I finally got fed up with backing to CDs and DVDs and got an external USB drive. This being the first external drive I’ve ever used, and needing to use for both Windows XP and Linux, I decided to go with a modest device just in case it didn’t work. I first plugged it into a Windows system, and were immediately confronted with problems. It seems the Windows software that comes with it is really buggy. The installer of the Windows software did not start automatically. Once I launched it manually the install went OK. Pressing the OneTouch button seems buggy too, it very rarely launches the backup application like it is supposed to. The backup application has non-standard UI. I tried to move the window, and that always minimizes the window. Some other operations seem to minimize the window as well. Once that happens, there is no way to bring the window back up. You have to kill the program from the task manager. Eventually I did get it to start backing up, but when I went to look at some other settings I had a hard time finding out the progress of the backup. Turns out you need to “start backing up again” to see the current progress. Finally when that was done and I wanted to unplug the device, the remove devices notification icon was nowhere to be found. Had to use a cryptic command line trick to safely unplug the USB drive.
Then it was time to try Linux. Plugging it in to Ubuntu Dapper Drake immediately mounted it. Good. Except I wanted to partition the drive, so that Windows would write to NTFS and Linux to ext3 partition. So I launched GParted. And twiddled and twiddled and was stumped by not being able to resize NTFS partitions. What was going on, I have done this before? Finally decided to do it using the command line ntfsresize tool, which I had to install, and at that point GParted also got support for this. Doh! Ok, so I resized the NTFS partition and created ext3 without problem. Dapper automatically mounted the ext3 partition as well. Next problem was getting a user-writable directory there. Finally resorted to command line, as I was getting tired of finding the right GUI tool. Took me a minute to find where Dapper had automounted it, though. Right-clicking the disk icon on desktop, and looking at the last properties tab solved that problem. At first I just manually copied some files over, but I want to use a more automated system. I haven’t yet decided between rsync and Dar (or the KDar GUI).
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