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Two hard disks in a laptop

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April 7, 2009 5:35:05 AM

In a desktop PC we can have two hard disks. Is it possible to have two hard disks in a laptop?

Very often if a fault arises and there is a hard disk failure it results in loss of everything. If important data or backup clones are stored in the second hard drive we can use that. An additional partition in the hard disk drive does not help in the case of hard disk failure. USB drives (pen drives or external hard disk drives) are awfully slow.

I hane an old Dell laptop Latitude D810 with a 100 GB hard disk and a brother of mine has an old Dell Latitude C640 with a 40 GB hard disk. Both of us are interested in adding an additional hard disk drive if possible. Even if we go in for new laptops (any brand) we should like to ensure the availabllity of two hard drives.

Is that possible? GUIDANCE PLEASE

More about : hard disks laptop

April 7, 2009 6:25:34 AM

Um, to answer your question quite literally... you can have more than one hard drive in a laptop if there is an available slot, which means your laptop would already have more than one hard drive if the capability existed.

Now on to redundancy and RAID... You ought to probably do some research, you don't just get to keep your data if a drive fails, you have to make sure your hardware supports RAID, you have to know how to set it up, and maintain it, or recreate it if you will, if you do have a drive failure.

In short... if your laptop doesn't already have two hard drives, then don't even bother.
Related resources
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
April 7, 2009 7:38:57 AM

Your best bet is to add an external HD. You can get much faster (10K rpm) drives with external drives.
April 7, 2009 12:54:48 PM

Thanks KBits, boonality and aford10. There is of course no question of not having an optical drive.

I have a Western Digital Pocketbook Hard Drive and my brother has a Lacie External Hard Drive, both NTFS, but they are awfully slow, taking about 2 hours to copy a folder of about 5 GB. Our laptops have only USB 2 ports, no firewire. Even with large size flashdrives (16 GB, 32 GB) transfer speed is no better.

How do I find out what the speed of our external Hard Drives are,

Are there other brands of laptop that offer two hard disk drives? Can any of you suggest any?
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
April 7, 2009 3:31:43 PM

I've never seen a laptop with 2 HD's. They are compact and don't usually allow room for extras like that.

An external enclosure with this HD, or the 150G version of it, should give plenty of speed. You should be able to get about 480Mbps.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a b G Storage
April 7, 2009 6:18:23 PM

aford10 said:
Your best bet is to add an external HD. You can get much faster (10K rpm) drives with external drives.


There's absolutely no point to a 10krpm external. They are limited by the USB port speeds anyways, so why would you spend the extra money for a high speed drive?



Now, 5GB should not take 2 hrs to transfer with almost any hard drive - that sounds like a port problem. Are your laptops USB 1.1 only? I can transfer 12 gigs onto my (16GB) flash drive in about 20 mins, and that speed is limited by the relatively slow flash drive, not the USB port (I can transfer the same 12 gigs onto my external hard drive in 5 or 6 minutes).
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
April 7, 2009 6:36:12 PM

cjl said:
There's absolutely no point to a 10krpm external. They are limited by the USB port speeds anyways, so why would you spend the extra money for a high speed drive?



Now, 5GB should not take 2 hrs to transfer with almost any hard drive - that sounds like a port problem. Are your laptops USB 1.1 only? I can transfer 12 gigs onto my (16GB) flash drive in about 20 mins, and that speed is limited by the relatively slow flash drive, not the USB port (I can transfer the same 12 gigs onto my external hard drive in 5 or 6 minutes).


An external drive provides more disc space and faster top speeds. It will be limited by the USB port, but so will anything else. The external drive should be around for a while and can be used in future upgrades (laptop or desktop).

a b G Storage
April 7, 2009 11:16:33 PM

aford10 said:
An external drive provides more disc space and faster top speeds. It will be limited by the USB port, but so will anything else. The external drive should be around for a while and can be used in future upgrades (laptop or desktop).


