How many Laptops???

Samuel Technician Somers Point, New Jersey Posted   Latest  

When using a manufacturer specific program for diagnostics....i.e. VCDS for the VAG group or IDS for FORD, etc., is it necessary to have a separate Laptop for each manufacturer? Is this only necessary when programming? I was told by who I would call reputable source, that multiple files from multiple manufacturers on the same device can corrupt each other....is this true? Does anyone have experience in this?

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Matthew Owner/Technician
Beecher, Illinois
Matthew Default
 

There are a bunch of known compatibility issues. My preference is to use fully-rugged CF-31 Toughbooks. I have a few, but you could get by with one. The hard drive caddy switches out in seconds. I use all SSDs, so they boot in 10 seconds. I have over 15 various caddys. Turn the computer off, switch drive and boot to a totally different computer.

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Bob Owner/Technician
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
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Matt, Will those drives work in another laptop other than the one they were formatted on? I like your solution of swap-able drives but what happens if the laptop itself goes down?

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Matthew Owner/Technician
Beecher, Illinois
Matthew Default
 

Hi Bob, you can boot them on another toughbook. If the MK is different some drivers may need to be changed. Windows will eventually ask for a new key, just enter the other computer windows key. All the Toughbooks I own all have a COA sticker with key on bottom.

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Samuel Technician
Somers Point, New Jersey
Samuel Default
 

Thank you.....this is a GREAT idea!!!

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Isaac Owner/Technician
Hurdle Mills, North Carolina
Isaac Default
 

Depending on how it is setup, you can swap them into another computer, but you will have to release your seats with the OEM's and log back in. This prevents you from sharing you login. This can be a PAIN if your shop is open on the weekend and have a hardware failure. I went through this last weekend. I am more than happy to help get your setup to start programming at your shop.

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Samuel Technician
Somers Point, New Jersey
Samuel Default
 

Thank you for offer....I will definitely message you here if I need some assistance!!!

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Joel Diagnostician
Soquel, California
Joel Default
 

great Idea , if you have a computer fail , easy fix you already have the image operraing sytem installed,

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Matthew Owner/Technician
Beecher, Illinois
Matthew Default
 

Yes, and I always clone each drive as a backup. If the drive goes bad, boot on the clone. But those days seem over, SSDs are super awesome and I have had no issues.

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Frank Service Manager
Las Vegas, Nevada
Frank Default
 

I have also been told that. And for the investment I have in all of our factory level scanners I refuse to find out if it’s true or not. I have a separate laptop for each manufacturer

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Samuel Technician
Somers Point, New Jersey
Samuel Default
 

I do agree....it is such a costly venture!!!!

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Bob Owner/Technician
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Bob Default
 

Sam, There are some very good reasons to use dedicated laptops or drives for the factory scan tools. One, is that some of them definitely don't work together on the same drive and secondly, you may find it hard to get tech support from the manufactures if you don't have a dedicated laptop. J2534 programs are another matter. I currently have about 7 different manufacturers on one laptop and

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Samuel Technician
Somers Point, New Jersey
Samuel Default
 

Thank you for the insight....I am fed up with generic scan tools (Snap On) and am taking the leap into manufacturer specific media!

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Benjamin Owner
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Benjamin Default
   

It is absolutely true. If you are going to service all makes and models it is essential to have a partitioned laptop. For instance... Ford IDS and Mazda software on the same drive causes big problems. You don’t need separate laptops, but your hard drive needs to be partitioned so you essentially have seperate sections for each manufacturer. I have 6 separate partitions on a 1TB hard drive. Each

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Benjamin Owner
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Benjamin Default
 

To add to my comment you will need to be somewhat computer savvy to do this. Windows does not allow this many partitions. Therefore, you will need to use some bootable software that allows for more than four partitions.

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Isaac Owner/Technician
Hurdle Mills, North Carolina
Isaac Default
 

UEFI will allow for unlimited partitions. You no longer need to run a secondary boot manager if your motherboard supports UEFI instead of MBR (Legacy).

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Samuel Technician
Somers Point, New Jersey
Samuel Default
 

Interesting.....is a separate partition the same as a different user on the same laptop??

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Isaac Owner/Technician
Hurdle Mills, North Carolina
Isaac Default
 

Depending on how you set your partitions up, they can either be for dedicated data storage, or for what we are discussing here, have a separate operating system. Which in turn eliminates some of the software conflicts. The following OEM software cannot be installed on the same partition: ford ids, Mazda ids/mmp, jlr ssd, Honda ihds. This is the reasoning for the 4 partitions on my multiboot

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Benjamin Owner
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Benjamin Default
   

Think of a partition as a seperate hard drive. It prevents software conflicts between manufacturers. You can purchase a partitioned laptop from AE tools that is already set up for programming. Otherwise, you can purchase a bootable partition software and partition your own laptop. It is a lot of work and takes quite a bit of time to install Windows on each partition and then install all of your

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Samuel Technician
Somers Point, New Jersey
Samuel Default
 

So .....getting a laptop with a removable hard drive and multiple caddys is what this all amounts to??

