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Computer Newbies forum

General discussion

how do you add another hard drive?

by dustinwhylee / November 2, 2004 11:13 PM PST

I already have a 40gb hard drive by western digital. It works great... quiet, quick, and plenty of room. However, I recently got addicted to some show that I can only see from my computer. Thus I need a lot more room on my hard drive... I want to add another hard drive so that I don't have to set everything up again (windows, my internet connection, music, etc). I was planning on getting a hard drive with less performance but with much more space (120gb-160gb). Is that a good idea? Also, I have no idea how to set up this second hard drive... I don't know the difference between the master/slave thing... I read several of these forums but I can't find one that matches my problem exactly (explains how to set it up in detail or in a simple way). Thanks.

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Re: how do you add another hard drive?
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / November 2, 2004 11:37 PM PST

Hey Dusty,

How's it going?

There are a couple of ways to go about this. You can purchase an "external" hard drive which simply connects to your current USB port and it "runs" it's simple, doesn't cause a major drain on your computer's power supply and will show up on your computer as another drive. They are more expensive than an "internal" drive.

To connect an "internal" drive, you'll need enough room in your computer tower, plus you'll need to set the "jumpers" on the hard drive as "slave". (The jumpers are a small plug/switch on the back of the drive and are easy to do. Normally, there are instructions on how to set them and where to plug in the cable/cables. The link below should help walk you through it.

Installing A Hard Drive - Step by Step

It's your choice as to whether you want to go "external" or "internal". While the internal is the most common, the cheapest, and the fastest....some folks prefer the external drive because it can be removed easily and moved to a remote location, plugged in to a secondary computer, and you have a shared drive on a second machine.

Hope this helps.


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add another hard drive? Step by steps
by TONI H / November 2, 2004 11:38 PM PST


You should have two IDE controllers on the motherboard. I would suggest that you put the two harddrives together on one cable daisy-chained together on the Primary IDE controller and the cdrom on the secondary IDE controller.

Make the first harddrive the master(the one you are using now) or the master with a slave (look at the jumper settings on the back of the drive to do this), and then make the new harddrive the Slave (same jumper location).

Then, boot up to go into the bios, then go to the Auto HDD detection area and run the program saying yes to all the drives detected as long as the sizes are recognized correctly. When it is finished, go to Save and Exit and boot up with your boot disk that goes with your operating system.

Use the boot disk for the operating system you want to put on the harddrive (if you need one that gives you cdrom support go to or and download one now and make sure you get the right version for the windows that you will be putting on the harddrive and then extract that file to a temporary folder on your harddrive somewhere, read the readme file to know how to create the disk, then put a floppy disk into the drive and follow the instructions from the readme file to get your disk made. If you downloaded the bootdisk and it's an .exe file, you can just click it and it will start to create the bootdisk for you automatically. Also, when you use the bootdisk you downloaded, it will default to being the R: drive for the cdrom, but this is only temporary until you reach the windows desktop.

when you get to the A: prompt, type <B>FDISK</B> and then choose <B>CHANGE DRIVES</B> so that it gets to the number 2 drive (the new one). Then choose <B>CREATE EXTENDED PARTITION</B> and use the <B>WHOLE</B> drive amount for that partition. ESC key and it will ask if you want to create <B>LOGICAL DRIVES</B> within that Extended partition, say yes. Now, depending on how large the new drive is, you can create one complete drive with the whole space or you can create smaller partitions at this point....I would go with partitions if the drive is very large because smaller drives will scandisk and defrag faster and you have control over where you keep games, other programs, data, etc. installed).

If you decide to partition, make each one about 8GB in size depending on the size of your new drive. As you create the Logical Drives keep track of the drive letters that get assigned because you will need to format them later and this way you will know which drive letters to format.

When you are finished with creating the logical drives, ESC back to the A: prompt and reboot again with the boot disk. When you are at the A: prompt again, type <B>FORMAT (DRIVELETTER):</B> and format each of the new drives you created by typing in the drive letter for each format you type in. If the new drive letters are D: E: and F: then you would type in FORMAT D: and when it is finished then you would type in FORMAT E: etc. until all new drives are formatted.

When you are finished, take the floppy disk out of the drive and boot up to the desktop.

Print this so you have it handy while you are doing it rather than try to remember it all. The steps outlined will only take about ten minutes to do (except for formatting the drives) but take your time and you will do it right.


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by dustinwhylee / November 3, 2004 12:16 AM PST

Thank you Griff and Toni, I haven't had the time to read your advice in detail but it seems helpful enough. I forgot to ask this as well though I think I know the answer. If I disconnect my current internal hard drive and reconnect it as if it hadn't been taken out, will anything be erased from it?

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Re: Thanks
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / November 3, 2004 12:53 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks


Simply disconnecting then reconnecting a hard drive will not erase data.

Hope this helps.


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Two things to check first
by Ray Harinec / November 3, 2004 12:19 AM PST

There are limits on getting hard drives recognized by various BIOS's. One is the old FDISK limit of 80GB and the other, possibly more of a problem based on which mobo and Op System you are using. That is the 137 GB limit. Some non WinXP system can't support larger than the 137 GB even with the MS patch.

No use getting headaches, so investigate first.

Robert Proffitt in these forums can provide much info on this.

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