Internal notebook drives are faster than the USB port is, so an internal drive will be faster than any external that connects with USB. As for the space, I can't argue with that - the external definitely will offer more space if that is the key concern. There's no reason to get a 10krpm though - a 7200rpm external can easily saturate the interface, making any more speed somewhat pointless.
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
April 8, 2009 5:17:07 AM

I'm thinking of current and future uses. The HD will probably outlast the laptop, as it sounds like an older one. A future upgrade that has esata or firewire will be able to handle the speeds better.

You have a good point though with the 7200rpm drives. I may have been a little aggressive with the velociraptor suggestion. The cavair black line has some very good HD's that would suffice.
April 9, 2009 5:31:28 AM

Newegg was selling a case that would hold 2 SSD's in a RAID1 configuration that fit into a SATA drive bay. perhaps speed and redundancy, of course for a price.
April 13, 2009 12:56:17 PM

I'm afraid I made a big mistake, my only excuse being I'm getting to be 72 and tend to lose track of things. The transfer of a 5 GB folder from main drive to Western Digital Passport HDD takes only about 6 minutes. It takes 20 minutes to move the same file to a flash drive which is connecte4d to a hub of 4 ports.-, not the main USB 2.0 port.

My mind suddenly veered to the transfer time for a similar sized file from a USB 1.1 flash drive to his Lacie 360 GB External HDD. This was over 2 hours and I got mixed up.

I'm sorry, folks; but what a lot of informative interaction as a result of my confusion.

Thank you, all.
May 10, 2009 7:45:54 PM

I have an HP 9330us that has two HDD bays. I put a 320gb drive in each one and they both work great.
May 10, 2009 11:36:22 PM

Thanks for the info, GoatJacko. When I next upgrade, I shall go in for this machine.

Thank you all.
May 13, 2009 6:54:46 AM

GoatJacko,
I find on the HP website a dv9330us but it does not mention two HDD bays. Can uou kindly post the link for this model?
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
May 13, 2009 2:15:10 PM

I believe GoatJacko is mistaken on either having a 2nd HD or on the model of laptop. The specs don't list a second HD or a secondary controller that could utilize a second HD. It doesn't even mention an expansion bay.
http://www.ciao.com/HP_Pavilion_dv9330us_Entertainment_...
July 29, 2009 12:50:20 AM

I have a HP Pavilion DV9620us laptop with two 120GB hard drives, one in bay 1 and one in bay 2. My daughter has the same laptop with a 250gb in bay 1 and nothing in bay 2.
July 29, 2009 6:42:36 AM

lacroos said:
I have a HP Pavilion DV9620us laptop with two 120GB hard drives, one in bay 1 and one in bay 2. My daughter has the same laptop with a 250gb in bay 1 and nothing in bay 2.


Yes, the specs say 120+120 Hard Disk. However the dv9 model does not seem to have reached the Indian market. Shall wait for it.

Thank you, lacroos.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
August 14, 2009 4:39:04 PM

I too had an HP laptop with 2 drives. The greatest advantage of this is that the main operating system drive gets the wear and you keep your data safe on the 2nd seldom used drive. Before I sold this laptop I was considering installing a 32gb solid state drive as the main operating system drive and a large 7200RPM drive to store my data.
a b D Laptop
a c 353 G Storage
August 14, 2009 4:54:11 PM

If buying a new laptop - Look for esata port on laptop - Much faster than USB for an external Hard drive.

esata enclosure is only $15 -> $25 and with a 2.5" drive almost fits in your shirt pocket - and is almost as fast as internal HDD

I have a "Cheap" toshobia (Md 305 - $550) that has 1 combo USB/esata port. It also has a 2nd drive bay, But toshiba was too cheap to add the connector ($2 part) so that a 2nd HDD could be added as the pin out is there(may have also crippled the bios to that even if you modified the MB. There more expensive models (Same model really, just more expensive. enable the 2nd HDD.