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Isaac Owner/Technician
Hurdle Mills, North Carolina
Isaac Default
 

Yes that is what most of us do.

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Isaac Owner/Technician
Hurdle Mills, North Carolina
Isaac Default
 

There are many different ways to handle the multiple laptop situations. It also depends on your skill level with computers and software, and what you are comfortable with. I personally prefer to have multiple hard drives for the same computer, in a hot swap-able format. This can be a fast process, or a long process depending on what base laptop you choose. I personally use 4x Lenovo Business

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Samuel Technician
Somers Point, New Jersey
Samuel Default
 

WOW....all the years in this business and this is much more involved than I had anticipated!

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

We have been using virtual machines for most of the OEM software. I hear a ton of concerns from others but in 2 1/2 years of using VMs we have not had a programming failure due to VMs. Recently Ford made it so you are not able to register IDS on a VM. Tech2Win does not work on a VM. We run them on separate partitions. Nearly everything else is on VM for us. When it crashes, we have an image that

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Isaac Owner/Technician
Hurdle Mills, North Carolina
Isaac Default
 

VMware definitely has its place! They save massive amounts of setup time. They also require a moderate level of technical know how for initial setup, but once established they work and are easily backed up and restored.

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Bob Owner/Technician
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Bob Default
 

Question Michael, if I make a backup or clone my existing drive and then install the copy into the same laptop, will that change my hardware id? Will I have to re-register the laptop with ODIS and others that lock the software to a particular laptop? I'm thinking a cloned drive should work the same as the original but I'm not sure how that plays with certain software.

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Isaac Owner/Technician
Hurdle Mills, North Carolina
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It is married to the hardware in the computer. If you clone it as a backup for the same physical computer it should be plug and play; as long as there have not been any version changes in the software.

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Jess Diagnostician
Windsor, Wisconsin
Jess Default
 

We have half dozen laptops with different oem software. Main reason is so one tech isn't hogging laptop another needs with different software. On my own laptops I have several oems on one. But is more heavy duty software then light duty.

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Edwin Mobile Technician
Charleston, South Carolina
Edwin Default
 

For many years I have had multiple laptops with each manufacturer having their own. The reason I do this is that I like to install manufacturer's specific service information like special bulletins,service procedures or anything that has to do with that manufacturer on them. I dont ever buy brand new laptops but a good used one. If i start having a problem with a laptop i just get another one…

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Eric Owner/Technician
Peoria, Illinois
Eric Default
 

Agreed Ed, Laptops are so much more reasonable now. You can buy several of them for what I originally paid for my first laptop based OE tool so many years ago. We have over 20 with a fresh stack sitting in my office. I use a combinations ruggedized Dell ATGs, Panasonic CFs and manufacturer's specified tablet where the OE doesn't allow for a laptop. I have used VMs and partitions in the past and

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Edwin Mobile Technician
Charleston, South Carolina
Edwin Default
 

Eric you're absolutely right I like to have backups for my backup happy holidays to you and your family my friend

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Tyler Owner
Gilbert, South Carolina
Tyler Default
 

In the HD world, you can put them all on one laptop. The hard drive switch that Matthew suggested won't work for HD, as the serial numbers/registrations break on most software (not all). It just isn't very convenient to have only 1 laptop in a shop however.

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Isaac Owner/Technician
Hurdle Mills, North Carolina
Isaac Default
 

In the automotive side you have to call most of the OEM's and have your license released /reassigned when you move to a backup copy.

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Matthew Owner/Technician
Beecher, Illinois
Matthew Default
   

I rarely have hardware issues, but yes, when I do some software needs to be re-registered. Usually a quick phone call to rectify. Some OEM software seems to tie the license to the computer hardware, similar to Windows. I cannot remember what software program it was, but I used a cloned drive in the same computer and it no longer worked, had to re-register.

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Martin Diagnostician
Burleson, Texas
Martin Default
 

We have a partioned durabook laid out the exact way Benjamins is. Except we have our ids and vcds on a separate laptop. We had it before we got the durabook. If you're in a shop with several techs it can be problematic to only have one laptop with all the tools on it though...

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Pete Mechanic
Newark, Delaware
Pete Default
 

While it isn't necessary to use multiple laptops it is very practical. Instead of partitioning drives I just buy a laptop per tool. You can pick up decent i5 laptops refurbished on eBay for sub $200 each. The scan tools don't require the laptop be new, they just require minimum operating specs and most of the manufacturers have pretty low specs to meet. An added benefit to this is

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