General discussion

How to set up a new hard drive and install XP.

I have an HP Pavilion 554x, 2.4ghz Pentium IV, 504mb RAM, 50gb HD. I want to buy a new hard drive that is slightly larger, and install Windows XP from scratch. I don't want to create backups of the recovery partition because I assume that at least some part of what exists on the current HD would then be carried over onto the new one. So, I need to know what HD I should be looking for, anything about 80-250GB should be plenty. I also need to know exactly what I'm going to have to do from the point after I install the HD (which I think I can handle, I guess it's just "plug it in to the IDE cable"). I heard that I need hardware drivers, etc. I already have a couple of licensed copies of XP, so I don't need to worry about that. Where should I start?

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Just clone it. . .

The new HD will come with cloning software that will make an exact copy of the old drive. Place it into the PC as slave, run the cloning software, remove the old drive, set the new drive to master, done.

All my drives (many) are Seagate.

Wayne (IBM freak - 6)

Click here to see the CNet faces, learn a little about analog and digital data, Internet connections, Spyware removal, and download free software (and a GREAT chocolate-cherry cobbler recipe).
My mini-Schnauzer is smarter than your honor student.

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Well yeah, but...

I don't want a clone of my old drive, I want to completely obliterate all the data on it. In fact, I will be tossing the old drive into the bowels of hell, just to be sure. I just want to start over from scratch, and take the few files I want to keep and copy them onto the new drive from disks.

With that in mind, what do you recommend I do first?

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So what question is there?

Since you don't want to save anything then why not get it done?

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I'm sorry...

I don't understand. "Get it done?"

Surely you don't mean paying someone a large sum of money for something I can do myself, do you?

I'm trying to learn all of this stuff; I'm a work-study employee of the computer lab at my college, and I'm studying computer science. I haven't taken any hardware classes yet, mostly just stupid pre-reqs. I just feel like taking my computer to a shop would be like trying to earn a degree in automotive tech and paying a mechanic to fix my car. Happy

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Installing a New Hard Drive is SUPER Simple

It's really easy to install a new hard drive with Windows XP. First, you mention there are a few files on your old hard drive that you want to move to your new hard drive. There are a few ways to do this. One, you can copy them to a flash drive or CD and then copy them to the new hard drive once it's been installed and configured. Two, you could upload them to an online service like dropbox and then download them when you're ready. Or three, you could email them to yourself and download them when you're ready.

Okay, now to the install. As you surmised, it's pretty easy. I'd follow these steps.

1. Remove old hard drive.
2. Replace old hard drive with new hard drive. Plug in power cable and whatever interface cable you have (probably a flat "ribbon" style cable). Just make sure you plug it in "right" (do it the same way as the old one was inserted).
3. Power up PC with Windows XP disk inserted in CD-ROM drive.
4. When PC is booting up, get into your BIOS settings to ensure that your PC will boot from CD. Google your particular model PC for method of getting into your BIOS.
5. Follow the steps. You'll want to create a partition or two. I generally make a partition of about 10GB for the Operating System (OS) and "the rest" for data (Programs, data files, music, etc.). Do a quick format if asked.
6. It's really that simple. Windows XP walks you through the whole process.

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Sounds easier than I expected.

I overheard a coworker mention that after zero-writing a HD, one would need to ensure that they have all of the necessary hardware drivers saved onto disk so that they could be placed onto the newly wiped drive before the XP iso could be booted from disk, and then installed. I gather from what you're saying that this isn't an issue I need to worry about, either because I'm buying a new drive instead of zero-writing, or because an XP iso may do all of the grunt work for me. Is this correct?

One other question: You say "follow the steps," does this mean that during the XP install process, I will automatically be prompted to create a partition? If not, then what steps will I need to take to do this? In addition, would this OS partition function in a similar way that my HP recovery drive does, or would I need to rely on reinstalling the OS from the CD if I run into problems (like viruses) in the future?

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XP will guide you on partitions, formatting.

But all the drivers are up to you to find. It's far from automatic. Why not use BELARC ADVISOR to detail your hardware before you lose that information?

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It is EASIER than you expected


I've never encountered what you refer to in paragraph one and I've (unfortunately!) done lots of fresh installations of XP.

