Thursday, 2 June 2011

Our Data Mule System Gets A Transplant

We have a system sitting at the end of the shop that is used for making ShadowProtect images of _all_ systems we will be working on, data recovery on dead drives, and for secure wiping hard disks.

The motherboard, power supply, and hard drive are custom mounted to the inside of an old Compaq desktop PC cover leaving SATA connectors and PCI/PCI-E connectors quickly accessible depending on the job at hand.


We swapped out the Intel Desktop Board DQ965GF with Core 2 Duo E6600 series CPU for an Intel Desktop Board DQ67SW with a Core i5-2500K CPU that we purchased as part of the Intel Virtual Channel Conference a while back.

To get the necessary speeds for the drives with the old setup we would power down and plug the SATA cables directly into the drives to be serviced and power up again.

Now, we can drop a drive into one of the above NexStar Hard Drive Docks that utilizes a USB 3.0 interface (NST-D300S3) giving us the ability to work on two drives at USB 3.0 speeds simultaneously. We will pick up a couple of dual drive docking bays at a later date if the need requires.

For now, we also have the eSATA ports that we can plug a couple of BlackX eSATA drive docks (ST0005U) into to give us two more hot swappable and fast connections for drive work.

We store images on the local hard disk that are password protected, but we will be taking the extra step to BitLocker the drive since this board comes with a compatible TPM.

System Configuration


We have an account that is set up as a Standard User on that machine. The account runs under very restricted domain access so as to prevent any possible overspill from bad stuff on drives hooked up to it.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

Windows Live Writer

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