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Frequently Asked Questions on FireWire

Questions

  1. What is FireWire / IEEE-1394?
  2. What are the System Requirements for using a FireWire drive?
  3. Will FireWire work on a non-G3?
  4. Does FireWire work with IEEE-1394 compatible PCs and Windows?
  5. Can I daisy-chain with FireWire drives?
  6. Do I need to terminate the last device and keep track of ID numbers?
  7. How many FireWire devices can I attach to my computer?
  8. How long can my FireWire Cable be?
  9. Are FireWire drives hot swappable?
  10. Can I boot from my FireWire CD-Recorder or Hard Disk Drive?
  11. Are there any known conflicts with other FireWire based devices?
  12. Can I use more than one FireWire Hard Drive at a time?
  13. Why is my drive my display a less than expected capacity in Windows or Mac?
  14. Why 1394 instead of USB?
  15. I just connected my External/Personal Storage Hard Drives to my Windows 2000 or Windows XP system. When entering Disk Management, I noticed the FAT 32 Partition and an area of the drive marked as unallocated. Why is there unallocated space on the drive?
  16. What is the difference between a Basic Disk and a Dynamic Disk?
  17. How do I determine if Windows 98 Second Edition has the updated drivers for my 1394 device?
  18. From my Windows XP/2000 System, why can't I create a FAT32 partition greater than 160GB using Partition Magic 8.0?
  19. How to partition & format your External Storage Devices for Macintosh Computers
  20. Can I swap my Personal Storage Device between a Mac and PC?
  21. How can I convert my existing FAT32 drive to NTFS on a Windows 2000 or XP system?
  22. 1394 Windows 98SE / Windows 2000 Installations.
  23. How do I format and partition my 1394 or USB Personal Storage device in Windows?
  24. My drive crashed and I need my data. Do you do data recovery?
  25. Can I boot off of my FireWire Drive?
  26. Can I run a FireWire device on Windows NT?
  27. Can I run a FireWire device on Windows 98?
  28. I have a Firewire CD-RW or Hard Drive for my PC. What drivers do I need?
  29. What versions of Windows support FireWire?


Answers

(1) What is FireWire / IEEE-1394?

FireWire was invented by Apple Computer in the early 1990s and was adopted by the IEEE as a standard (IEEE-1394) in 1995 as a cross-platform high-speed serial technology that can move large amounts of data of data between computers and peripheral devices.

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(2) What are the System Requirements for using a FireWire drive?
  • A Macintosh computer with built-in FireWire ports, or at least one FireWire PCI card or CardBus card installed
  • MacOS 8.6 or greater
  • Apple's FireWire drivers version 2.3.3 or greater (this update is included with the FireWire Installation CD)

    [The latest version - Firewire 2.7 - is included in the MacOS 9.1 that you can download from the Apple website]

  • Driver and/or Compatible Application software for your Fantom Drives FireWire hard disk drive (included on the FireWire Installation CD)

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(3) Can I use a FireWire drive on a non-G3 PowerMac (such as the 9500, 8600, 6400)?

Yes. For best results, update to the latest FireWire drivers fro Apple. Additionally, if your FireWire PCI card requires seperate drivers, make sure the latest version is installed.

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(4) I have a Windows PC with IEEE-1394. Can I use my Fantom FireWire drive with Windows 98SE/NT/2000? What about DOS or other versions of Windows?

Fantom Drives' Firewire products are certified for use with Windows systems provided that the following requirements are met :

- usage of Windows 98-SE, ME or Windows 2000
- updates to the above mentioned operating systems to within the last month (using the Windows Update Utility in the Start Menu)
- installed, functional, and Mass Storage Device compliant Firewire bus

Please note that versions of DOS (MS-DOS, PC-DOS, etc.), Windows 95, Windows NT, and Windows 3.x are not capable of supporting Firewire devices and we currently do not have any software support for these operating systems.

**Special note for owners of Sony computers with built-in i-Link (Firewire) ports **

Please ensure that your i-Link port controller is OHCI compliant and will support Mass Storage Devices by either contacting the reseller from whom you purchased the unit, or by contacting Sony directly.

