Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:28 am

Decemberdoom wrote:And indeed, you are correct, the Linux File Systems are generally faster, more reliable, and do not need to be fragmented, but, if you want to be able to access your files from Windows without installing any experimental extxx drivers, then you should choose a Microsoft FS, just for simplicity's sake. Either way, the choice is yours. It depends on how much you will be using Windows, and how important it is to you to be able to access those files while working under Windows.


Actually, I really want to get away from Windows quickly. There are Linux programs that will do virtually everything that I need with my personal data files. I think there are very few files that I would need a Windows program to use, and even those, I hope will work under Wine.

So...should I live dangerously and use the Linux file system (I think it's called "EXT3") for my personal data partition instead of Windows? Since these personal files now exist in mostly FAT16 or 32 formats on my external storage media, can these be copied to EXT3 easily or do they have to undergo some kind of conversion first?

If EXT3 is not a good way to go, would you recommend NTFS or FAT32 for the personal file system? I've read some people think FAT32 is faster than NTFS. I wouldn't need NTFS's encryption because I do my own encryption with other programs.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:49 am

I think that http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/partitioning has the exact scenario I am thinking about. Note this from the above link:

Image

"This last dual-boot scenario is my favorite now that I know about FS-Drive, which is a small program that allows Windows to read from and write to Ext3 partitions. So FAT32 can go out the window—one less partition to worry about and none of the limitations of FAT32 (no file permissions, lots of fragmentation, and a file size limit of 4 GB)."

This sounds good to me. Will this work in the Mint Installation as well as Ubuntu?
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:02 am

I guess one remaining question is, what should I do with my E logical drive? It contains 97 GB and is empty. I won't need that space for a long time. Should I just leave E there or obliterate it so I just have C and a very large D drive?

Maybe in the future I might want to try other linux distros and they might need their own partitions, if that's relevant.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby pluraldave on Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:50 am

If you think that you're not going to use Windows a lot/at all you could always create an ext3 data partition for use on linux only and a small ntfs partition where you could put any files you find you need on both operating systems.

As for your current partitions ("logical drive"="partition") I recommend that you just delete the partitions labelled D and E in windows and start again with new partitions that are sizes you choose.

In my previous post I asked you to look at another thread where I ran someone through an install, can you follow what I said there? If I (or anyone else for that matter) write out a specific set of instructions for you like that are you going to be able to follow them or do you need more detailed instructions?

I think once you actually go through the install you will see the answers to your other questions as you go.

As I said before, a screenshot of your current partitions would be useful. You can get one from Gparted which is on your Linux disk (I assume you downloaded LinuxMint 6 Main edition?).

Boot your computer from the linux cd and when the desktop loads go to Menu>Administration>Partition Editor.
Take a screenshot (printscreen button on the keyboard) and upload it to somewhere like imageshack, then post here with the link for it.

If you find that you can't get on the internet from the LIveCD save the image to a flashdrive. Once you've finished with it right click the icon for the flashdrive on your desktop and choose "unmount". Don't just pull it out of the usb hub.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Decemberdoom on Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:47 am

Windows and DOS aren't mountpoints, but under Linux, /"anything" can be technically made into a mount-point. For example, you could have / be on one partition, /boot on another, /home on another, and so on, or you could have all of them under one partition.

For your second question, it depends yet again. You don't need to have /home on another partition, but you certainly can. The benefits would be similar to the data partition, you wouldn't lose anything in there if you decide to upgrade Linux. If you are planning to ditch Windows very quickly, than I recommend this over creating an NTFS or FAT32 partition. So, in your case, I would recomend following what that chart shows, making a small ~10GB partition for your root folder (/), then another larger partition (whatever size you want) for /home.

http://www.fs-driver.org/faq.html#acc_ext3

Check this article out just in case you would need to access this partition from Windows. Also, I do recommend just using ext3 for both, since Windows seems to be going out the windows for you very soon.

-----------------------
I suggest doing partitions before the install simply because I am paranoid like that :D. And I also prefer using Gparted over the default installer that comes with Mint. It's really a personal preference, so it's up to you.

http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/L/logical_drive.html

Heres the answer to you last question. Technically, your logical drives, C: D: and E: could be three separate drives or one drive partitioned into three parts. Your usage of the term logical drive isn't work, but because of the way logical drive can refer to either whole disks or partitions makes it confusing.

