Help me reduce the annoyance of an external USB harddrive.
August 11, 2013 7:25 PM   Subscribe

I would like to somehow attach my external USB harddrive to my laptop in a way that is practical and feasible. Any Ideas?

About 6 months ago, in a boxing-day effort to "rejuvenate" my old laptop, which is a Lenovo T400, I purchased a SSD hardrive (100gb). Unfortunately, the tradeoff is having to deal with only 100gb of space, and so, to compensate, I also purchased a Seagate 1 Terabyte external USB harddrive.

Now, initially, my plan was to attach my USB drive to the router so that I could access it whenever. But that has turned out to be extremely slow and the mapping is a nightmare. So, Ive just been coping with lugging this silly extra harddrive around the house, but the usb port is getting loose, it gets yanked out alot, and it is just not very elegant.

Today it dawned on me, would there be a way to physically attach the external hardrive to my laptop to make it more practical? Make it, functionally, more like an internal harddrive?

I'm thinking maybe velcro, or some kind of clip, that could attach it solidly to the back of the screen. I don't actually travel with my laptop all that much, so it wouldn't have to be too solid.

Has anyone every tried anything like this?
posted by cacofonie to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If the laptop is in one place most of the time an easy thing to do would be to plug a powered USB hub into it. Then peripherals get plugged into the hub.
posted by rdr at 7:39 PM on August 11, 2013

Haven't tried it, but the heavy duty velcro they sell at craft/sewing stores is pretty dang strong, I think it would work fine.
posted by thylacine at 7:42 PM on August 11, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions!

I do still like to move around the house quite a bit.

What would the best way to attach the velcro to the laptop be?
posted by cacofonie at 7:46 PM on August 11, 2013

Best answer: They sell adhesive backed pieces of velcro.

Or you could double sided tape it on if you want a more permanent solution.

If you want really permanent you could epoxy it.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:00 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You can get a hard drive adapter for the Ultrabay Slim in a T400 and have two built-in hard drives in it. But you'd have to give up whatever's in the bay now, presumably an optical drive.
posted by GuyZero at 8:01 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Buy and install one of these with a new 2.5 inch internal hard drive. Then use the external hard drive for backups.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:02 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Otherwise, the back of the screen with velcro seems like a good idea.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:03 PM on August 11, 2013

Best answer: I have a friend who does this with a MacBook Air and Velcro. It works great.

The Velcro typically can be found as self adhesive varieties.

It was a delightfully easy, and really cool looking mod. Functional to a T.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:59 PM on August 11, 2013

Best answer: I came in to suggest velcro as i have a friend whose been doing that for years, but then i saw you had a T400.

Yea, just get they bay adapter. How often do you even use the optical drive? I'd much rather have an external optical drive than an external hard drive i was regularly using for anything but backups.
posted by emptythought at 11:09 PM on August 11, 2013

Best answer: data point: I've been running a laptop with two hard drives for probably two years now, and haven't needed an optical bay once.

worse comes to worse, you can buy an external optical for like $30.

and if you're looking to save money, buy a spin drive for your second drive. just make sure the OS is on the SSD.
posted by phaedon at 11:31 PM on August 11, 2013

Best answer: I'd use 3M Dual Lock. Like Velcro but stronger and more of a snap together feel.
posted by zippy at 11:53 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have used velcro in the past, and the important variables here are the weight of the drive, and the stiffness of the screen's hinge. Too heavy and too loose, respectively, will have your screen constantly moving around to annoying positions.
posted by HFSH at 3:37 AM on August 12, 2013

My laptop gets warm, so I have a board under it so I can keep it on my lap. Masonite, finish plywood, plexiglass, whatever is sturdy, rigid and cheap. (The board I use was a shelf in cupboards that were ripped out.) If you make the board wider than the laptop, you can attach the drive to the board, and, bonus, have space left for mousing.
posted by theora55 at 7:23 AM on August 12, 2013

Best answer: Zippy has it. Dual-Lock is the fastener you want, as it doesn't slip or wiggle loose.

Also, get a right-angle USB cord for it. The shorter plug will reduce the "diving board" leverage sticking out the side of the machine. I get mine from this eBay seller. Pretty sure this is the specific one I'm using; it hugs the left side of my laptop.

Story time:

I keep a 3G USB data-stick on my work laptop, a T420. Rather than sticking out the side of the machine, I have such a right-angle USB cable coming back the left side, then up the side of the lid, and the 3G dongle is plugged into it, stuck to the corner of the lid with dual-lock. Gets the antenna up away from the clutter, too.

A few months ago, I absentmindedly left my computer atop a test-car at work, got in, and drove away. Heard the clatter, stopped. Got out. Laptop was here, hard drive caddy a few inches away, hard drive a foot beyond that. 3G stick was still hanging on the end of the cable. From the scuff marks on the case, it's evident that the laptop tumbled end-over-end as it hit the pavement. Such acrobatics surely would've destroyed the USB port had a longer cord been plugged into it, but mine was unscathed. Replaced the hard drive and I'm back in business, typing to you on that very same machine, over the very same 3G dongle.
posted by Myself at 11:16 AM on August 12, 2013

Response by poster: I had forehead-slapping moment when you suggested just swapping out the optical drive. That would have been perfect!

However, the dual-snap worked like a charm! (See here).

Thanks guys.
posted by cacofonie at 4:27 PM on August 12, 2013

« Older Where to stay in Florianopolis   |   Wanting to make my first video.... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.