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(5) Can I daisy-chain with FireWire drives? Or do I need a hub, like with USB?

Like SCSI, FireWire is a chainable system. All FireWire products produced by Fantom Drives (and nearly all FireWire devices) have two FireWire ports and either port can be used for connecting to the host computer or connecting another FireWire device. While FireWire hubs are available, they are typically only used when attaching large numbers of devices simultaneously, or devices that only have one FireWire port (such as digital cameras).

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(6) If FireWire can chain like SCSI, does this mean I need to terminate the last device and keep track of what ID numbers I can use?

No, and no! FireWire introduces a truly user-friendly cabling system. Every FireWire device has its own unique ID code (sort of like a fingerprint -- no two devices have the same code) and FireWire does not require the use of terminators.

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(7) How many FireWire devices can I attach to my computer?

The IEEE-1394 standard for FireWire sets a limit of 63 FireWire devices per computer. (The FireSCSI software that ships with your FireWire drive has only been tested with 20 devices at this time.) When connecting directly to your computer, there should be no more than 16 cable lengths between the computer's FireWire port and the last FireWire device.

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(8) How long can my FireWire Cable be?

Without using a FireWire Hub or Repeater, the maximum recommended cable length is 4 meters between devices.

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(9) Are FireWire drives hot swappable?

Yes, with the following recommendations:

  • Never unplug any FireWire device that is being actively accessed by the operating system (such as a file copy).

    Unplugging a device while it is being used may result in a system crash and the loss of the ability to recover the data already written to the drive.

  • If you want to unplug a FireWire drive, you must first drag the mounted drive icon to the trash to dismount it. After the drive is dismounted, then it can be unplugged.
  • When recording a CD on a FireWire CD-Recorder, do not add or remove any FireWire devices. When a FireWire device is added or removed from the system, the computer momentarily stops all FireWire activity to "re-sync" the devices -- this will cause a CD that is being recorded to fail.

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(10) Can I boot my "Year 2000 Model" Power Macintosh G4 or PowerBook from my Fantom FireWire Hard Disk Drive?

In January of 2000, Apple Computer introduced new models of its Power Macintosh and PowerBook line that support booting from FireWire devices. New features need to be added to the formatting software that was shipped with your drive in order to take advantage of this capability. Fantom Drives will post an update on our website when a new version is available.

Apple has not stated if FireWire bootability capabilities will be added to older Power Macintosh computers or PowerBooks. At this time, it is not possible to boot from a FireWire device on these machines.

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(11) Are there any known conflicts with other FireWire based devices?

Not at this time! While Fantom Drives cannot reasonably attempt to test FireWire devices from every manufacturer, preliminary testing with leading manufacturers of FireWire products have revealed no known issues.

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(12) Can I use more than one FireWire Hard Disk Drive at a time?

Absolutely! You can connect and use several FireWire Hard Disk drives at once, even if they are from different manufacturers.

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(13) Why is my drive my display a less than expected capacity in Windows or Mac?

Determining drive capacity can be confusing at times because of the different measurement standards that are often used. When dealing with Windows and Mac based systems, you will commonly see both decimal measurements and binary measurements of a drive's capacity. In either case, a drive's capacity is measured by using the total number of bytes available on the drive. As long as the drive displays the correct number of bytes (approximate), you are getting the drive's full capacity.

Decimal vs. Binary:
For simplicity and consistency, hard drive manufacturers define a megabyte as 1,000,000 bytes and a gigabyte as 1,000,000,000 bytes. This is a decimal (base 10) measurement and is the industry standard. However, certain system BIOSs, FDISK and Windows define a megabyte as 1,048,576 bytes and a gigabyte as 1,073,741,824 bytes. Mac systems also use these values. These are binary (base 2) measurements.

To Determine Decimal Capacity:
A decimal capacity is determined by dividing the total number of bytes, by the number of bytes per gigabyte (1,000,000,000 using base 10).

To Determine Binary Capacity:
A binary capacity is determined by dividing the total number of bytes, by the number of bytes per gigabyte (1,073,741,824 using base 2).
This is why different utilities will report different capacities for the same drive. The number of bytes is the same, but a different number of bytes is used to make a megabyte and a gigabyte. This is similar to the difference between 0 degrees Celsius and 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the same temperature, but will be reported differently depending on the scale you are using.


