Hard drive 101 upgrade questions

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

I have a four-year-old Dell Dimension PC with a 20 gig hard drive.
Seemed great when we bought it, but especially with my digital photo
libraries, it just seems like I'm always archiving files to CD to free
up more and more and more space. Even with all that effort, I still
only have about 1 gig free right now. So pretty obviously, I need to
upgrade. So a bunch of questions:

First, what is a good drive to get? I'd like something that will last
me a long time and maybe even make my system seem to perform better.
For the record, that's a Windows 98 system, with 512 meg of RAM and a
550 MHz processor.

Second, I have no expansion room left in the computer. Is it possible
to put a new hard drive in the space currently occupied by my almost
never-used zip drive?

Third, is this something I should attempt myself, or should I farm it
out to a computer shop? I am clumsy, hate using tools, and hate opening
a computer. That said, I did swap out the computer's original CD drive
for a CD burner drive, and I also upgraded from the original 128 meg of
memory to 512 meg. No problems whatsoever in doing either; they worked
the first time.

Fourth, if I should do it myself, is there a useful "cookbook" on the
web that tells me step by step what to do?

Fifth (this is probably more than a mere hardware question here), is it
practical/easy/recommended to also upgrade my OS to XP at the same time?
Perhaps even buy a HD with XP installed on it?

Sixth, how easily can I port my program files - heck, probably the
entire drive - over from my old drive to my new one? Do new drives
typically include software to do this?

These are all admittedly FAQs; I've just not found a comprehensive set
of answers to them on the web, at least not answers current within the
past six months.

Thanks in advance.
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More about hard drive upgrade questions
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

    In article <earl-10ABC3.22174222072004@syrcnyrdrs-02-
    ge0.nyroc.rr.com>, earl@grey.com says...
    > I have a four-year-old Dell Dimension PC with a 20 gig hard drive.
    > Seemed great when we bought it, but especially with my digital photo
    > libraries, it just seems like I'm always archiving files to CD to free
    > up more and more and more space. Even with all that effort, I still
    > only have about 1 gig free right now. So pretty obviously, I need to
    > upgrade. So a bunch of questions:
    >
    > First, what is a good drive to get? I'd like something that will last
    > me a long time and maybe even make my system seem to perform better.
    > For the record, that's a Windows 98 system, with 512 meg of RAM and a
    > 550 MHz processor.

    You're probably going to have problems with any drive
    larger then 127GB...

    > Second, I have no expansion room left in the computer. Is it possible
    > to put a new hard drive in the space currently occupied by my almost
    > never-used zip drive?

    If the Zip drive is IDE (probably is), replace the Zip
    drive with a 3.5" hard drive. This is probably your
    best option.

    > Third, is this something I should attempt myself, or should I farm it
    > out to a computer shop? I am clumsy, hate using tools, and hate opening
    > a computer. That said, I did swap out the computer's original CD drive
    > for a CD burner drive, and I also upgraded from the original 128 meg of
    > memory to 512 meg. No problems whatsoever in doing either; they worked
    > the first time.

    Putting a drive in is easy.

    > Fourth, if I should do it myself, is there a useful "cookbook" on the
    > web that tells me step by step what to do?
    >
    > Fifth (this is probably more than a mere hardware question here), is it
    > practical/easy/recommended to also upgrade my OS to XP at the same time?
    > Perhaps even buy a HD with XP installed on it?

    Your PC has the bare minimum specs for WinXP. It'll
    run, but expect it to run slower then Win98 and you may
    run out of memory more often.

    > Sixth, how easily can I port my program files - heck, probably the
    > entire drive - over from my old drive to my new one? Do new drives
    > typically include software to do this?

    No, but you can use a Knoppix boot CD if you're looking
    for absolutely free, or get something like Ghost or
    Drive Image. Both Ghost and Drive Image would let you
    clone your existing 20GB to the newer and larger drive.
    Then you switch the drives and boot from the newer drive
    (using the old 20GB as a backup/scratch drive).

    > These are all admittedly FAQs; I've just not found a comprehensive set
    > of answers to them on the web, at least not answers current within the
    > past six months.

    Assuming that you're going to "ghost" the old drive to
    the new drive.

    0) Backup your data. Twice.

    1) Power-off, pull the plug, count to 30... Remove the
    ZIP drive, jot down whether it is set to "master",
    "slave" or "cable select".

    2) Set the jumper setting on the new drive to match
    whatever setting the old ZIP drive used. Drop it in to
    where the ZIP drive was. You may need to purchase a Y-
    cable (4-pin molex) if you don't have enough power
    connectors. In fact, I'd almost guarantee that you'll
    need a Y-cable. In a pinch, you can steal the power
    connector from the CD-ROM temporarily.

    3) Fire up ghost or drive image, select the old 20GB
    drive as the source, and the newer 120GB drive as the
    destination. Double-check your settings and clone the
    drive.

    4) Power-off, pull the plug. Jot down the settings on
    the old 20GB drive ("master", "slave", or "cable
    select"). Remove the old 20GB drive, change the jumper
    settings on the new drive to match, put the new drive
    where the old 20GB used to be. Change the jumper
    settings on the 20GB drive to match the old ZIP drive
    and put the 20GB drive in the ZIP drive's old location.
    (In other words, swap the location of the two drives and
    swap jumper settings / cables too.)

    5) Cross fingers, fire up the machine and it should boot
    from the new drive.
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