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How do you use more than one hard drive on a system?

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July 26, 2007 7:54:42 AM

Could anyone explain how you set up a system to use more than one hard drive?

More about : hard drive system

July 26, 2007 8:30:57 AM

How exactly do you mean? RAID (two or more drives working as a single disk either for redundancy or performance), or setting up a 2nd drive as backup?
July 26, 2007 9:06:48 AM

fferree said:
Could anyone explain how you set up a system to use more than one hard drive?


Your question does not make sense. Please re-phrase it, perhaps suggesting what the issue is?

But the short answer is you just enable two drives (or partitions) and then they become logical drives with their own drive letter assignments.
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July 26, 2007 9:52:18 AM

You plug in a data cable (ide or sata depending on the drive), plug in a power connector from your PSU, and plug the data cable into an open slot on your motherboard. Then turn on the computer. BIOS should auto detect the new drive.
If you are using a IDE drive you must set a jumper in the back of the drive to slave. The drive should have a diagram on it. You can also run 2 drives off of a single IDE port.
July 26, 2007 11:08:44 AM

I assume, because of the nature of this question, you do not want to RAID your hard drives (usually for this you have similar hard drives, especially for striping). Anyway, to setup a secondary drive, simply insert it into the appropriate bay within your case - whichever you think is best - and plug in the SATA (or IDE) cable along with a power cable. SATA cables plug into black or red ports on the motherboard that have an L shape in the middle. IDE plug into a long port full of prongs. The BIOS should autodetect the new drive, but before you can use it you must format it. I suggest formatting within your OS - simply go to Computer or My Computer (in Vista/XP) and right click the drive and select "Format." NTFS is the typical file system for Windows OS's. You may have to format before loading the OS, in which case you can use the disk that comes with the HDD. Also, do quick format. Regular format can take up to two hours, quick format is about 45 seconds.
July 26, 2007 10:57:23 PM

I do have two SATA drives on my system. They are both formatted. I boot from the first drive and the second drive can be accessed through My Computer. They are both in RAID 0. I was wondering if most users use the second drive strictly for storage? Does anyone have any suggestions for the setup, etc?
July 27, 2007 2:26:28 AM

If you have a RAID 0 setup then the PC treats both of them as a single drive. People usually setup RAID 0 for increased read/write performance (slight in my opinion).

The danger to a RAID 0 setup is that if one drive fails you basically loss all you data. In an ideal situation half the data is written on one drive and half on the other drive. If one drive dies, you're left with half the data without any way to recover the other half.
July 27, 2007 3:11:11 AM

fferree said:
I do have two SATA drives on my system. They are both formatted. I boot from the first drive and the second drive can be accessed through My Computer. They are both in RAID 0. I was wondering if most users use the second drive strictly for storage? Does anyone have any suggestions for the setup, etc?


:pfff:  If the 2 drives are in raid 0 they will show up as one drive. Unless you really have four drives in 2 raid 0 arrays.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 27, 2007 4:02:49 AM

I was going to try and help here, but after reading everyones post's and seeing the original poster's reply, I just really have no idea where to even start.....
July 27, 2007 4:17:03 AM

To the OP, you most likely are NOT using RAID 0, and judging from your posts, you probably shouldn't venture into that arena just yet. You should try to learn a bit more about the topic first. As for a regular two drive setup, you are already fine, so whats your question?
July 27, 2007 6:49:42 AM

fferree said:
I do have two SATA drives on my system. They are both formatted. I boot from the first drive and the second drive can be accessed through My Computer. They are both in RAID 0. I was wondering if most users use the second drive strictly for storage? Does anyone have any suggestions for the setup, etc?


OK, what MB do you have? I ask because most newer MB's have two sata controllers, one raid and one non-raid. If you have a newer MB and your intention was to have one drive for OS and the other for data / storage, then you used the wrong controller. Not that it won't work, but it will use more system resources than you need to.

Some older MB's only had one sata controller. Sometimes they could be configured as raid or not, sometimes they always required raid drivers.

So two questions really...

1. MB make and model.
2. What are you really trying to do here?
July 27, 2007 8:23:40 AM

The motherboard is ASUS A8n-SLI Premium. I was wondering about a very basic question. You can only boot from one drive. How do most of you use a second or even a third drive (already formatted)?
I don't really have a problem just a question.
July 27, 2007 8:31:53 AM

A second/third drive can be used for anything you like. Once formatted you can install programs to it, use it for storage or paging files. It can be used for anything the main 'c:' drive can be.
July 27, 2007 9:41:04 AM

It is best (performance wise) to have your faster drive running your operating system and maybe your games, while a second drivers (usually the biggest drive) for your mousic, movies etc. Keeping your main drive empty and defragged will yield better performance.
I have a raptor as a main drive with only windows and games in it, while I got 2 more drives for storage only. This way my system is really fast (20sec loading windows), plus the loading times in games like oblivion are a joke. Remember to keep your drives in good condition.
July 27, 2007 9:49:52 AM

fferree said:
The motherboard is ASUS A8n-SLI Premium. I was wondering about a very basic question. You can only boot from one drive. How do most of you use a second or even a third drive (already formatted)?
I don't really have a problem just a question.


OK, I use one drive as a primary drive, and several others as secondaries for various functions. I keep photos on one, and just utilities on the other... I also have several 'cold' drives with other OS's that I plug in from time to time to do whatever in that OS.

As I surmised previously, you are using the wrong set of sata ports for what it seems that you want to do. If you look at your MB manual, the SATA ports are closest to the edge of your MB, the raid ports are to the left of them, in groups of 4.

As to being able to boot off of more than one drive, there are multiple ways to accomplish that. Simplest way is to just change the boot order in bios... Requires a reboot, getting into your bios, but is simple. More complicated is to use a boot loader of some sort. Depending on the OS, various ones work with various degrees of success. They also require a certain level of expertise. Part. Mgr. includes one that is pretty functional, but will not work with Soalrs 10, for instance. And the Solaris bootloader will not work with Vista....

So I just power down my PC, unplug my primary power and data cables, plug in one of my cold drives, power back on, go into bios, select the new drive as primary boot and re-start.

There are also many other ways of doing this, some are MB dependant.

There. Ideas to work on.
July 27, 2007 12:06:37 PM

jitpublisher said:
I was going to try and help here, but after reading everyones post's and seeing the original poster's reply, I just really have no idea where to even start.....

Ditto.
July 28, 2007 8:29:15 AM

Thank you all for your input. You answered my question. I'll work on your answers. I'll especially look at my manual and the SATA ports.
!