=============================
Also, if that setup works in Ubuntu, it will work in Mint. Why? Mint is based off Ubuntu, and even uses (pretty much, with some differences) the same installer. There are very few things (of this nature) that will work on one Distro but not on another.

It's really up to you what to do with that free space. If I were you, I would format it into ext3 and have it serve as a dropping point for downloads or something. The choice is really yours as far as that goes though.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:39 am

December,

Thanks again for all your help. I was just thinking...I've already got 3 partitions: C, D and E. Rather than create a new one prior to install as you suggested, can I simply resize and edit E to become the new data partition/home? Then I would just have to create the swap partition during the install. But I would have to resize C and D to make them a lot smaller, as I don't need that much space to hold Windows and Linux system files and apps. And if I make them smaller, where does the deleted space go? I would want it to go to E. But I'd also like to have the ability in future to make another partition in which I might test other Distros. Should I create that partition now also, or can I do that easily in the future?

Thanks for your patience with my endless questions. I'm trying to get to the point where I think I really understand this stuff before doing the install. But is that necessary? If I'm not understanding what's going on during the install, or I screw up, can I abort the install, and try to install again, and again, and again, until i get it right? (assuming I'm careful not to delete the Windows partition, which I think I am.) :)
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Decemberdoom on Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:53 am

When you make them smaller, all of the "empty space" is basically called "unallocated memory" free space on your disk drive that has no partition on it, and cannot be used by any O/S.

If you have no other use for E:, then that seems like a good idea. After resizing your Linux and Windows partitions, you will be able to add on all the unallocated space that will result from that, to your E: partition. (But only if E:/ is a separate partition on the same disk, which I'm assuming it is).

You can always easily create more partitions in the future if you want, all you have to do is use the "resize" tool in Gparted, at any time. It won't really make any difference when you do it. Just comes down to personal preference.

As for your last question, it technically isn't necessary to have a total understanding, but, it will certainly make things easier in the future, and give you a much higher chance of success. As long as you do not delete your Windows partition, you pretty much can install/reinstall as many times as you like. At worst, you could run into some trouble with GRUB (the default bootloader), but those things are unlikely, and easy to fix.

Hope everything goes well for you! And, welcome to Linux! :D
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby rlindsey0 on Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:56 am

Here's what I would suggest: right now, go boot up your system to a live Mint CD--which won't change your current setup at all--and then go to the partition manager and open it up. Don't do anything with the partitions at this point, just report back on what you see, in as much detail as you can manage. That's probably the simplest way of sorting out this logical drive/partition business. This way everybody knows what your Mint installer is going to see when you get to that point. Even better, if you can manage to take a screenshot and post it here, everybody can take a look. Once you've written down the info or taken the screenshot, shut down the live CD. You haven't done anything to your system yet, you've just gotten some more preparatory data.

if you want to go the separate data route rather than the separate home route, in a simple approach, basically you create 3 Linux partitions after you've shrunk your Windows. One is swap, which is formatted as swap. Another is your system partition, which you'd probably format as ext3 and which should be mounted to /. (This will make more sense when you actually look at the partition manager.) And /home will automatically be created within this partition. 20 GB ought to be plenty; you could probably get by with less if you need to. Then you create another partition for your data. It could take up the entire rest of your disk if you want; it might as well, since otherwise the space will be unallocated. Let's say you give it the name "Data"; you then tell Linux to mount it in /home/<yourname>/Data. Important: this partition remains a separate partition when you do this. It doesn't become included in or part of the / partition or the /home directory in the / partition; it's just MOUNTED there.

Here's how this protects your data. Suppose you want to do a clean install of a new version of Mint, or say a different distro like Ubuntu 9.04, over your current Mint install. When you get to the partitioning in the new install, you allow the new Linux to install over and format your / partition, but you DON'T allow it to format your /home/<yourname>/Data partition. (This is as easy as checking and unchecking boxes.) The installer is thus powerless to wipe your Data; all it can do is mount it where you tell it to, once it's finished installing itself in /.

Note that this is not quite the same as doing a separate /home partition. Usually, if you do a "normal" install, most of your data ends up in various folders in /home, but /home also contains a lot of hidden directories related to installed programs. These aren't personal data as such. Sometimes you can keep them with a new install, but sometimes they get in the way or are excess baggage. With the way I suggested above, with a new install you wipe out all these hidden directories in /home, along with everything else in /home EXCEPT what you have in the separate Data partition. I like it this way myself, but you may not.

