MacBooks forum

General discussion

Exterior enclosure for MacBook HD

by das928 / September 29, 2009 9:24 AM PDT

My daughter has a 3 year old 13" MacBook. We are upgrading the HD and would like to get an exterior enclosure for the old HD from this laptop. Would any 2.5" SATA enclosure work for this or are there other specifications I should be aware of?

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Any enclosure will work
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 29, 2009 11:26 AM PDT

but the connection method of choice is Firewire. have a selection but they are available from a number of outlets.


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remember that firewire is not universal
by rnauth1418 / December 28, 2009 4:45 AM PST

Firewire is a nice thing to have however, many windows computers do not have any usb connectors. If you would like something that is universally accessible I would say stick with USB 2.0. In this way you can use the external hd as a backup drive and access it on a windows computer in the case that your mac does not work.

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That's a bit of a leap.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 28, 2009 9:03 AM PST

No mention of a Windows machine in the house but you suggest USB so that they "can access the drive on a Windows computer in case the mac does not work"

Any idea how the Windows machine is going to read the data from a Mac formatted disk?

USB would be a suitable connection for this Mac because enclosures with USB only are cheaper than those with Firewire, but Firewire remains the connection of choice for the Mac.


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Not neccisarily a leap
by rnauth1418 / December 28, 2009 11:14 PM PST

The user makes no mention of having any other computers in the household. Because more people have Windows based laptops it is only natural that if their mac fails they should have a backup system in place that is most universally accessible. Formating the disk using the MS- Dos file format available in the disk utility of OSX will allow for the drive to be read on both operating systems. In this way they will have a drive that can be accessed by any available computer in the event the internal mac hd dies.

I agree firewire IS still the connection of choice, however, being a computer repairman, usb is still a better way to set up a backup solution.

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Still feel it is a leap,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 29, 2009 2:24 AM PST
In reply to: Not neccisarily a leap

All of my customers only have a Mac in the house and would not have a WinBox if you gave them one.

Your theory only works if the external has data that can be used by Windows applications.

Why is USB a better way to set up a backup solution?


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My rationale
by rnauth1418 / December 29, 2009 2:41 AM PST

Regardless of the persons home setup, the point is that if you need to access the media from the drive it is accessible to more computers if the interface is USB. Windows computers can access it as well as macs. This increases the user base significantly. If for some reason he wanted to transfer files or media to another computer there would be no hardware compatibility issues. (relatively speaking of course)

There are almost no proprietary file formats that require a specific mac formated drive. Document files, picture files, music files, and almost all other data files can be accessed from a windows applications and apple applications.

As such, USB, being a more universal interface, is a better backup solution in my opinion. Granted firewire is much faster, I would only suggest that interface if the person had access to other computers with a firewire port. If you only have one mac and every other computer you have access to is a p.c. then I would highly suggest using USB. if you have access to other macs with firewire or even p.c's with firewire, then I agree that firewire is the way to go. I simply wanted to let it be known that firewire is not as universal as USB. As such, USB is better for simple backup needs.

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Without recourse to more software,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 29, 2009 8:24 AM PST
In reply to: My rationale

which would negate the plethora of Windows machines, how would be cover the fact that Windows cannot read a Mac OS X Extended(Journaled) disk?


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If you could reword your message
by rnauth1418 / December 29, 2009 11:02 PM PST

I am having a difficult time trying to decifer what you are asking in your message. I believe there are a few typos.
There would be no "recourse to more software" because you can format a hardrive, using the MS-Dos option in disk utility, to be read by both a mac and a P.C. Regardless if he will be constantly imaging the drive or simply copying files for backup purposes, the files will still be available to a mac or P.C. Granted such backup solutions as the one's employed by Time machine require OSX, if done the smart way, backups of files can be read on any machine, regardless of OS. It is a simple matter of using a more universal format, both for the physical interface and the actual files.

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I was pretty sure, but hoping I was wrong,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 30, 2009 5:49 AM PST

that you would go to the FAT solution on the external drive.

Formatting a backup drive as FAT in preparation for that rare occasion that your Mac fails and you just happen to have a Winbox laying around does not really seem like a good plan.

How would the user format a 500Gb drive as FAT anyway? Would that be something that the average user would know how to do?


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