Various Drive Sizes and their Binary and Decimal Capacities


Drive Size in GB Approximate Total Bytes Decimal Capacity
(bytes/1,000,000,000)
Approximate Binary Capacity
(bytes/1,073,724,841)
10 GB 10,000,000,000 10 GB 9.31 GB
20 GB 20,000,000,000 20 GB 18.63 GB
30 GB 30,000,000,000 30 GB 27.94 GB
40 GB 40,000,000,000 40 GB 37.25 GB
60 GB 60,000,000,000 60 GB 55.88 GB
80 GB 80,000,000,000 80 GB 74.51 GB
100 GB 100,000,000,000 100 GB 93.13 GB
120 GB 120,000,000,000 120 GB 111.76 GB
160 GB 160,000,000,000 160 GB 149.01 GB
180 GB 180,000,000,000 180 GB 167.64 GB
200 GB 200,000,000,000 200 GB 186.26 GB

 


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(14) Why 1394 instead of USB?

1394 is fast becoming an industry standard for consumer electronics products. It offers customers the same ease of installation as USB, with the added benefit of a faster data transfer rate and more bandwidth. 1394 Personal Storage data transfer rate is up to 400 Mbps - 30 times faster than USB connectivity!

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(15) I just connected my External/Personal Storage Hard Drives to my Windows 2000 or Windows XP system. When entering Disk Management, I noticed the FAT 32 Partition and an area of the drive marked as unallocated. Why is there unallocated space on the drive?

Older Operating Systems (before Windows 2000) disk capacity was shown on a partition basis. With the introduction of the Disk Management Utility (found in Windows 2000 and Windows XP), the total capacity of the hard disk was shown (see image below).

Note the Unallocated Disk Space shown on the External/Personal Storage Drive (Disk 1). Unallocated Disk Space will vary pending on the capacity of the External/Personal Storage Drive that you have connected to your Windows 2000 or Windows XP system.

NOTE: Windows 2000 and Windows XP do not have the ability to create FAT 32 partitions. It is also important to note that FAT 32 partitions possess a 4 GB file size limitation. If using the External/Personal Storage unit with these Operating Systems, it is suggested that you prepare the entire drive’s capacity using NTFS. Rocstor recommends that you backup any/all data on your External/Personal Storage Drive before starting the partitioning or formatting process.

Procedure:

In order to use the full capacity of the drive, you would have to either:

Create a second partition utilizing the unallocated disk space on the External/Personal Storage unit. Or you can delete the existing FAT 32 partition on the External/Personal Drive, create a partition for the entire space of the drive and format the drive.

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(16) What is the difference between a Basic Disk and a Dynamic Disk?

There are two different types of disk storage available to the Windows 2000/XP Environment:

Basic Disk Storage

Dynamic Disk Storage

Basic Disk Storage

Basic storage uses partition tables that are supported by MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), Microsoft Windows NT, Microsoft Windows 2000, and Windows XP. A disk initialized for basic storage is called a basic disk. A basic disk contains basic volumes, such as primary partitions, extended partitions, and logical drives.

Dynamic Disk Storage

Dynamic storage is supported by both Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional. A disk that is initialized for dynamic storage is called a dynamic disk. A dynamic disk contains dynamic volumes, such as simple volumes, spanned volumes, striped volumes, mirrored volumes, and RAID-5 volumes.

Reference Microsoft KB Articles 175761 and 314343 for more detailed information on this topic.

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(17) How do I determine if Windows 98 Second Edition has the updated drivers for my 1394 device?

This FAQ applies only to Windows 98 Second Edition.

If the file, ohci1394.sys, is version 4.10.2222 or earlier, it must be updated. Please get the latest 1394 update from Microsoft's website by clicking here.

Below are step-by-step instructions on how to verify the 1394 driver version.