I'm no expert, scarcely more than a tyro, but I've done this and it's not hard. The smarter guys here can correct me if I've gotten something wrong.
Last edited by rlindsey0 on Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:13 pm

pluraldave wrote:If you think that you're not going to use Windows a lot/at all you could always create an ext3 data partition for use on linux only and a small ntfs partition where you could put any files you find you need on both operating systems.


That sounds like a good idea. But then it gets more complicated because maybe I will have more than 4 partitions, doesn't it?
pluraldave wrote:As for your current partitions ("logical drive"="partition") I recommend that you just delete the partitions labelled D and E in windows and start again with new partitions that are sizes you choose.


Okay, thanks for the facts about logical drives being partitions. You seem to be suggesting I can't just resize D and E easily, I should instead delete them.
pluraldave wrote:In my previous post I asked you to look at another thread where I ran someone through an install, can you follow what I said there? If I (or anyone else for that matter) write out a specific set of instructions for you like that are you going to be able to follow them or do you need more detailed instructions?


Yes, I just read that thread and it helped explain a lot to me. I would love it if someone would write out a step by step set of instructions for my specific situation, but don't want anyone to go to all that trouble just for li'l old me. :lol: I think I can probably muddle through, with the advice you and December have given me and the stuff I found elsewhere on the net.
pluraldave wrote:I think once you actually go through the install you will see the answers to your other questions as you go.


I hope you are right about that.
pluraldave wrote:As I said before, a screenshot of your current partitions would be useful. You can get one from Gparted which is on your Linux disk (I assume you downloaded LinuxMint 6 Main edition?).


Yes, main edition. I've attached the screenshot from Win Computer Mgmt. I hope that gives you the info you need. Thanks for the help.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby rlindsey0 on Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:18 pm

gumby wrote:
Yes, main edition. I've attached the screenshot from Win Computer Mgmt. I hope that gives you the info you need. Thanks for the help.


Probably better to boot up Mint and show a shot of the partitions as Mint sees them. That will give you a better idea what to do when you get to that point in the installation.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:42 pm

rlindsey0 wrote:Here's what I would suggest: right now, go boot up your system to a live Mint CD--which won't change your current setup at all--and then go to the partition manager and open it up. Don't do anything with the partitions at this point, just report back on what you see, in as much detail as you can manage. That's probably the simplest way of sorting out this logical drive/partition business. This way everybody knows what your Mint installer is going to see when you get to that point. Even better, if you can manage to take a screenshot and post it here, everybody can take a look. Once you've written down the info or taken the screenshot, shut down the live CD. You haven't done anything to your system yet, you've just gotten some more preparatory data.


Well, since it's a pain to restart and wait for the Live CD, I hope the Windows screenshot I posted will give you the info you need. If it doesn't and you really need me to go to the Live CD, let me know.
rlindsey0 wrote:if you want to go the separate data route rather than the separate home route, in a simple approach, basically you create 3 Linux partitions after you've shrunk your Windows. One is swap, which is formatted as swap. Another is your system partition, which you'd probably format as ext3 and which should be mounted to /. (This will make more sense when you actually look at the partition manager.) And /home will automatically be created within this partition. 20 GB ought to be plenty; you could probably get by with less if you need to. Then you create another partition for your data. It could take up the entire rest of your disk if you want; it might as well, since otherwise the space will be unallocated. Let's say you give it the name "Data"; you then tell Linux to mount it in /home/<yourname>/Data. Important: this partition remains a separate partition when you do this. It doesn't become included in or part of the / partition or the /home directory in the / partition; it's just MOUNTED there.


Well, what is the difference between doing this and actually putting the /Home Directory in the separate data partition instead of in /? What are the pros and cons of both methods? Wouldn't putting /Home in the separate Data partition also protect your data just as well?

rlindsey0 wrote:Here's how this protects your data. Suppose you want to do a clean install of a new version of Mint, or say a different distro like Ubuntu 9.04, over your current Mint install. When you get to the partitioning in the new install, you allow the new Linux to install over and format your / partition, but you DON'T allow it to format your /home/<yourname>/Data partition. (This is as easy as checking and unchecking boxes.) The installer is thus powerless to wipe your Data; all it can do is mount it where you tell it to, once it's finished installing itself in /.

