Scott Peterson wrote me to ask about using one of the small, portable hard drives with his new ASUS Eee PC:
Hi Terry: I read your review on the EEE PC and mine was delivered this week. I looked at portable hard drives at Office Depot (Western Digital Passport, Maxtor, SimpleTech, etc.) to use with it and none indicate Linux compatibility (though the Maxtor Web site hints of it). Will any portable HD work with the EEE PC out of the box or does it need to be Linux formatted or Linux OS loaded on it? Thanks, Scott
I wrote back to say that I have used an 80GB WD Passport portable external drive with mine. The important thing to remember is that the hard drive is powered by the USB cable, so it’s going to deplete the Eee PC’s battery a lot faster than usual. Of course, if you use the Eee PC’s power adapter instead of its battery, an external drive is a great solution.
I think most of these drives are formatted as FAT32, for compatibility across operating systems. The only real limitation is that you have a maximum file size of 3.2 GB.
Normally that’s not a problem (3.2 GB!), but if you’ve copied a long video to your portable drive, the maximum size will be about 1.6 hours. That is, the usual recording size for television video (normal, not hi-def) is 2 GB per hour, so a 2-hour show won’t record in one file on FAT32.
Scott wrote back to say that he bought a SimpleTech 120 GB drive and found it was formatted with NTFS, but that the box had instructions that told Mac users to reformat it to FAT32. He did that, and reported that the drive works perfectly for him.