  1. First you want to access Device Manager. To do this click on Start, Settings, and Control Panel. Once in Control Panel double-click on the System Icon.
  2. A new window, System Properties, will appear. Click on the Device Manager tab. Click on the + next to 1394 Bus Controller. Highlight as illustrated below and click on the Properties button.
  3. Click on the Driver Tab as circled below.
  4. Click on the Driver File Details Button as circled below.
  5. If the File version is 4.10.2222 or earlier then it must be updated. Please get the latest 1394 update from Microsoft's website by clicking here.
  6. If a new driver is determined please download the 1394 Storage Supplement found on Microsoft's Website by clicking here.
  7. You should see the 'Disconnect or Unplug' Icon in the system tray when or if you have the most recent driver as shown below.

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(18) From my Windows XP/2000 System, why can't I create a FAT32 partition greater than 160GB using Partition Magic 8.0?

Problem:

Cannot create a FAT32 partition greater than 160GB using Partition Magic 8.0. The following are examples from a 250GB External Hard Drive while attempting to create a FAT32 within Windows XP Pro:

Note how the drive decreases in size when attempting to create a FAT32 Volume.

Partition Magic's Help File States the following:

What is new in PartitionMagic 8.0?

New file management features that include the ability to browse files, and view and manipulate files or folders on multiple types of file systems.

New NTFS features enabling you to choose the cluster size on creating a new NTFS partition or changing the cluster size of an existing NTFS partition, and NTFS format versioning (NTFS 1.4 to the latest). (This feature requires 256 MB of RAM for drives over 120 GB in size).

Enhanced Copy Partition functionality letting you choose the partition type (logical or primary) for the destination partition and whether that partition is to be resized.

Changes in the UI, primarily in the main screen, that adopts a Windows XP look and feel.

Support for Linux EXT2 and EXT3 file systems.

Support for partitions up to 160 GB, containing up to 145 GB of data.

...etc

Cause:

Partition Size Limitation of Partition Magic.

Solution:

Contact PowerQuest for more information.

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(19) How to partition & format your External Storage Devices for Macintosh Computers?

Rocstor Storage devices are shipped with the FAT32 Windows file system installed. The drive will mount as a Windows-formatted disk on the Macintosh desktop; however, the Macintosh disk repair/recovery tools cannot repair or recover data from Windows-formatted drives.

For the highest performance and compatibility, we recommend you reformat the drive using the Mac OS Extended format. However, if you will be transferring files between a Windows system and a Macintosh, leave the drive in the FAT32 format, you will have to either:

Limit the FAT32 Volume sizes to no more than 32GB in capacity.

Format the drive with a Mac OS Extended Volume. Use a Third-Party Utility that allows you to view (read/write) Mac Volumes from a Windows PC.

Caution: Formatting the drive destroys all data contained on that drive. Make a backup copy of all your data before formatting your drive.

Below are procedures on how to format the drive for Mac OS 9.x. To format the drive for Mac OS 9.x

  1. Plug the drive into the Macintosh computer using either the FireWire or USB cable. The drive appears as a single drive on your desktop.
  2. Disable the File Exchange control panel.
  3. From the Apple () menu, select Control Panels -> Extensions Manager.
  4. From the list that appears clear the check box next to the File Exchange control panel. c. Click Restart. As the computer restarts, a message appears saying the drive is unreadable and asks you to initialize the drive.
  5. Enter a name for the drive in the Name field.
  6. Select Max OS Extended from the drop-down list and click Initialize. The new drive appears on your desktop as a Macintosh drive with the name you assigned. To confirm the drive is formatted properly, select the drive and then select File -> Get Info -> General Information. The drive format should read Mac OS Extended.
  7. Enable the File Exchange control panel.
  1. From the Apple menu, select Control Panels -> Extensions Manager.
  2. Select the check box next to the File Exchange control panel.
  3. Click Restart.

To format the drive for Mac OS X (Jaguar & Panther)

NOTE: The way in which Mac OS X mounts the hard drive depends on the drive's capacity.

  1. Plug your drive into the Macintosh.
  2. Launch the Disk Utility.
  3. Select your new drive from the list on the left. A description of the drive appears in the right window.
  4. Select the Partition tab at the top of the window.

Enter a name for your drive in the Name field.