Added - Reference to Thumb drives - There are big differences in read/write performance between the various models (this is even with USB 2.0). The "Fast" ones above 16 Gigs are a lot more expensive then the "Slow" ones you catch on sale.
August 14, 2009 11:49:22 PM

1. Can an esata port be connected to my Western Digital Passport HDD (160GB) and my brother's Lacie 360 GB External HDD ? If so what kind of connector would it need?

2. Would esata be faster than the forthcoming USB-3?

a b D Laptop
a c 353 G Storage
August 15, 2009 12:28:47 AM

Ref below
http://compreviews.about.com/od/storage/a/eSATA.htm
Extract
So, here are the speeds for the various interfaces:

•USB 1.1 – 15 Mbps
•FireWire (1394a) – 400 Mbps
•USB 2.0 – 480 Mbps
•FireWire 800 (1394b) – 800 Mpbs
•SATA 1.5 – 1.5 Gbps
•SATA 3.0 – 3.0 Gbps
Based on these theoretical numbers, SATA is over twice the speed of the fastest provided by Firewire and four times faster than the best USB can provide. If the eSATA devices is using the faster 3Gbps interface, there is even greater speed potential. END QUOTE

USB 3.0 approx 10 x Usb 2, That should be approx 4.8 Gbps so Yes USB 3.0 should be faster. BUT bear in mind HDD are NOT fast enough to fully use SATA 3.0 let alone USB 3.0 (SSDs are getting there).

2nd Passport and Lacie would have to have a esata connector on it, if not answer = No.
I never buy preassembled external drives. I always buy an enclosure (look for Usb / estata so that it can be used on ether/or) and then I can swap out, or use multiple drives with that enclosure.

Eddited - Had to revise my statement on USB 3.0
August 15, 2009 7:17:13 PM

I asked HP about the DV7 series and they said yes.

I also looked inside an Acer 7735z. There was a space but no connector on the motherboard.

These are 17 inch laptops, which gives more space for the second drive.

This is the reply from HP:



The HP Pavilion dv7 notebook PC series does have (2) hard drive slots with all applicable connectivity needed to install another hard drive.



You may need to purchase the "SPS-HDD, HARDWARE KIT" part#480457-001 from 3rd party vendors or online resellers to facilitate this procedure.



I apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced with this issue.



The HP Pavilion dv7-1428ca Entertainment Notebook PC (NV207UA#ABC) features:



-Operating System: Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit with Service Pack 1
-Microprocessor / 2.20 GHz AMD Turion X2 RM-74 Dual-Core Mobile Processor
-Microprocessor Cache / 1MB L2 Cache
-Memory / 4096MB
-Memory Max / 8192MB
-Video Graphics / ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics RS780M
-Video Memory / Up to 1918MB
-Hard Drive / 320GB (5400RPM)
-Multimedia Drive / LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD±R/RW with Double Layer Support
-Display / 17.0” Diagonal WXGA+ High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1440 x 900)
-Fax/Modem / High speed 56k modem
-Network Card / Integrated 10/100 Ethernet LAN
-Wireless Connectivity / 802.11b/g WLAN
-Sound / Altec Lansing with SRS Premium Sound
-ExpressCard/54 Slot (also supports ExpressCard/34)
-5-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader
-HP Webcam with integrated digital microphone



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http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/ca/en/ho/WF06b/321957-32...



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The online user manual for the DV7-1428ca seem to show a hard drive carrier that will hold 2, butare the connections for the second hard drive there?
October 4, 2009 6:32:25 PM

GoatJacko said:
I have an HP 9330us that has two HDD bays. I put a 320gb drive in each one and they both work great.

When I bought my HP HDX18t there were choices in the hard-drive configuration: - one 500GB or two 250GB drives. same price. I chose the one drive, thinking I would add a second drive into the other bay.

