Updated 11/13/2011: I noticed a sudden interest in this post, which seems odd considering it mentions an older and fairly uninteresting hard drive from 2006. Some of the search keywords that may be bringing visitors here include “lacie” and “anykey”. I’m guessing that the “anykey” part is keying on the name of my blog.
My best guess is that some visitors are looking for information on the LaCie iamaKey. Unfortunately, I have never used this product so there isn’t any relevant information here. Amazon reviews may be a good source for additional information. Having looked into this product has peaked my interest – I may go ahead and order one.
The Lacie drive is one of the most useful computer purchases I’ve made this year. It was certainly an impulse buy. At the time I was looking for a faster USB drive to run portable apps on, but I hadn’t planned on buying a hard drive based device. I picked it up at Best Buy for about $150, the same time I bought my mini-DV camcorder. Though it’s much larger than a standard flash drive and less durable it has a greater capacity and better access time. Portable apps load quickly.
From the manufacturer the drive came with a single, unusually large FAT32 partition. Not long after I bought the drive I needed to move a large video file. FAT32 partitions only support files of about 2 GB. If you attempt to place a file larger than the support size on a FAT32 partition, it simply dissappears. I converted the drive to a single NTFS partition, but experienced another problem. OS X (and many Linux distributions) can only read an NTFS partition, they cannot write to them. So I partitioned in a manner that would give me the best of both worlds. I created a FAT32 partition of 32 GB (the maximum for FAT32) and used the rest as an NTFS partition. Generally, I store data on the FAT32 partition.
Using these two partition types allows me to move large files (using NTFS) or move data to and from OS X (using FAT32). You may have noticed that I mentioned the drive came formatted as FAT32 from the manufacturer. All of the drive was used. Apparently, they use some special tricks to format the entire drive that way (I don’t remember seeing multiple partitions) but they don’t offer the tools to format the drive back to the same configuration.
The drive comes with two cables (and connections). One is a standard USB cable/connection. The other plugs into a USB port on a computer but is converted to a power port on the drive enclosure, to provide additional power if a computer system does not provide enough power over USB on a single port. On my work Thinkpad the standard cable works properly, but I have had to use the power-only connector on other systems.
It’s a simple device that I’ve found to be well worth the expense.