Select the Mac OS Extended from the Volume Format drop-down list.

Select the check box next to Install Mac OS 9 Drivers. This will allow your disk to be recognized if you start your system with Mac OS 9.

Click Partition to continue. An alert dialog appears to confirm the Partitioning/Formatting process.

Click Partition to start the Partitioning/Formatting process.

When complete, the drive will Mount to the Desktop.

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(20) Can I swap my Personal Storage Device between a Mac and PC?

Problem:

Sharing an external hard drive between Windows and Macintosh systems has been an issue that has caused much difficulty in the past. End-Users that delve into both the Windows and Macintosh system see this problem on a daily basis; they cannot share files between their Windows PCs and Mac Computers.

Cause:

The problem stems from the fact that the file systems used by Windows Based PCs (FAT, FAT32, NTFS) differ from those used by Macintosh Computers (Mac OS Extended, HFS+). These differences make it a difficult task to share files between Mac and PC users.

Resolution:

Click here for ways to use Windows formatted external drives with Mac Systems. It is worth mentioning that Mac OS X (Panther 10.3.x) can now read NTFS Volumes; this means that you can copy files from an external drive (formatted with NTFS) to a Mac running Panther. However, you cannot write files from the Mac to the NTFS Volume.

The following 3rd party software products available that allow external disk drives formatted in the Macintosh file system (Mac OS Extended, HFS+) to be used on Windows systems.

MacDrive from MediaFour

MacOpener from DataViz

NOTE about 3rd Party Software:

Fitness for use in your specific application and support of these products are the SOLE responsibility of their respective publishers.

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(21) How can I convert my existing FAT32 drive to NTFS on a Windows 2000 or XP system?

You can use the CONVERT.EXE file to convert a FAT32 partition to NTFS partition without the need to reformat the drive, data on the drive will be intact. Reference the Windows Help File for more information.

NOTE: We suggest that you backup any/all data before running this utility.

To convert a volume to NTFS from the command prompt

  1. Open a Command Prompt by clicking on "Start" -> "Run" -> then type in cmd. Click "Ok".
  2. In the new window, type:
    convert drive_letter: /fs:ntfs
    For example, typing convert D: /fs:ntfs would format drive D: with the NTFS format.

Note:  Convert.exe only works on Windows 2000 and XP.

You can convert FAT or FAT32 volumes to NTFS with this command.

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(22) 1394 Windows 98SE / Windows 2000 Installations.

There are two sides to a successful 1394 Windows installation - software and hardware.

Software:

Drivers for the 1394 External Storage Unit and 1394 PCI Adapter card come directly from Microsoft. A sign that you do not have these drivers installed would be if you do not see the 'Disconnect or Unplug' Icon in the icon tray of your start bar located on the right side. To obtain the Microsoft Critical Updates:

Click on the START button located on your tool bar.

Select the Windows Updates option. (This will launch your browser to the appropriate URL for your Operating System in the language that you are using).

Click on Product Updates option. (This option will examine your system and prompt you to download the necessary updates for your system).

For 1394 PCI Adapter Cards:

If you are using another brand of 1394 card or computer with an integrated 1394 interface and have the Microsoft Critical Updates, you will need to obtain the 1394 drivers from the manufacturer of that card or system.

Further driver troubleshooting from Microsoft is available as follows:

INFO: 1394 Device Not Being Detected

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q221/8/23.ASP

1394 Host Controller Driver Does Not Retry Busy Devices Properly (Win98SE)

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q252/1/83.ASP

Connectivity Problem with IEEE 1394 OHCI Host Controllers (Win2000)

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q268/3/47.ASP

Hardware:

The following power sequences MUST be followed for your system to properly detect your 1394 External Storage unit for Initial installation - or - If you move the 1394 External Storage unit from one computer to another.

  1. Ensure that your computer is on and running one of the required operating systems.
  2. Plug the 1394 External Storage power supply into your wall socket. If needed.
  3. Ensure that the power switch on the 1394 External Storage is in the "O" (power off) position.
  4. Plug the black round power plug into the back of the 1394 External Storage unit.
  5. Turn the power switch to the "I" (power on) position (Note: The light on the front of the unit will glow).
  6. Plug one end of the 1394 cable into the 1394 port in your computer.
  7. Plug the other end of the 1394 cable into your External Storage unit.