Has anyone done this? I'm just not sure how to configure the laptop for two drives instead of one.

I've already ordered the 2nd HDD and an HP bracket that's needed.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Rick
November 30, 2009 11:24:10 AM

I've used dual internal drive laptops for several years. I'm a college teacher and use a good deal of media in teaching - so the space is needed. Most major manufacturers offer dual drive units in 15" or larger configurations - although you may have to do some digging to find the models.

Check with HP Support for insallation (location of 2nd drive bay and steps for accessing it). The additional drive slot should be available without having to take the entire laptop apart (on my Toshiba removing two screws allows me to pop open to second drive area). Be sure (you probably know this) to use a SATA or IDE (older) drive, depending on HP interface. Size-wise, "notebook" drives are all the same size, except for the newest very large capacity drives: these are standard width (2.5") but are thicker than standard drives (I think WD's new 1 TB 2.5" is only one in that category as of this post -

If your laptop is designed for two drives, both cooling and additional power usage will not be an issue (hard drives are not a major source of power usage in laptops, particularly if set to go to idle after a few minutes of non-access).

Basically, turn the computer off, remove battery and power supply (SOP). Put the new drive in. Be sure it is seated firmly (it should fit snugly without any movement). Re-attach mounting screws. Put the door/cover back in place (& battery etc.). Restart the computer.

If you access your CMOS setup screen (F5 on an HP?) it should show a second physical drive present. Going back to early PC standards, these will generally be drive 0 (typically your C: drive) and drive 1 your new drive). HP will probably have a proprietary partition on your existing drive that contains diagnostc and recovery software - but it will not show up as a logical (with a letter) drive. FYI, if you ever upgrade your main drive, mirror this special partition on your new drive.

Let Windows start normally.

Everything should be automatic. Your system bootup will remain on the existing drive. The new drive will show up as the next available letter (you can change this in Windows if you want - but most just use the default).

If the drive needs to be partitioned and formatted ("initialized") , Windows will tell you. If it is already formatted, you can use it immediately or choose to reformat it in a different scheme. Options are usually: FAT32, NTFS, or the GUID (in order from oldest to newest and, no surprise, from most compatible across OS to least compatible other than newer versions of Windows). If you are going to do this, it is best to do it first on a still empty drive. If you intend to only use it in a Windows environment, NTFS and GUID both have performance and recovery advantages over FAT32.

On my laptops I always move "My Documents" from its default location to D:\My Documents. Use Windows own steps to do this, to insure all your data is moved to the nw location and Windows "points" to it for future use. You may do this for documents, music, pictures, videos or whatever. It is generally best to leave the program installs in their default locations on the primary bootup drive - makes it easier if your uninstall information becomes corrupted later.

Setting up a second drive as a RAID drive requires specific design considerations that are not normally available for a second internal laptop drive.

External drives add storage but usually at a lower data transfer rate than internal. As an alternative, if you have a newer laptop that includes a fast bus access slot (such as ExpressCard), an eSata adapter can be purchased for $25 to $50. [Sadly, only a few laptopcs include an eSata connector built in] An eSata (external SATA) drive will come very close to the performance of an internal drive (much faster than USB 2 or even Firewire 800). There are other issues with external drives (size, external power source for most, etc.).

My trusty Toshiba A205 (now with two 320GB-7200 drives) has served me for three years (the longest I've used any one laptop). With Windows 7 the overall performance is still quite acceptable. When I upgrade (summer 2010) I will only look for dual drive options.

DrTom
Webb City, Missouri
November 30, 2009 2:11:19 PM

drtlawson said:

On my laptops I always move "My Documents" from its default location to D:\My Documents. Use Windows own steps to do this, to insure all your data is moved to the nw location and Windows "points" to it for future use. You may do this for documents, music, pictures, videos or whatever. It is generally best to leave the program installs in their default locations on the primary bootup drive - makes it easier if your uninstall information becomes corrupted later.
DrTom
Webb City, Missouri


Thanks, I'll do it !!!!

