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Linux Laptops and Notebooks with Removable Hard Disks

The Problem

For security reasons it is sometimes necessary to put important data on an easily removable hard disk. Another reason might be to put different operating systems on different disks. Though Linux can easily live together with other systems on the same disks.



Single Disk

Some laptops are equipped with a removable main disk. Usually it is fixed in a tray.

COMPAQ LTE Elite 4/75CX

This model was manufactured in 1996 and has a detachable hard disk. The hard disk is therefore fixed in a removable tray. You may find further information about Linux on these machines at:

COMPAQ LTE 5xxx Series

".. has a removable hard disk (not hot swappable, but it has a little slide-in tray)." [BMK] You may find further information about Linux on these machines at:

Dell: Inspiron 7000 and 7500

DELL: Inspiron 7000 and 7500 " (three-spindle; you can have 75GB in this one!)"
[Bill Ball <bball_AT_tux.org>]

" .. it takes me about a minute to swap hard disks in my Dell Inspiron 7000 (which is last year's model, no longer made; the 7500 is its replacement)."
[IW]

FOSA

"I have two FOSA laptops (are they still in business?), the latest a 100Mhz Pentium with 40Mb RAM. I have two removable HD's for each and have Linux on one of each."
[RA]

Gateway 2000 Solo

"I am using a Gateway 2000 Solo notebook , model 2100 (about 5 years old now) which allows me to remove and switch hard drives by simply pulling the plug-in tray and replacing it with another (reboot necessary). It is supposed to be held in by 3 small screws but I haven't used these in years and there is no problem."
[Louis A. Mulieri <ieri_at_salus.med.uvm.edu>]

Broadax Systems. Inc. - BSI: NP-8550 Series

NP-8550 Series NP-8550 comes with Intel mobile Pentium II processor up to 300MHz, a 15.1" XGA display, 8MB SGRAM video memory, up to 8GB hard drive, 24X CD-ROM (or 2X DVD on the Pentium II model). The 3.5" floppy drive bay can be used, interchangeably, for a floppy drive, IOmega Zip Drive , LS-120 SuperDisk drive, or a second hard drive. Total memory can go up to 256MB of SDRAM. No information about Linux on these machines yet.

HP OmniBook 2100 and 5500

"I have 2 HP OmniBooks a 2100 and a 5500 both have HD drawers that cost ~$30."
[JC]

IBM 390, 390X, i1720

".. IBM 390, 390X, i1720 (removeable hard drive, along with the ability to have an additional drive in the floppy/CD-ROM bay)"
[Billy Ball <bball_at_tux.org>]

IBM A21,A22 Series

These IBM series feature an easy removable hard disk a the right side of the case.
[WH]

IPC StarNote

These notebook features an easily removable hard disk.

Panasonic

The Panasonic ToughBook series, e.g. CF-27, CF-71 et. al. has an easily removable primary hard disk in a tray.

ProStar: NP6682T and 8293

"My Pro Star 8293 has a slide-out main disk, slide-out secondary drive (floppy can be replaced by HD on the fly), and the CD/DVD slides out too. I have three drives; one has Win98, one has Linux and one has Solaris."
[Chuck Collins <cpc_at_chkpt.COM>]

ProStar and BSI seem to sell the same models but with different brand names. You may find further information about Linux on these machines at:

Kapok 9600D

This model was manufactured around 1994 (??) and has a detachable hard disk. The hard disk is therefore fixed in a removable tray. Also sold as ProStar 9600 or Sager 9600. Out of production.

Siemens

Unknown model. There are reports about mechanical problems with the hard disk.

Twinhead: Slimnote GX3

These Twinhead: Slimnote GX3 notebooks feature an easily removable hard disk at the right side of the box.

Toshiba

The Toshiba Tecra 8xxxx series have a primary hard disk, which is removable if you unscrew the one screw, which is holding the cover.

Compal TS30I Series,Quantex I-14xx Series, MidWest Micro SI Series and Others

"All the Compal TS30I series (also known as Dell Inspiron 7000, Quantex I-14xx series, MidWest Micro SI series, and several other off-brand names) utilize a removable drive carrier accessible from the bottom of the laptop. Just 2 quick screws and the drive almost falls out by itself."
[Adrian D. Jensen <adjensen_at_notes.west.raytheon.com>]

Swapable Disks

COMPAQ Armada

".. the COMPAQ Armada's have a multi-bay that you can, on the fly, swap stuff in and out of, including hdd's, I have an m700 with a 12GB internal drive and another 12 GB drive that I can pop in the multi-bay when I need something."
[Chris Cull <scull_at_swbell.net>]

Fujitsu-Siemens S-Series

Multi-Bay swap system.

Toshiba Tecra 8000/8100

Selecta-Bay(TM) swap system. You may find further information about Linux on these machines at:

IBM A+T Series

Selecta-Dock(TM) swap system.

Other Solutions

External Hard Disks

External hard disks are available for SCSI ports, parallel ports, USB, FireWire and PCMCIA ports. Or via network.

PCMCIA

These devices should usually work with the ide_cs driver. Maybe you have to add a configuration to /etc/pcmcia/NEW_DEVICE.conf.

USB

For the SkyMaster iBoy external USB HDD you have to add into /usr/src/linux/drivers/usb/Config.in a line.

      bool '    ISD-200 USB/ATA Bridge support' CONFIG_USB_STORAGE_ISD200

Encrypted Hard Disks

Besides different software encryption mechanisms offered by Linux, there are also hardware solutions.

Siemens: Scenic Mobile 800

This machine has a SmartCard (TM) for hard disk encryption. There is no information about Linux on this notebook yet.

Fujitsu-Siemens S-Series

This machine has a SmartCard reader for hard disk encryption. There is no information about Linux on this reader yet.

How to Change the Internal Hard Disk

See my survey of laptop and notebook hard disk types and the hard disk upgrading and repairing instructions for laptops and notebooks at Repair4Laptop.








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© Werner Heuser 1997-2014 · http://tuxmobil.org/removable_hd.html · last change Mon Nov 12 2007