2 machines and 2 drobos? (xp desktop and new win7 laptop)

Just following on from this usb3 thread. I’ve got another question for you guys if you can help :slight_smile:

I’ve got a winxp machine which is connected via a standard usb2 connection to my gen1 drobo, and also a gen2 drobo (via a separate usb2 cable). the setup works a treat (and i can even “syncback” data between the 3 devices and all works great)

Dashboard 1.7.3 (1.7.30095)
Firmware 1.3.7 (1.254.30359)

each drobo, has a 2tb volume limit, has 2 volumes, and the volumes are ntfs.
and a recent chkdsk with the /x command shows no errors on them.

What’s Changed?
ive also got a new win7-home, 64-bit laptop, which has a usb slot (usb 1 / usb2.0 i believe), and also i believe it has a usb3/esata slot. (there is no drobo dashboard software installed on the win7 laptop)

Main Objective:
Objective 1) is to be able to also access the drobos from the win7 Laptop
(eg at least to be able to unplug the drobo from the xp machine on a temp basis, and use it with the laptop, and put it back on the xp desktop again once i have finished) otherwise i have to keep copying bits of data onto usb sticks etc

Objective 2)
is similar to 1) above, but ideally with the xp machine also being able to still access the data, (since the xp machine is more heavily integrated with the drobo gen1, in terms of programs being installed onti it / referencing it).

Q1) can objective 1) be done?
(and is it safe)
and can i have the latest dashboard on the win7 machine without causing corruptions or problems since the disk pack is on the current (older) xp dashboard/firmware?

Q2) can objective 2) be done?
and is is safe as above :slight_smile:

assuming that a usb3 slot would simply accept a drobo gen1 or gen2 (and just run at the slower speed of a usb2 connection) if there’s no 64bit driver does this mean we cant actually plug a usb gen1/2 drobo straight into win7?

(from what bhiga said in the http://www.drobospace.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=3320 thread from above) it sounds like it would work, in which case is it safe to connect a gen1 /gen2 drobo in this way, if it already has a data/disk set from xp which was having dashboard installed.

sorry for all the questions, its just that i haven’t done this at all before and its always good to have a bit more theory confirmed before trying the practical :slight_smile:


You can absolutely install Dashboard 2.1.2 on the laptop without causing any problems. It will be able to read the Drobos, even running firmware 1.3.7, but the commands are in different places. To switch either Drobo to a different computer safely:

  1. Put it into standby from Dashboard
  2. Disconnect the power cord
  3. Disconnect the USB cord from the XP machine and reconnect it into the laptop
  4. Reconnect the power cord

You should be able to share the Drobos from whichever computer to which they’re connected. This will make them accessible to the other computers on the network. Directions can be found at:


cool, many thanks for the 1st part - i’ll set up dashboard on the laptop.
and will check out the 2nd part too.

“Sneakernet” (disconnect from XP, connect to 7 64-bit, reconnect to XP) definitely works with XP-compatible-formatted Drobo (volumes <= 2TB)

Just keep in mind that the mounted drive letters may be different between your two machines, so if you have any operations that are drive-letter-specific, they may need to be adjusted accordingly.

success - i installed dashboard 2.1.2 on the laptop,
and was able to use the gen 2 on it,
and brought it back to xp and all worked great and chkdsked again on xp and all seems ok :slight_smile:

only difference was that the drobo was at 9% free yellow status before
and now with some laptop backups put onto it, its 4% free red status
and the laptop showed the colour change (and new gfx)
and the xp machine now shows the gen1 (with yellow status as before) and picks up the gen2 red alert status too.

(i didnt need to, (or try) the gen1 on the laptop yet, but the gen2 worked a treat)


Hi guys, just to follow on from this, i now have a new “Drobo S” :slight_smile:

Do you know of any recommended processes i should follow before starting to use it?

for example:

  • i’d like to be able to use it on windows xp as well as windows 7
  • i have 5x 1.5TB WD15EADS drives ready to use (new and wdscanned with no errors)
  • i dont mind if each volume on the Drobo S has to be 2tb
  • i’d like to be able to use it on a machine (which may have the gen1 or gen2 drobo connected also, eg so that i can copy the contents between them and drobo S)

the windows 7 laptop says sp1
and the xp desktop is sp2

i still have 5% free space on the gen1/gen2 so am ok for a while but i didn’t want to start any drobo formatting etc just yet without checking with you guys first, (in case by formatting it using the win7 dashboard v2.1.2 [46070] might mean that an earlier dashboard couldnt read it etc)?

any help and info would be great.
(id really not want to upgrade the xp machine into sp3 as it can often muck up an os and programs) or so i heard :slight_smile:

Hi Paul,

I might be over simplifying this but why can’t you just create a folder share on the PC’s connected to the drobo’s and map to them from the Win7 Laptop?

thanks Cooper thats an option indeed.
am just trying to plan for future as well in case i need to do the above under different circumstances etc

btw i just posted a separate (part related) thread on the Drobo S area (since it was mainy drobo s) here:

(main line of thinking is for me not to rush and setup and format the new drobo s, just in the case of any special prerequisite being needed in order to be able to access a Drobo S on an xp machine)

for example: if the drobo s was to need to be formatted via a particular dashboard or firmware version in the first place, in order to be compatible, then i could do it like that, rather then to simply plug it into win7 and format using the latest dashboard and then upgrade the drobo s to the latest firmware to then find out that if i did it another way it could be accessible via xp sp2 as well :wink:

You will have to format the DroboS from the 2.1.2 version of Dashboard as the 1.x versions will not work with it. Formatting it from 2.1.2 won’t hurt anything as you will still be given the XP compatible formatting option during setup.

thanks Sky thats good confirmation,
i’ll give it a go using Dashboard 2.1.2 [46070] from this win7home sp1 (64bit) to setup and format the Drobo S and report back

(and finally i can put those WD15EADS drives to some good use LOL) :slight_smile:

well, after initially trying to hook up the Drobo S to the laptop via esata (and getting nowhere) i used the tried and tested USB 3 method - success :slight_smile:

Windows 7 recognised the drobo s, and dashboard let me format it to the desired NTFS-compatible 2TB volume, (using 2xWD15EADS) drives i had inside it, and it works :slight_smile:

now i’ll add in at least 1 more drive to let me have dual redundancy mode.

(hope for the future is that Data robotics continue to offer USB models, because in my (quick opinion) everything else isnt as straight forward yet, but i hope that the people who make computers give you that option by continuing to provide USB slots as part of them :smiley:

(next test will be to unplug everything and take the drobo s to the desktop for a connection test there but that will have to wait a bit - am going to start testing out this new Drobo S here first :slight_smile: