NIH Blueprint: The Human Connectome Project

Why are Connectome in a Box drives only available in Linux?

Working with datasets that span multiple hard drives demands more complex thinking about logistics, for our users dealing with storage and access as well as for our own ability to fulfill orders. We have made a decision to distribute our full datasets as Linux EXT3-formatted drives. This is the common standard for large-scale storage solutions, and has the best chance of long-term usability.

The primary purpose of these drives is to serve as a method of transport, where an ideal outcome would be that your local IT department loads the data from these drives onto an enterprise redundant storage solution. However, we recognize that not all researchers have access to these resources, and will need workarounds.

Simply put, we cannot guarantee full read-write access to Connectome In A Box hard drives for non-Linux users.

Advice for Mac users?

This CNET article describes three possible approaches to mounting a Linux drive on Mac OS. However, it should be noted that as of the release of Mac OSX 10.10 (Yosemite), these methods are becoming increasingly fragile and should not be depended on.

There is also a commercial software package by Paragon Software that professes to allow Mac OSX to read Linux drives natively. However, in our limited testing on Mac OSX 10.10.2, the software (version 9.6) did not work.

HCP Wiki: How to mount a Connectome hard drive in Mac OS

Advice for Windows users?

Setting up a virtual machine that runs Linux Ubuntu appears to work fairly reliably in getting read-only access to data. This tutorial is a good place to start. Please note that you may also have to install USB drivers if you are using an enclosure to mount your drive.

There is also free 3rd-party software that allows Windows users to mount and get data from Linux EXT3-formatted drives. We have tested this implementation on Windows 7 and it appears to work. (Note: download v0.51, and be sure to "enable writing support for ext3 volumes" when installing.)

HCP Wiki: How to mount a Connectome hard drive in Windows