My only question is with how you accomplish the above steps regarding moving My Documents: is it possible you list the complete steps to do this? I'm not confident enough without a complete roadmap.

Thanks so much for your earlier comprehensive reply.

Rick
November 30, 2009 2:50:22 PM

Use the "Start" button.
Can you see "My Documents" or "Documents" as one of the choices? If not, right click on properties, go to "Start Menu." Click on "customize" - and scroll down until you see the "My Documents" option. Click to check it. Then close and redo the Start Menu.

In XP and Vista: Right click on "Documents" on the start menu. The window should include "Location" and show it (probably under your username on the C drive). Click the location. Browse to the new (D?) drive. If you have not done it, make a new directory on D called whatever ("My Documents" simplifies it by giving it the same name Windows will use for it.) Click on it.

Windows will now ask you if you want to move all your files to the new location. Say yes. This moves both files and other pointers (some may be related to your music or picture files).

In Windows 7 there's one extra step:
In place of right clicking on Documents from the Start Menu, left (regular) click on your name (should be at the top on the right side of the start menu). This will open up your username file area.

Now, find "My Documents" folder and right click on it.

As in Vista, there should be a tab that says "Location" (if you use a replacement from Windows Explorer file manager, you may need to turn that off - Directory Opus will not show the "Location" tab, but Windows own file manager does).

Again, browse to the new location, click and set it. As before, it should move all your files.

NOTE: In Windows 7 you can actually have several "Documents" locations at once. This is the new feature called "Libraries." You can read up on it, but it lets you have more one than major location for your documents, pictures, music, or whatever. It does not replace sub-folders, but gives you some additional flexibility.

DrTom
November 30, 2009 4:24:15 PM

you are great, Dr. T !!
so comprehensive & detailed; the things about Win 7 were new to me, but that's the OS I am using. so double-thanks.

Rick
December 7, 2009 7:25:28 PM

I recently added a second 320gb HD to my HP Pavilion dv7. I was running vista, and wanted to upgrade to win 7. I got the second drive working, and put win 7 on it. Everything has worked great, and I was able to transfer all of my data to the new HD.

Now, everything seems great with win 7, so I am ready to reformat the original drive to use for storage, but disk management won't let me format an "active system partition" and I don't see any options to take it offline, or make inactive, or anything of the sort. When I boot, I get a boot menu that offers either vista or 7, both of which are working fine. Might I have to change the physical position of the drives, to make my win 7 drive be drive 0, before I try to erase the vista drive?

Any help would be appreciated.
December 21, 2009 1:58:19 AM

I assume you have Vista on drive 0 and Win7 on drive 1 right? if so the reason you cannot format drive 0 i believe is that when the PC boots the BIOS/bootloader looks in the first drive for the MBR and boot.ini file so therefore it doesn't want the first drive reformated. If you do change physical position of drives, as a possible fix make sure you copy and modify the boot.ini file
December 21, 2009 2:04:54 AM

I have a HP Pavillion DV7 i will have 2X500GB drives should i run RAID0 or have one drive OS and Installs and other drive files? The advantage of going with the later is i do not need to reformat, but i do have an external drive to transfer files to.

Also i have a eSATA/USB port on the DV7 but my external hard drive is USB would i gain any speed by plugging the drive into the eSATA vs another USB2 port? and the connector on my hard drive is mini usb can i get a mini usb to eSATA connector?
December 21, 2009 2:47:48 AM

just figured out another option which would be better:
32GB SSD as Drive 0 with Win7 installed
500GB HDD for everything else
or
2X500GB HDD RAID 0
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
January 1, 2010 5:42:57 PM

