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swapping hard drives on a P3?

by kr236rk / March 22, 2010 10:12 AM PDT


have an old P3 [CPU 864MHz, RAM 1GB, XP Home Edition SP3] which i use for small projects.

problem: the old C drive only holds 15GB and is filling up fast with Microsoft Updates. So i installed an internal D hard drive with about 10 times as much capacity as the old drive, but i can't move Microsoft files from C to D Sad

got in touch with MS who said i should do a clean re-install and reformat the new drive to C and the old drive to D.

problem: my drives are on master and slave jumpers.

how do i switch jumpers for the MS Updates to recognise and default to the new C drive on a 'live' pc? Last time i tried to set both jumpers to neutral for example i ended up with a black screen and a series of sinister bleeps :-o

help appreciated Happy



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swapping hard drives on a P3?
by doseuk / March 23, 2010 1:27 AM PDT

Can you get hold of an application like 'Ghost' or similar and just do a clone drive?

This has always worked for me, the only thing that will happen is XP will just find new hdd controler.

If you can't get hold of Ghost, I think there are some free ones out there but I have always used this app and it works a treat.

Hope this helps Happy


Message was edited by: admin to remove signature link which is prohibited in these forums. Please use your CNET profile for such. Thanks!

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Jumpers don't determine the drive letter
by Steven Haninger / March 23, 2010 2:50 AM PDT

You said you use this system for "small projects". What software needs to be installed on it? The MS updates are going to be downloaded into the Windows folders no matter how things are jumpered. XP, itself, should pare down to 4 or 5 gigs of space. What you might do is use the second drive for your projects and leave XP alone. You can even move the My Documents folder there. If your backup plan is good, you can probably disable system restore or just limit how much space it's allowed to use. I'd agree with the other post that transferring the XP partition to a larger drive would also be a reasonable option but managing MS updates isn't your problem if you don't do much with that machine.

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reformatting drives?
by kr236rk / March 23, 2010 3:35 AM PDT

thanks Doseuk and Steven,

i'm using the P3 for audio projects and the software can be redownloaded at any time so there is no problem there.

the old C drive is down to 33% free disc space and that is after i recovered about 10% by shifting material to the new internal HDD 'D' which is about 99% free space.

sooner or later the old C HDD is going to fill up and most HDD's start slowing after you reach the 50% i have been told. My P3 is certainly slow, slower than it used to be.

all i really want to do is reformat both HDD's but swopping the newer drive to C status from D, on a clean reinstallation (have xp disc)

tried this last night and chose an option for selecting destination folders, but that option never came up and xp just auto-loaded itself to the old C drive and i am back to square 1 Sad

microsoft suggested i boot from the xp disc in DOS mode which would give me the option to reformat drives, but the tech closed my case number before i'd even begun the clean install and basically left me up the river without a paddle :-o

does the DOS mode idea ring any bells please - i thought it sounded cool but then realised i was confusing Safe Mode with DOS mode, so i don't really know what i'm doing here (thanks microsoft)

appreciate your help! Happy


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What you need to do
by Jimmy Greystone / March 23, 2010 3:55 AM PDT
In reply to: reformatting drives?

What you need to do in your situation is the following.

1: Back everything up
2: Pull both drives and flip the master/slave setting on each
3: Reinstall Windows onto the new master drive with larger capacity
4: Reinstall programs, updates, etc
5: Restore data from backups
6: Format the older, smaller, drive and use it as secondary storage

Also, drives do not slow down when you pass 50%. Drives themselves don't slow down whether they're completely empty or completely full. Now, when you get below about 10%, you run the risk of the drive not having enough space for the swap file to grow to meet short term demands. Then you run the risk of a condition known as thrashing, which isn't something you'd enjoy. But that is a software limitation more than a hardware one.

