Microsoft Sync and an External USB Hard Drive: The Proof of Concept Works

Geek Culture

Last week I wrote about the new car we bought, and the nifty USB input feature for the entertainment system. I hypothesized about hooking up an external hard drive to the system to see if it would be possible to bring our entire music library with us on the road. In the comments, someone kvetched that in the time it took me to write the post, I could have just gone out and tried it. Well, obviously it was too late for that post, but knowing I should do a follow-up, I finally did go out and try the idea. And it worked!


Yes, this is the kludgy version of the idea. I copied our iTunes music library onto an old 40 gig external drive that required plugging into a 110v source. There is one in the car, but I didn’t want the cords sticking out all over the place, so I hooked up an inverter to the 12v outlet in the console. The Sync system took about 5 minutes to index all the music (well, most of the music – it gave us an error about drm’ed files which meant anything we’d bought via iTunes that we haven’t converted yet was not indexed). Once that was done, we had thousands of hours of music available to us.


So, the proof of concept works. Obviously, it would be far easier to use either a thumb drive (if you can live with just a few gigabytes of tunes, or pick up something like the Western Digital Passport 500GB drive, which will run off the USB’s internal power, saving a lot of space and built-up heat. However you go, though, that’s enough music to last almost any road trip.

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