Most upscale Sony models have a slot for a second drive
March 9, 2010 1:51:29 AM

I came across this thread while searching for laptops with multiple hard drives. I learned yesterday that Sager makes a series of 'desktop replacement' (first time I've heard that term) laptops geared to gamers that can have up to 3 hard drives and still have an optical drive. The hard drives can be configured in several ways. I just saw one yesterday and it looked very impressive. Otherwise I never knew that the Sager brand existed until yesterday.
April 22, 2010 9:27:43 PM

My old IBM Thinkpad T42 2378 allows 2 HDDs. The second drive is installed in the Ultrabay which can also be swapped out for a DVD drive. I don't think any of the current Lenovo models have the same capability.
April 22, 2010 9:41:47 PM

Here are the biggest, fastest gaming laptops that can hold up to 3 HDD internally and in raid (PS, use actual CPU's, no mobile CPu's and full video in SLI)

http://www.sagernotebook.com/
July 1, 2010 10:14:07 PM

Dell Studio 17 can also take 2 hdd's internally ( not using a bay ) but require a fitting kit .
August 23, 2010 1:20:45 AM

I own a Toshiba A135 S4477 that had to hard drives built in, one on the left side one on the right.
I currently am running Windows 7 pre with 2 gigs of ram, it can take 4gigs
and a 500GB in one bay and a 100GB in the other both SATA.
this machine still runs great for 3 or 4 years old and still have room to add more ram if i need it.
I was looking today at getting 2 1TB drives since I've been archiving home movies.
I never want to go back to a single drive again.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
September 11, 2010 9:37:45 PM

This is a very late response but yes you can have 2, even 3 HDs in a laptop. I've used Sager notebook computers for years and right now have a NP9261 model with three hard drives. I suggest you look at Xotic notebooks at http://www.xoticpc.com/ then select Manufacturer, then Sager/Cleve. Scroll down for the models that have multi-HDs, usually these are the 17 & 18 inch screen models. be sure to select a model that specifically is built on a Clevo chassis.
November 9, 2010 6:21:17 AM

aford10 said:
I've never seen a laptop with 2 HD's. They are compact and don't usually allow room for extras like that.

An external enclosure with this HD, or the 150G version of it, should give plenty of speed. You should be able to get about 480Mbps.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



My HP Pavillion laptop has a blank bay (up until now) and I added a 32o HHD to the 160 HHD very easily. You never saw one?? How long have you had a laptop?
February 4, 2011 4:16:49 PM

The HP DV7-1232NR can handle two internal hard drives without sacrificing the DVD drive. It only comes with 1 drive caddy though. You can easily pick up a 2nd drive caddy on eBay relatively cheaply. I have one of these computers and have tried my hard drive in either of the SATA slots. I also upgraded the notebook to 8 GB RAM and a 500 GB hard drive and put Windows 7 Professional on it. Unfortunately, after all the upgrades, I have way too much money tied up in it to be able to sell it affordably. I have it available for $1250. But to answer the initial question, it is possible to have 2 internal hard drives in a notebook. You just have to know which ones are able to handle it. Incidentally, I bought a 1 TB hard drive to put in it and discovered it was to high (12.5 mm high) as opposed to the conventional 9.5 mm high. I then settled for the 500 GB though I understand you can get 750 GB Hitachi hard drives that would fit.

pesuki said:
In a desktop PC we can have two hard disks. Is it possible to have two hard disks in a laptop?

Very often if a fault arises and there is a hard disk failure it results in loss of everything. If important data or backup clones are stored in the second hard drive we can use that. An additional partition in the hard disk drive does not help in the case of hard disk failure. USB drives (pen drives or external hard disk drives) are awfully slow.

I hane an old Dell laptop Latitude D810 with a 100 GB hard disk and a brother of mine has an old Dell Latitude C640 with a 40 GB hard disk. Both of us are interested in adding an additional hard disk drive if possible. Even if we go in for new laptops (any brand) we should like to ensure the availabllity of two hard drives.

Is that possible? GUIDANCE PLEASE
January 27, 2012 10:40:20 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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