Power up sequence after initial setup:

  1. Turn the power on to your 1394 External Storage FIRST and then to your computer - your system will automatically locate the 1394 External Storage unit.

For further details of the basic installation steps, please see the installation guide.

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(23) How do I format and partition my 1394 or USB Personal Storage device in Windows?

The 1394 and USB drives are pre-formatted in FAT 32. To format and re-partition the 1394 or USB Personal Storage in Windows XP or 2000 use Disk Management. To format and re-partition in Windows 98 SE or ME you should use FDISK.

How to format and re-partition the drive in Windows 2000 and XP

Note: This procedure is data destructive. Backup the data before performing this procedure.

  1. Access "Administrative Tools" through the "Control Panel". XP users might have to click on "Performance and Maintenance" first to access "Administrative Tools".
  2. In "Administrative Tools" click on "Computer Management", "Storage", and "Disk Management".
  3. Right-click on the Drive Letter assigned to the Personal Storage device.
  4. Select "Delete Partition..." and "Yes"
  5. Right-click on the "Unallocated" space.
  6. Select "New Partition".
  7. In the "New Partition Wizard", click Next. Select the type of partition you want and follow all on-screen instructions.

How to format and re-partition the drive in Windows 98 SE and ME

Note: If you are running either Windows 98 SE or ME edition, it is recommended that you obtain an updated version of the FDISK and FORMAT utilities included with Windows. The update allows the FDISK and FORMAT utilities to report the correct disk capacity on the screen. Update information is available on Microsoft's support web site at:

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q263/0/44.ASP

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q263/0/45.ASP

  1. Click on "Start", "Programs", "Accessories", and "MS-DOS"
  2. You will need to run FDISK from the DOS prompt.
  3. For information on how to format using FDISK please refer to:
    Microsoft's Knowledge Base Article Q255867 Or,
    FDISK Simulation by Computer Hope at
    http://www.computerhope.com/sfdisk1.htm

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(24) My drive crashed and I need my data. Do you do data recovery?

No. We are not a data recovery company. Before sending a drive to a data recovery company, check with the drive manufacturer to verify that the company is authorized to perform data recovery. If it is not an authorized company, the warranty will be voided. We recommend OnTrack (1-800-872-2599) http://www.ontrack.com or DriveSavers at (800-440-1904). They are certified by all drive manufacturers to do what is necessary to recover data from the drive.

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(25) Can I boot off of my FireWire Drive?

Macintosh

FireWire booting is possible on all Macintosh models that have built-in FireWire ports except the Blue & White G3 and the PCI Graphics models of the G4. (See Apple Knowledgebase Article # 58606).

Connect the FireWire drive and verify that the drive mounts.

Install the appropriate system software to the drive.

Open the StartUp Disk Control Panel and select the FireWire drive.

Restart.

PC

The PC does not support booting from FireWire devices at this time.

If I send a drive in for warranty repair, will I get my data back?

No. All drives are formatted as part of the repair process. You will need to copy the data before sending it in. If the data is not accessible and you need it, you will want to contact a data recovery company.

We recommend OnTrack (1-800-872-2599) http://www.ontrack.com or DriveSavers at (800-440-1904). They are certified by all drive manufacturers to do what is necessary to recover data from the drive.

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(26) Can I run a FireWire device on Windows NT?

No. Only Windows 98se (second edition), Windows 2000, Windows ME and Windows XP support FireWire.

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(27) Can I run a FireWire device on Windows 98?

No. Only Windows 98se (second edition), Windows 2000, Windows ME and Windows XP support FireWire.

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(28) I have a Firewire CD-RW or Hard Drive for my PC. What drivers do I need?

No additional software is needed. The FireWire card will recognize the device and Windows will install a FireWire driver for it. Windows 98se, ME, 2000 and XP support FireWire.

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(29) What versions of Windows support FireWire?

Windows 98se, ME, 2000 and XP support FireWire.

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