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by kr236rk / March 23, 2010 3:53 AM PDT

'Jumpers don't determine the drive letter' -
by Steven Haninger - 23/03/10 09:50

that sounds positive.

all i need to do is reformat / wipe both drives then elect the newer larger drive as 'C'

i have saved 90% of all the drivers etc on an external hard drive, 10% files could not be copied because they were in use, running the system

here's what i was sent:

"Clean install Windows XP"
1. Shut down your computer. Restart to change the BIOS setting to make the computer boot from the CDROM drive. (If you don't know how to change this BIOS setting, please contact the computer manufacturer for more information.[Dan Computer Co. went out of buisness about 10 years ago])

2. Insert the Windows XP Setup CD, shut down the computer (do not restart). Then, press the power button to start your computer from the CD.

3. If you are prompted to press a key to boot from the CD, please press Enter or spacebar.

4. Then you will see the Windows Setup blue screen. After a while, you will see the following information on your screen:

. To set up Windows XP now, press Enter.
. To Repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.
. To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.

Please press Enter at this point.

5. Press F8 to accept the Licensing Agreement.

6. Then you will see a list of all the partitions in your system. I suggest you delete the older partition that you wish to install Windows XP onto and reformat it again here (if you have reformatted it, you don?t need to delete the partition and format it again).

To delete a partition, please select it and then press D to delete it. Press L to confirm the partition deletion.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All the data on the partition will be lost if you delete the partition

7. You will see an un-partitioned space item in the partition list. Please choose the un-partitioned space and press C to recreate a new partition.

8. Choose this new partition again, and then press Enter to setup Windows XP on this partition.


how does this sound please?



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How to make the XP take drive letter C:
by Steven Haninger / March 23, 2010 4:22 AM PDT
In reply to: ps

To do this, you just make sure that, during the installation process, no other valid partition is present. This means leave one hard drive disconnected and have no USB flash drives plugged in either. You don't pre-format the drive either but clear it of all partitions and let XP deal with it as a bare drive. You can save yourself some confusion by wiping the drive first. There are several free utilities that will do this. Personally, I always try to use the HD manufacturer's destructive diagnostics utility as it allows me to see if the disk is healthy. Others noted here are killdisk and Dban but I've no personal experience with these. Just start off with having no partitioned space on the drive and the installation should go OK. good luck.

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format drives
by kr236rk / March 23, 2010 6:46 AM PDT

Thanks Steven: "...make sure that, during the installation process, no other valid partition is present. This means leave one hard drive disconnected and have no USB flash drives plugged in either. You don't pre-format the drive either but clear it of all partitions and let XP deal with it as a bare drive. You can save yourself some confusion by wiping the drive first. There are several free utilities that will do this. Personally, I always try to use the HD manufacturer's destructive diagnostics utility as it allows me to see if the disk is healthy. Others noted here are killdisk and Dban but I've no personal experience with these. Just start off with having no partitioned space on the drive and the installation should go OK. good luck."




insert xp disc > turn off pc > disconnect drive C > swap jumper on D drive to 'master' > power up pc and let xp disc do the rest.

am i reading you right please?

old C drive: presumably even though it is full of old updates, when i reconnect it (but this time jumpered as slave) xp will either ask or give me the option of reformatting it, and i select 'yes', so all that data will be erased by the reformat anyway?

many thanks, i am beginning to see the light of day on this issue Happy


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Setting the jumper
by Steven Haninger / March 23, 2010 8:44 AM PDT
In reply to: format drives

This will depend on the drive and the type of ribbon cable attached. If you've an 80 conductor cable, you set the drive to CS (cable select). An 80 conductor cable is a bit stiffer and usually color coded as to what plugs into what. They generally have a blue, gray and black connector. Blue goes to the motherboard, black to the master and gray to the slave. Hopefully, that's what you have and don't need to set the jumper to master. If it's an older 40 conductor cable, you set the HD jumper to either the master or single drive jumpers. I don't know the make or model of your HD so can't tell you exactly. In any event, starting with one drive during the installation will cause it to become C:. Your CD ROM drive will probably end up as D:. When you attach the old system drive, Windows will give it the next letter in the sequence but it won't prompt you to format the drive. You'll need to do that manually. You should be able to pull any needed data from that first. If you don't need data from it, I'd wipe it before letting the new installation of Windows see it.