Note that this is not quite the same as doing a separate /home partition. Usually, if you do a "normal" install, most of your data ends up in various folders in /home, but /home also contains a lot of hidden directories related to installed programs. These aren't personal data as such. Sometimes you can keep them with a new install, but sometimes they get in the way or are excess baggage. With the way I suggested above, with a new install you wipe out all these hidden directories in /home, along with everything else in /home EXCEPT what you have in the separate Data partition. I like it this way myself, but you may not.


I see. So these hidden directories in /Home are more of a disadvantage to keep than an advantage? Hence you WANT a new install to wipe them! And that's why you would make a separate data partition that is MOUNTED in /Home, rather than /Home actually being IN the separate data partition. Am I understanding this correctly?
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby rlindsey0 on Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:35 pm

gumby wrote:Well, since it's a pain to restart and wait for the Live CD, I hope the Windows screenshot I posted will give you the info you need. If it doesn't and you really need me to go to the Live CD, let me know.

Well, what is the difference between doing this and actually putting the /Home Directory in the separate data partition instead of in /? What are the pros and cons of both methods? Wouldn't putting /Home in the separate Data partition also protect your data just as well?

I see. So these hidden directories in /Home are more of a disadvantage to keep than an advantage? Hence you WANT a new install to wipe them! And that's why you would make a separate data partition that is MOUNTED in /Home, rather than /Home actually being IN the separate data partition. Am I understanding this correctly?


I'll answer as best I can. As for your first point, don't take this the wrong way, but come on now: with all the time you're spending posting on this forum (which there is nothing wrong with doing), you could have booted up the live CD a dozen times. If you're asking for people to put in time helping you, you ought to be willing to put in the time required to do what's helpful or needful. If you want specific instructions on what to do when you hit the Mint install screen, it will no doubt help if you can reproduce what that screen is telling you, rather than whatever Windows thinks. Certainly can't hurt.

As for the second, sure, doing a separate /home would protect your data as well.

As for your third, well, not necessarily a disadvantage. If you're just reinstalling the same OS you already have, for example, and want to keep some settings in these hidden files, they might even be advantageous. What I do before a new install is copy all the contents of /home (along with my browser bookmarks) to an external drive. Thus, if I want to have access to them after a new install, I have that access. But honestly, I've never needed or wanted them (except for the browser bookmarks, but those are a different thing and not the hidden files I'm talking about); what's been most important to me is keeping what's in Data. I like having a "fresh" home while still keeping my data safe. However, I'm not a longtime user or an expert. Others may have a more nuanced take. But yeah, you do understand what I'm talking about with this: that's why I do a separate data rather than a separate /home. I'm not good enough at this stuff to have come up with this on my own; I got it from Husse of this forum, who used to recommend a separate /home but now recommends a separate Data. Somewhere there's a wiki about it. Oh yeah, here (see the part about "Changed recommendations").

http://linuxmint.com/wiki/index.php/Mov ... _partition

Don't worry if those instructions sounded tough; they are really about how to do it after the fact--i.e., after you've already installed Mint one way and got it running. Setting up a separate Data is much easier when you do it up front, at the install.

Once you have your data partition, and you complete the install, and you boot up into your new system, you can of course make all the subfolders in Data that you need, for text and music and images and spreadsheets and databases and whatever. Then just make sure your applications save to the right places in Data. You can then even delete some of the subfolders that were originally automatically created in /home at the install; you won't need them if you're putting all your stuff in /home/<yourname>/Data instead. (Don't delete the Data folder that now pops up in /home, of course--that's your new Data partition, now mounted in /home!) You don't have to delete those unneeded folders; but it just might reduce potential confusion slightly if you do.

Also, you don't technically have to name the data partition Data; you could call it Rag and Bone Buffet or whatever. "Data" just seems the obvious choice.

Also, if you haven't already, download the Mint User's Guide and read (and reread) the parts on installation.

Does this help?
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby gumby on Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:49 pm

rlindsey0 wrote:
gumby wrote:
Yes, main edition. I've attached the screenshot from Win Computer Mgmt. I hope that gives you the info you need. Thanks for the help.


Probably better to boot up Mint and show a shot of the partitions as Mint sees them. That will give you a better idea what to do when you get to that point in the installation.


Well I just tried to do that. I took a screenshot and pasted it into the Gimp and tried to save it as JPG. But Mint would not open my flash drive to save it. A "USB drive" was listed there, and in the Mint Computer Explorer or whatever it's called, but when I double clicked on USB Drive, nothing happened. It didn't open up to show the folders inside the flash drive. Very strange.