As for your question: When you boot from the Windows XP installation disk, it will take you through a long series of steps, one of which is the opportunity to create partitions. I'd create two, one about 10-20 GB for XP and programs, the other for "Data." You won't need any drivers from an external source; Win XP will have them all, at least for an initial installation. You may have to get the right drivers (i.e., the most up-to-date drivers) from the manufacturer. For example, graphics driver most likely will need an update, but don't worry about that until after you've installed Windows XP.

There are utilities that you can use that will save all of your current drivers. Run this utility, of course, before you remove your existing drive.

Because I'm risk-averse, I perform this step only in the odd case that I cannot find a driver that works. But then I revert to my old method of searching the internet if the driver Windows installs doesn't work to my liking and I've never not been able to find "the right one."

Good luck. If you need any more help, by all means reply to this thread and I can try to assist.

The great thing about this approach is that you're not going to destroy your original disk, UNTIL you are satisfied that your new disk is just the way you want it. If you aren't wholly successful in your first attempt, you can try again. There are a ton of tutorials on the internet about how to install Windows. But it really is very simple.

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Thank You, billspaced your the man !!!!

Thank you so much billspaced , I have also just installed a new hard drive and my dilemma was whether to partition into one or two. I have read that it is recommended to do a 2 partition, one for the OS and programs files and the other for documents and such. And your post was extremely helpful and I will now be doing 2 partitions to my hard drive.

One question about XP Professional's recovery feature. If for any reason I have to use that feature and go back to a functional XP state, will all my current data be delete? Or is this where the 2 part partitioning of the hard drive comes in handy, where only the partition containing the OS is affected, leaving the other partition containing my documents unaffected?

Also for other's not knowing the benefit of a two partition hard drive, could you please explain the benefits of doing so?

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Thank You, billspaced your the man !!!!

Hi, not sure if you're talking about a "restore point" in XP or not. Refer to Windows XP System Restore Is Easy to Use ( for more details, but if it IS the restore point you're referring to, then no, none of your <b>data</b> will be affected. Only <b>system files</b> and the <b>registry</b> will be affected with a restore point.

The referenced article shows you how to enable the restore point feature, how to maximize it, and how to set a manual restore point.

I would suggest that you set a manual restore point before any major change to the OS (like an OS patch). It's unclear whether system restore is invoked prior to installing a patch like this, but it cannot hurt to set one manually. You will be requested to name the restore point, so I'd name it with something useful.

The real reason for setting up two partitions is one of management. I "backup" my files in two totally different ways. For the "OS and Programs" partition, I <b> image</b> the partition and back it up to a bootable CD/DVD. For my "data" (things like My Documents, for example), I use the NT Backup utility that comes with XP and I do a full backup once per month and an incremental once per week.

This method is easier <i> for me</i> to manage.

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May I add just one thing?

Whilst partitioning new disks is perfectly valid, (I don't because I use folders instead, but that is just my choice), users need to be aware that partitioning a hard disk will not save data if the hard disk fails.

If the hard disk fails, then everything may be lost, whichever partition it is on.

So, like billspaced rightly says, backup is the thing. Always backup your personal files like photos, music, videos, documents, etc, then if you wish, backup the Operating System. But in any case take care of those XP installation disks and don't lose them or damage them.


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May I add just one thing?

Good point!

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Windows Xp Professional feature System Restore

ah yes I meant the "restore point"


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Ok, "get'er done"

As in slang for you to do it yourself or move forward. Given the great number of web pages on how to install XP or changing a hard disk where is the item that is stopping you?

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Should build Restore first

Make sure you have the Restore cd or dvd.
Anyway, a clean new install from Restore discs are ideal. Power off the machine, put the new hd and boot with the Restore disc.
If you want to clone-and-resize, can work, but lost the oportunity to build like-new machine.

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My progress after Windows Xp sucessfully installed

Ok I almost ran into a problem when I found out that my drive C was only available with 10GB. I noticed quickly that I have to partition the remaining GB of the hard drive. I did a quick format of it since it is a clean install on a never before used Hard drive.
I'm so used to having my main drive being drive (C), my only pet peeve is that I can't change the drive letter (C) in which Windows XP is on because the message "Windows cannot modify the drive letter of your system volume or boot volume". But oh well, I guess I can live with that Happy

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