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Shared external HD and installing programs on it

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#1 Slow-botomy


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Posted 25 January 2018 - 04:04 PM

I am setting up a 4Tb Seagate Backup Plus Hub external HD.  The goal is to have it accessible by two laptops, running wondows 10, mainly to be able to free up internal HD space, and access files (mainly documents/pics/videos etc).


I have partitioned it out thus far with 2TB for pics/videos, 1 TB for back ups of the two laptops, and the remaining 1Tb was going to leave for randomness, and whatnot.  While getting everything cleaned up on the laptops, and organized on XHD, inpreparation for designing a website (hence having files accessible easily from both computers), it got me thinking about installing common programs used onto the hd as well.


I have looked up and installed XAMPP and wordpress onto the hard drive, and think I did it correctly to work on either computer, but wondering these two questions:


1. Does the HD have to be plugged into modem/router to be accessible?  As is and as I believe I read it should be, HD is plugged in via USB, to one laptop (station machine) and I can access it via the privet network or homegroup from other laptop, as I have files already.




2. Do programs have to be 'portable' version to be able to run off an external Harddrive, and will I be able to use the program off either computer?


Essentially thinking about things like wordpress(already installed), LibreOffice, Handbrake, etc.  Nothing heavy duty, although Photoshop would be nice, I'm fairly certain that is integrated to the one system, and has Adobe's 2 computer rule anyway.



I hope this was all clear.  Just want to minimize internal HD space on 2 laptops, by utilizing the shared external for as much as possible.




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#2 DavisMcCarn


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Posted 25 January 2018 - 05:07 PM

1) No, the drive does not have to be plugged into the router to be shared by both; But, you will pay a huge (!!!) performance hit on the PC it is not plugged into unless you have a gigabit router AND both PC's use a wired (not wireless) connection.  The PC with the shared drive should also have USB3 and the shared drive ought to be using it (USB2 is ten times slower)


2)  When you install a program, it puts files in several places AND modifies the PC's registry files so installing traditional programs to a shared drive is analogous to creating a minefield.  If, even once, that drive is unavailable and somebody tries to run a program which had been installed on it, the proverbial sh*t (!!!) will hit your fan in a big way.  Portable programs do not need installation so they would be fine.


You would do yourself a big favor to make the drive be the same letters on both PCs.  On the host PC, you use DISKMGMT.MSC and there is an option to "Change drive letter and paths" when you right click on the drive's partitions.  On the other PC, you map the drives to be the same letters and then everything is the same, everywhere.

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#3 Slow-botomy

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 07:17 PM

Pretty much what I was assuming, but I hate to assume blindly, so the confirmation is appreciated; As well as needed, I have a habit of telling myself, "well, if I can imagine it being so, then it should be so. And most likely someone else with grand ideas has more follow through than I, and has made it so..."  So, I always like to check ;-)


Def. running the external drive on USB 3, to a stationary laptop with wired connection to modem.  My back up plan, if things indeed didn't work out how in my mind would be unrealistically great, was to stick with the files on the shared drive, and wire laptop 2 to the network when accessing and working with them. 


I will try out libreoffice portable, and see how frustrating spreadsheets get living on the external, if it's too bad, it's not a big deal to just run locally on pc.  As far as other programs, I had visions of rainbows and unicorns, and a perfect world where we could just have cake and eat it too.  Figured I was asking a lot ;-)  In hind sight, doesn't matter as I will be the only one really accessing and working on the files and programs for the most part ... But I thought it would be 'neat' to centralize the entire system ... just me, making things more complex than they need to be, for fun(?).


I already have the drive letters squared away on both pcs.  I did this initially because of my own slightly ocd tendencies, coupled with the easier nature being able to tell person #2 in the situation what drive to save things on, without it being a major catastrophe of misunderstanding, and once again, spending too much time, looking for stray homeless files ....


Thank you for the reply, and the insight.  Clearly solidified my concerns, and gave me the peace of mind to continue with this project without being hung up with the thoughts of what I could do, to simplify things in an overly complex way.


Much obliged.  I can now move forward.

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