But I did manage to save the screenshot to the C drive "Documents and Settings." But when I restarted Windows, I saw that Gimp saved it as an "xcf" file, not as JPG as I thought I selected. And none of my programs will open an xcf file. Sorry.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby rlindsey0 on Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:55 pm

gumby wrote:
rlindsey0 wrote:
gumby wrote:
Yes, main edition. I've attached the screenshot from Win Computer Mgmt. I hope that gives you the info you need. Thanks for the help.


Probably better to boot up Mint and show a shot of the partitions as Mint sees them. That will give you a better idea what to do when you get to that point in the installation.


Well I just tried to do that. I took a screenshot and pasted it into the Gimp and tried to save it as JPG. But Mint would not open my flash drive to save it. A "USB drive" was listed there, and in the Mint Computer Explorer or whatever it's called, but when I double clicked on USB Drive, nothing happened. It didn't open up to show the folders inside the flash drive. Very strange.

But I did manage to save the screenshot to the C drive "Documents and Settings." But when I restarted Windows, I saw that Gimp saved it as an "xcf" file, not as JPG as I thought I selected. And none of my programs will open an xcf file. Sorry.


OK, then either try the JPG save again, or just take a look at the bar in the partition manager window and write down as much info as you can about you see--how many partitions there are, how they're labeled, size, format. You should at least be able to find out how big each partition is and how much of it is used.

I'm at work now and may not be able to pop in as much, but if I can't check back there are plenty of folks here who could help better than I.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Fred on Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:28 pm

gumby,

What Windows says about your partitioning is unreliable and for this exercise pretty much useless.

Boot the Mint live cd and when you get to the desktop look in the menu and find a program called "Gparted." It is a partitioning program. Open it and you will see your partition table. Post a screen shot. That will help greatly in giving more specific instructions.

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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Decemberdoom on Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:33 pm

I think that screenshot is enough to offer you some basic help. (Though, it would help to see a screenshot of Gparted)

You can still shrink your C: and D: drives from there. They will end up being "Unallocated Memory" you can leave it like that for now. Then, resize your E: drive (I'm assuming you've decided on just using that for your data partition) to include all the Unallocated memory from the previous two resizings. Leave E: as NTFS for now, since you can't format it into a Linux FS from Windows. You can do that later through Gparted, or during the actual installation.

For the GIMP problem, you could just install GIMP on your Windows, it's not that large a download I think.

As for the USB drive not showing up, that is strange. You may have to manually mount it, but Mint (and Ubuntu which it is based on) are usually very good about supporting these things.
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Fred on Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:53 pm

Before you start shrinking your Windows partitions, if that is what you want to do, be sure and defrag them at least once. You have been forewarned. :-)

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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby Decemberdoom on Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:11 pm

I've personally never done that before a resize, but as far as I know, all it would do is make the resizing process go faster right? Or am I mistaken here...?
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby pluraldave on Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:15 pm

Where did this talk of resizing C come from? Leave it alone, there's 210GB elsewhere to play with.

@Grumby Visit http://www.youshare.com/ and upload the xcf, then post the download link here. You might not be able to open it but we can. ;)
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Re: Create personal data partition both Mint and Win can access?

Postby rlindsey0 on Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:26 pm

pluraldave wrote:Where did this talk of resizing C come from? Leave it alone, there's 210GB elsewhere to play with.

@Grumby Visit http://www.youshare.com/ and upload the xcf, then post the download link here. You might not be able to open it but we can. ;)


Good point. Now that I look again at the Win screenshot, it appears that neither D nor E is being used for anything at all. If Gparted sees things the same way, one of those could become / (though 90+ GB might be more than is needed) and the other the Data partition; you'd only need to resize one of them to make room for the swap file, if I'm thinking straight.

But in any case, I've always heard that defragging of the Win partitions is a good idea before you go further with partitioning for Linux. Is that the consensus?
Olivia 15 Cinnamon 64, dual-boot Win 7 Pro 64 SP1, Clevo W150ER 15.6" laptop, i7 3630M, 16 GB RAM, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB/HGST 1 TB 7200 RPM, Nvidia GT 650M 1 GB, USB 3.0 HGST 1 TB 7200 RPM, HP Photosmart C5280
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