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Is there a limit to how many external hard drives/flash drives you install?


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#1 bigbrown411

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 07:27 PM

Is there a limit to how many external hard drives/flash drives you install on a laptop/desktop?



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#2 Platypus

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 08:19 PM

If you're using Windows, the OS can mount 26 volumes in total, A: to Z:  If you remove from this the drive designations already in use on the system (A: and B: are reserved for FDDs and are generally not available, the system will usually use at least C: for system partition and further allocations according to the equipment list), removable drives could be added to use up the remainder.


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#3 GreenGiant117

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 02:28 PM

as platypus the limit is 26 (well 23 realistically with the reservations) but generally the limiting factor is the number of USB ports.



#4 smax013

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 05:09 PM

as platypus the limit is 26 (well 23 realistically with the reservations) but generally the limiting factor is the number of USB ports.


Keep in mind that limits on number of USB ports can be overcome with USB hubs. Admittedly, it is not a solution without weaknesses. For example, USB ports have a fixed maximum throughput no matter how many devices you might have connected to that port by way of USB hubs. So, if you have a 5 port USB hub connected to one USB port and you connect 5 USB external drives to that hub, then those 5 drives are "splitting" up the maximum throughput of the USB port (i.e. splitting up 480 Mbps for USB 2.0). Thus, it might slow down data transfers between drives. Of course, not all drives will necessarily transferring data at all times.

In addition, there is not that says all the drives have to be USB drives. They could be Firewire, eSATA, or even network attached drives…although I do suspect the original poster likely was talking about USB drives.

Then there is the fact that you can add additional USB ports to computers if you need to do so. It is very easy to do for desktops. For laptops, it is also easy but it will require a ExpressCard slot, which not all have.

On the other side of the coin, keep in mind that if you partition a drive, then each partition can use a drive letter.

And last, to my knowledge, you are not limited to the number of drive letters…I believe you can mount more volumes than 26…you can only have 26 drives with a letter attached to them. This is mainly seen in terms of network drives, but it might be possible to do it with a USB drive…not completely sure as I have never had a need to try it.

#5 Kilroy

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 03:55 PM

I think the answer could theoretically be much higher, 250+ if you were willing to do the work.  You can mount a volume as a folder, so you could have a C: drive with additional drives inside listed as Drive 001, Drive 002, and so on.  What the effect of removing a drive would be, I couldn't tell you.  There was only one time where I was tempted to use this and never actually used it in practice.

 

In regular use 26 drive letters is sufficient for most people.  Even with the dozen drives I have in my machine and a few mapped externals I am fine.  Only in a work environment might 26 drive letters not be enough.



#6 mjd420nova

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 07:21 PM

I don't know about the volumes and folder options but I have had up to 20 individual drive designations spread across four seperate hard drives.  This was multiple partitions for different users but could work with USB, Firewire, even IEEE488, any perceived device gets a designation.



#7 NickAu

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 07:40 PM

You can never have too many ports LOL.

 

 

I guess with this setup if you have 5 USB ports on your PC you could plug 5 of these boards into them.

ji2ipw.jpg

 

 

 

25pk8sz.jpg


Edited by NickAu1, 01 April 2014 - 12:57 AM.





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