Sony HAP 1 ES and adding external Hard Drives


This is a spin off of the existing HAP 1 ES thread as it addresses a single issue. I have carefully read the reviews of the product by Kal in Stereophile and Steven Stone in The Absolute Sound.
Kal mentions that when he tried to attach an external HD, the Sony requires that the HD be re formatted, and that once this is done the HD can no longer be
used in it's original set up. Stone's review did not comment on adding external drives.
The 1 TB storage would not be enough for me, as I estimate my collection is about 3 TB, uncompressed (not including my SACDs, DVD-As, and Blu Rays, which I don't think could be stored on the Sony). I therefore would be using external HDs. I am currently digitalizing my colection but have only used a fraction of the 3 TB hard drive that is being employed for this. I don't relish the thought of wasting a HD, although I guess it is a relatively small expenditure. Has any one tried adding external HDs to this unit?
richardfinegold
Richard, I have an unused 1.5 TB HD that I bought but never used. I intend to dedicate it to the Sony. I can try to hook it up, but my guess is I will get the "reformat" command. If I can find a spare USB I will give it a go tomorrow.
Kal mentions in a footnote in his review that the drive is formatted to one of the versions of the Ext file system that is commonly used with Linux.

If you are running Windows, Paragon ExtFS for Windows appears to be a solution that would enable Windows to work with Ext file systems, and it appears to be free. If you are running a Mac, a similar program is also available, for $39.95.

Although I have no experience with this or other Paragon Software programs, at first glance it certainly appears to be worth looking into.

Regards,
-- Al
Thanks, Al.
Brownsfan, I wouldn't do that until you put some music on the external HD that you either want to transfer to the Sony, or that you want to hear played through the Sony. If I read Kal's review correctly, once you format the HD, you won't be able to add any more music to the external HD.
Richard, that's not quite right. Formatting or reformatting a drive destroys all of the data that it contains. After the HAP-Z1ES reformats the drive, probably to Ext3 or Ext4 (presumably because its internal operating system is Linux-based), music files would then be obtained by the HAP-Z1ES from your computer via the wifi or wired ethernet network connection that would exist between them (via your router). I presume the HAP-Z1ES would then offer a choice as to whether the files it obtains are to be stored on the external drive or on its internal drive.

Also, I looked further at the descriptions of the Paragon ExtFS program I cited earlier. Assuming it works as advertised, it looks like it would be an excellent solution, allowing the drive to be removed from the HAP-Z1ES and connected to your computer when and if desired, the data it contains remaining intact, and then used with the computer just like any other drive.

Alternatively, there are various free software tools available that would allow you to reformat the drive as Kal did, making it usable with your computer. But of course doing that would destroy any data that had been stored on it by the HAP-Z1ES.

Regards,
-- Al
Hmm, would the Paragon ExtFS for Windows product be a way to transfer the pre-loaded music files on the HAP-Z1ES to a desktop PC for playback?
"Also, I looked further at the descriptions of the Paragon ExtFS program I cited earlier. Assuming it works as advertised, it looks like it would be an excellent solution, allowing the drive to be removed from the HAP-Z1ES and connected to your computer when and if desired, the data it contains remaining intact, and then used with the computer just like any other drive."

I wasn't aware of that program. An app that lets Windows use ext2, 3, and 4 is something that I would very much like to have. I'll give it a try either today or tomorrow and post back on how it works.

If it doesn't work, another solution would be to just use Linux to access the external HD after the Sony formats it. Going that route would also allow you to recover your external HD and format it back to FAT32 or NTFS so it can be used with Windows again.

" I don't relish the thought of wasting a HD, although I guess it is a relatively small expenditure. Has any one tried adding external HDs to this unit?"

So that won't happen. You can put your HD back like it was before the Sony took over. You'll just have to back up any data you don't want to lose.
Richardfinegold said: " If I read Kal's review correctly, once you format the HD, you won't be able to add any more music to the external HD."

I did not say that. I said that the Sony will reformat the drive to the Linux-variant format and that, probably, your computer will not recognize it. Also, that reformatting will erase whatever you had put on it. However, you can use the regular Sony app to transfer files to it from your computer, just as it will to the internal drive..
Well, my curiosity eventually became sufficiently piqued about the Paragon ExtFS program that I decided to give it a try, which worked out very nicely.

I formatted a small (26 GB) Linux Ext4 partition on one of the three internal hard drives I have in one of my Windows 7 computers. After installing and then opening the ExtFS program, that partition immediately became visible to Windows, no differently than all of the standard Windows NTFS partitions on the three drives.

I then copied a .wav file to that partition, double-clicked its icon, and it played successfully in the default player (Windows Media Player). I then copied that file from the Ext4 partition to a Windows NTFS partition, and played it there as well.

When ExtFS is closed, which is done by right-clicking an icon it places in the "systray" area in the lower right corner of the screen when it is opened, and then selecting "exit," the partition "unmounts" from Windows, and can of course no longer be accessed by Windows until the program is re-opened.

A setting is available in the program to specify whether it starts automatically when the computer is booted, or manually when its icon or program group listing is clicked. I chose the latter.

During the process of installing the program a simple registration process is required, in which you enter into a page at their site your name, email address, country and state, and if you want to opt-in to receiving emailed announcements from them.

Cool! Best regards,
-- Al
This morning I repeated the experiment, but using an external USB drive rather than an internal drive, and for both Ext3 and Ext4 partitions on the external drive. Worked great!

Before disconnecting the drive, I closed ExtFS to unmount the Ext partitions from Windows, and I also used the Windows "safely remove hardware" icon to eject the drive because it contained an NTFS partition in addition to the Ext partitions.

