View Full Version : I want to create a Desktop syle interface on my external harddrive without an OS.

03-20-2007, 11:30 PM
I want the Desktop style interface where files are where I leave them and maybe even a pic, but I don't care so much about that. I work with LOTS of word files and in order to organize them, I need to arrange them in particular groups. My craptastic computer crashes so much i've decided to keep all the work on a sepperate harddrive, but I don't need another OS and it don't really have room for it anyhow.

So is it possible, is there some virtual desktop that can run on a harddrive?

03-21-2007, 06:08 AM
Not sure I understand what you're saying you want to do, but here goes anyway...

1. It's an excellent idea to move all your data files off the Windows [C:] partition, either to other partitions on the same physical HDD, or to partitions on another physical HDD altogether.

2. I suggest you do what I have done and keep all your personal data files on a small [1 GB say] dedicated partition.
e.g. My Documents, Desktop, emails, address book, Firefox & Thunderbird profiles, IE Favourites & Temporary Internet Files etc.

3. I make those partitions with FAT32 file systems so that as many OS's as possible are capable of accessing the data.

4. When Windows won't load/run...
Knoppix loaded from a "Knoppix Linux Live CD" could access and manipulate most of those data files [e.g. work with doc files, view image files,delete files etc].
The "File Manager" on the Emergency Boot CD (http://www.pcguide.com/vb/showthread.php?t=41485) can read the contents of both NTFS and FAT partitions, but only write changes to FAT.

5. "My craptastic computer crashes so much"
If you can get Windows working well again [by a reformat & fresh reinstall or by a "repair" reinstall][after moving all the data files off C:]...
Make image backups of C: when all's well, then if you so much as suspect that all is not as it should be, just restore a recent good image and the software problem will be gone. :)
I use this system, and my PC is never down for long; only the 30 minutes it takes to restore an image, and that happens very infrequently and isn't a problem, just routine.
It's making the image backups and keeping the written log of all software [and hardware] changes that takes the small amount of effort involved, but well worth that time and effort.
It would also be easy to reformat C: and restore Windows [the data would remain untouched], but it's most unlikely to be necessary [I've NEVER had to do it].

6. I also make the following data partition backups...
a. Frequently "Synchronise" D: using the FREE version of "SyncBack" to a 1 GB USB2 "Flash Drive" [H:].
Also infrequently image D: to a partition on an external USB2 HDD.

b. Fairly frequently synchronise E: and F: to a partition on the external USB2 HDD.
Also infrequently image E: and F: to a partition on the external USB2 HDD.

7. Imaging, and then restoring, takes you back to a past point in time.
Synchronising keeps copies [at the chosen "destination"] of the very latest version of files, so the "source" and "destination" both move only forward.
If you then restore file copies from the "destination" to the "source", you restore copies that are less than a day old, probably only hours old.
You can afford to synchronise frequently because [after the 1st synchronisation has been completed] it only takes about 5 minutes to do.

Paul Komski
03-21-2007, 07:18 AM
If you just want your current desktop and its content kept on a separate partition or drive. First find its real location under My Computer. Under WinXP its default location is: C:\Documents and Settings\<Your User Name>\Desktop. You should also be able to get there by entering %UserProfile% into the AddressBar of MyComputer/Explorer.

This location can be checked by using regedit and look under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Exp lorer\Shell Folders.

When you have found it RightDrag the whole Desktop folder to a new location on the other hard drive. Ensure you then choose Move and not Copy from the drop down list when you release the mouse. This will update the underlying registry without doing it manually. From then on the Desktop will look the same but be physically in a new location.

If you are running WinXP you can use the WinXP Power Toy Virtual Desktop Manager (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx) to have four virtual desktops, wherever the underlying real location happens to be.