an external drive (500GB) while the system is running I get the message "You need to format the disk in drive X: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?".  I do not get this message when the drive is connected before booting up.  I can cancel out of the message and access the data on the drive without a problem, but would like to know why I am getting this message and if there is a way to get rid of it.  I get the same message whether or not I connect in eSATA or USB mode.  I do not get the same message with another (smaller capacity) USB external hard drive in a different enclosure, so this does not appear to be simply an issue to do with how Vista handles external hard drives because it does not happen with all hard drives.  Is there a setting I can change in Vista that will get rid of this message?  

2)  eSATA and USB hot swapping -- If I try to use Safely Remove Hardware I often get a Problem Ejecting XXX Mass Storage Device message saying "Windows can't stop your 'Generic Volume' device because a program is still using it" even though I have closed all applications and folders.  If I get this message repeatedly even though I do not appear to be writing to disk how risky is it to remove the drive anyway (in both eSATA and USB modes)?

3)  I have eSATA ports on my laptop and also on my docking station.  Does it make any difference which eSATA port I use?  I periodically undock my system, so does that argue for using the eSATA port on the docking station (assuming that it is safe to undock with an eSATA drive attached) because hot swapping seems to be a problem (as per question 2 above)?

4)  Today I put my system into Sleep mode and when I resumed my eSATA drive was not visible even though it was still connected.  Are there issues with eSATA and Sleep mode?

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Question by:Kurvenal
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1: One reason you get the error after plugging the drive after boot up is esata bios is not active until you attach something to it and the drive is still booting up. You can turn it off but I would not; it will kill other messages.
2. You can try change to removal drive policy to quick removal and see if the will help. Your antivirus software might be scanning the drives in the background. You also can load up task manger and kill off any program that is still running in the background that should be closed.
3. I don't see a problem with using ether esata port.
4. You could change the power setting to not power off devices when in sleep mode.
CT
 
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