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What to do with old hard drive when new one is added

by Lelin / December 3, 2009 3:50 AM PST

My old main hard drive was too small and crowded, so I installed a new large one. The new drive is installed as a Serial ATA drive; the old one was the Master drive installed with the IDE cable. I used Acronis to copy the entire old drive content onto the new drive and checked the BIOS to make sure that the new drive is the 1st boot drive. Everything went well and I'm happy to have lots of storage space now. Bit by bit I've been deleting stuff from the old drive, after making sure I had it on the new one.

Here's the problem: Sometimes (not always) after a shutdown and reboot, the computer reboots from the old drive, calling it drive C. When I drecognize this, I go into the BIOS and reassign the boot order and restart. This is not a major problem, but it is a nuisance.

So here are my questions. (1)To try out the system without the old drive, should I just unplug it and see what happens? Or would it be better to go into the BIOS and disable it there? (2)Assuming that the system works OK after I do one of those, can I then reconnect/enable that drive and then format it?

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by rje49 / December 4, 2009 10:17 AM PST

Yes, unplug the old drive to make certain the new HD is booting correctly. Then format it so it's no longer bootable. Then continue to copy your personal files onto it for extra storge and back-up.

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What to do about old hard drive after installing a new one
by Lelin / December 4, 2009 11:52 AM PST

Thanks, rje, your reply has given me the courage to do what I thought I should do. I'll let you know how it works out.

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by Dango517 / December 4, 2009 4:32 PM PST

If the new drive is working fine and you can use it then just reformat the second with a D: drive letter.

Your lucky it works at all. This causes serious conflicts for some PCs. You have a very confused PC, it is befuddled but not saying, No, and shutting it down as it should be and sending you error message.

Are your BIOS current and up to date?

This thread untracked.

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Old Hard Drive
by tosim00 / December 4, 2009 9:31 PM PST

It sounds to me as if you did NOT change the jumper settings on the back of the old drive to make it the "slave" drive, and NOT the "master" drive. Also, you should change it's position on the EIDE ribbon cable.

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re:What to do with old hard drive when new one is added
by eddissonuk / December 4, 2009 9:38 PM PST

now that you have a new main c: drive turn off your pc unplug the old hard drive and disconnect it.. in the old drive you should find a set of jumpers for master, slave .and i think auto. move the jumper so that its set to slave this should stop your bios from trying to boot from it. then reconnect and all should be well.. hope this helps

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Re: Cabling
by sirpaul1 / December 4, 2009 10:28 PM PST

Just remember to change your ribbon cable appropriately. Long end to computer. Other end into the one jumpered main. Middle into the one jumpered slave.

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Add new hard drive, format old one
by Lelin / December 5, 2009 4:24 AM PST
In reply to: Re: Cabling

Wow! I want to thank all of you who answered my original post. I've always said that the CNet community is the greatest. Now, for those who brought up changing the jumper settings and ribbon placement as the cure, I'll add some details I left out of my original post to save space. The new drive is SATA and is cabled to a serial port on the motherboard, not connected to the ribbon cable. The old hard drive and a second hard drive (formerly C: and F:, now G: and F:) on the ribbon cable were respectively set as master and slave. (D: and E: are optical drives.) The information I got about installing a new drive serially while old drive(s) were connected in parallel setup (using ribbon cable) was to leave the old main drive jumper in the master position, which I did.

As for updating the BIOS, the sources I read were in agreement that one should NOT do this unless there was a good reason to do it, which I don't think is the case here. So I'll go back to the advice of the first responder--unplug the old main drive (and also my secondary old drive), test the computer to see if it boots and runs OK. If all works well, then format the old drive and possibly use it for extra storage. Again--thanks to all of you for taking the time to give me your advice!

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by porsche10x / December 6, 2009 2:37 AM PST

You beat me to the punch. I was going to remind those jumper suggesters that your new drive is SATA. There should be no reason to change the jumpers. If the boot order is correct in the BIOS, then you should be booting off the new drive, no problem. As I understand it, most of the time, it DOES boot off the new drive, so this isn't a jumper problem, anyway. Reformatting your old drive so that it's not bootable should solve the problem, but, truthfully, even that really shouldn't be necessary. There's something else wrong. You did say that you change the boot order in the BIOS then it works, but only for a while, so your BIOS settings are changing by themselves? I'll suggest one more thing. Depending on how old your system is, perhaps the CMOS backup battery on the motherboard needs replacement. Symptoms can be occasional loss of BIOS settings, which gets worse as battery fails totally. A battery can last more than a decade, but I have seen some last only a year or two.

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What to do with old hard drive
by Lelin / December 6, 2009 3:51 AM PST
In reply to: battery?

Thanks, porsche10x, for your interesting suggestion. You understand about he cables and jumbers. Yes, most of the time the system boots from the new hard drive, but once in a while hops back to the old one. First I'll see whether formatting the old drive eliminates the problem. Maybe you can tell me, is there a way within the system to check the CMOS battery, or would it be simpler just to replace it? I replaced the mother board just a couple years ago--I assume that it would have had a new CMOS battery. Still, as you say, sometimes they wear out faster than they should.

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easy enough to change
by porsche10x / December 6, 2009 5:03 AM PST

I don't know of an easy way to check, but they're easy enough and cheap enough to change. When they go really bad, you'll start getting error messages, BIOS corruption, drastic changes in clock time, etc. A lot of motherboards use CR2032's which you can buy for maybe a dollar or two. Of course, you can buy the same battery from one of the big PC companies for thirty or forty dollars:)

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battery sounds most likely
by TheBig3 / January 15, 2010 11:31 AM PST
In reply to: easy enough to change

I have to agree with porsche10x that the battery is the likely culprit behind the "dual" booting error. I've done a very similar
thing, a new hard drive with a clean install, and have not had a bios/cmos problem like that. The only time I had a problem like that was with an old system (DOS/WIN3.1) whose battery had actually corroded and wouldn't remember the system setup.

On another note, reformatting might work even with a dead battery depending on your bios. Since Win XP and esp. since Vista bios' have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd boot devices. If you specify a cd/dvd drive as the 1st and have 2 drives it would check first one then the other even with only one device selected. The same is true for harddrives, it will check the ide bus first; Primary Master, Primary Slave, Secondary Master, Secondary Slave; then to SATA harddrives; SATA1, SATA2, etc., until it finds a bootable OS.

However, replacing the battery is easy enough and inexpensive to do and probably the best solution. But if your system is a newer one I have to wonder how the battery died so fast.

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