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by kr236rk / March 23, 2010 11:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Setting the jumper
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by kr236rk / March 23, 2010 11:30 AM PDT
In reply to: IDEs

ps. am slightly apprehensive about wiping the old C drive till i have the clean install xp up and running. i do know from past experience that following the reformat procedure will wipe that drive anyway, so i'd prefer to do it that way, if it's a possibility; i have saved everything i can onto an external drive, so if the pc starts hollering for drivers most of them have been safely copied / backed up.

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I can't tell from your pictures if you have an 80 conductor
by Steven Haninger / March 24, 2010 2:02 AM PDT
In reply to: reformatting

IDE cable. If you do, each connector will have different color. The blue one plugs into the motherboard and the drive to be the "master" plugs into black. The black connector is on the opposite end from the motherboard. Just make sure that your smaller drive isn't connected when you do the installation or XP is going to consider that one as C:. That's not fatal, however. XP doesn't really care but humans accustomed to the old convention can get confused. Now, don't expect XP to be able to find needed drivers that are installed on the old drive. Gather the needed drivers before the re-installation if possible. You may download and keep them in a folder on the old drive if you wish and then install them when it's re-attached.

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by kr236rk / March 24, 2010 2:13 AM PDT

thanks - this sounds cool - i can reconnect the old C drive after the new drive has been identified as master. Especially if the system is asking for vanished drivers. when everything is up and running i can reformat the old C drive and use it for backup.

are we sure though that the pc won't black out when it discovers the old C drive has disappeared - is there enough information on the xp disc to get the pc through the re-install: i mean, the CD Rom drive reading the xp disc for example, will that Rom drive be functional without the old hard drive behind it?

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I hope I understand your question
by Steven Haninger / March 24, 2010 10:00 AM PDT
In reply to: formatting

Are you asking if the CD ROM drive will work without the old hard drive in place? The answer is "Of course it will". The installation of XP requires that you boot from the CD ROM drive with the XP installation disk in it and have a hard drive available to install the OS on. It's probable that XP will have enough drivers to complete a basic installation to where you can add the other drivers later. In fact, when it boots for the first time after installation, it will try to configure the hardware and will ask for drivers for devices it doesn't have them for. You present the drivers if you have them. If not, you find a way to download them but you're going to need to know what devices are on the motherboard or attached to it. It may take some searching to find them all. Good luck.

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by kr236rk / March 24, 2010 11:08 AM PDT

thanks Steven, that's k for kool: driver-tracking is no worries for me since i've been there before (upgraded for Win98SE to XP many years ago), i will hope to spin the xp disc tomorrow, after having disconected the old C and set the 160GB as master Wink

will update

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update: success
by kr236rk / March 31, 2010 8:12 AM PDT
In reply to: drivers

Many thanks!

went like a dream > inserted disc > shut down pc > swapped drives (and jumpers) > booted up > disc more or less did the rest Happy

am hanging on to data in old C drive (now renamed by XP as 'E' for a while just in case a missing driver scenario pops up, but so far so good

minor oops: the audio software i am running on this redeemed pc has updated but froze when i tried to run it - the update version is too powerful for the Pentium 3 CPU, but i was able to re-install the previous version form the old C drive / back-up folders, and the previous version seems to have recovered all its drivers by searching the old files, hence my reluctance to completely wipe the old C drive (yet)

the P3 is incredibly fast on boot up now with all that free 'C' space; i think i still have about 50% of the RAM to put in as well; pity about the CPU but i already got as near as darn it to the top processor for this MOBO off the Bay couple of years ago, so i think i ought to be satisfied now!

many thanks again!


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