Best regards,
-- Al
Al, it sounds like that might be good news, unfortunately, you might as well be speaking aramaic. :) I know what an external USB drive is, but you lost me on the rest. No doubt, most of the readers will understand what you mean, but for me, unmounting the Ext partitions from windows sounds like an exercise in voyeurism or exhibitionism, or possibly both.

At a high level, if I catch your main point correctly, you have discovered a way to use an external drive with the HAPZ1 while preserving the ability to share the drive with another computer. Is that correct? Also, can you preserve existing data on an external drive while formatting it for use with the Sony?
At a high level, if I catch your main point correctly, you have discovered a way to use an external drive with the HAPZ1 while preserving the ability to share the drive with another computer. Is that correct?
Yes. The drive could be disconnected from the Sony, then connected to a computer which has the Paragon ExtFS program installed, and files could then be copied from it to the computer or vice versa.
Can you preserve existing data on an external drive while formatting it for use with the Sony?
No. Formatting a drive destroys all data on it. However, after the Sony formats the drive it could be reconnected to a computer, and the same files copied to it if they are backed up on the computer (or on a different external drive that is connected to the computer), and if the ExtFS program is installed on the computer.
I know what an external USB drive is, but you lost me on the rest. No doubt, most of the readers will understand what you mean, but for me, unmounting the Ext partitions from windows sounds like an exercise in voyeurism or exhibitionism, or possibly both.
:-)

When the Sony formats the drive, it would presumably format the entire drive into a single Linux-compatible Ext partition, not into multiple partitions as I did experimentally. Therefore you would not have to perform the process I described of ejecting the drive via the Windows "safely remove hardware" icon. And the unmounting process I referred to occurs automatically when the ExtFS program is closed.

So all you would have to be concerned with if you wanted to disconnect the drive from the computer while the computer is operating, assuming you are using Windows 7, is to locate the icon for the ExtFS program in the lower right corner of the screen (it looks like a large letter "P"; also you might have to first click the upward facing pyramid-shaped symbol in that area to see it), then right-click the icon, and then left-click the word "exit" which will appear.

As with many computer-related things, what seems daunting at first becomes trivial once you see how to do it.

Best regards,
-- Al
Al,

Maybe you can give me some thoughts on how you would proceed on this. I've been using Linux as my main OS for the last couple of years and like it very much. After reading some comments about people using Windows 8 find that it sounds better than Win 7, I became curious and went out and bought a copy of 8.1. To my ears, it really does sound better. (One thing I would like to be very clear on to anyone reading this is that I'm fairly new to computer audio. I don't consider myself qualified in any way to give advice. Why does 8 sound better than 7? I have no clue. I could very well not have 7 set up right.)

Anyway, back to my question. Right now, most of my music is on ext4 partitions, both internal sata and external usb. Would it make sense to go through the trouble of getting Windows working with ext4? The reason I ask is that ext4 is a journaling file system and from what I understand, data is safer from corruption than with file systems that don't journal. I do back everything up, so I would probably be OK with ntfs.
Hi ZD,

Not sure if you are aware that NTFS is also a journaling file system. And one that has proven to be very robust IME ever since XP (which could run on either NTFS or FAT32) was introduced in 2001. FAT32, of course, is a disaster waiting to happen in terms of robustness.

I have no idea either why some people report that Win 8 sounds better than Win 7. And I doubt that anyone else can say for sure, either. I am not, btw, into computer audio at all at this point, and I don't envision pursuing it in the near term. Despite being a technically oriented person, somehow I always seem to be among the last to get into new technologies :-)

Also, based on all I have read about Win 8 and 8.1 I have no plans to ever "upgrade" to it, due mainly to the many reports about its user interface and other features being unfamiliar and cumbersome, and given that Microsoft has indicated that security patches for the excellent Win 7 will continue to be provided until 2020.

Re backing up, as you no doubt realize, despite the robustness of journaling file systems there is always a chance that drives can fail at any time, and that operating systems or data files can become corrupted. My practice is therefore to back up data files almost daily to a second hard drive (internal or external), and to back up weekly or so to another hard drive, and to create a complete image of the "system drive" (usually the "c" drive in Windows) once a month or so. The imaging program I use is Terabyte Unlimited's Image For Windows. In doing so, I can recover from a drive failure, or a software installation or software update that goes awry or that I don't like, or a corrupted operating system, in an hour or so, plus the time to obtain a replacement drive if necessary.

BTW, although I've been mainly a Windows person over the years, for a couple of years several years ago I dual booted Ubuntu Linux and Windows XP, mainly just to see what Linux was all about. It worked well for me, but ultimately there were too many programs I or my wife wanted to use that were designed for Windows only.

Best,
-- Al
Thanks Al. I didn't know that ntfs was a journaling file system. I'm pretty sure that I read somewhere that it wasn't, but I'm glad I was wrong. As far as Win 8 goes, I hate the interface. I just don't know what MS was thinking. There's a free program called Classic Shell. Using its default settings, it pretty much turns the Win 8 interface into Win 7. It also has a lot of tweaking options so you can mix features of both interfaces. So for me, Win 8 looks just like 7 and after using it for a couple of months now feel Win 8 isn't perfect, but like 7, you can make it work.

As far as Linux goes, I understand. Some users must have certain software. That said, I think if more people become exposed to Linux, it could very well be the future. It's just amazing what's is offered at no cost whatsoever. If you ever give Linux another try, maybe look at a KDE distro like Mint KDE or Kubuntu. Its the most Windows like desktop environment, and I feel, the most powerful.

Thanks again Al for the great info.
Thanks again Al for the great info.
Likewise! Thanks for the excellent info you've provided.

Best,
-- Al