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New build, Installing 2 SATA drives

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September 18, 2009 3:36:19 AM

Hi all,

Am building a new i7 system, I want to put 2 SATA drives one is 250 gb and one 320gb. the 250 is used as an extra drive from another PC and is only one partition, the 320 is new.

what I want to do is make the 250 gb the main hard drive with windows, and make 2 partitions (i.e: C and D), but not sure how to do that when its currently 1 partition called G on the old PC (Do I just use the XP CD?) and add the 320 gb as the extra drive with 1 partition (hopefully E)

btw the 250 gb drive has some data that I need, is there any way to do this without reformatting all of the hard drive?

What would be the simplest way to do this? this is first time building my own PC, and I have no experience RAID or all these things...

appreciate the help.
September 18, 2009 4:28:23 AM

You will not be using raid for what you want and need, so dont worry about it.

1. Backup your data from the 250gb, using an external drive or connect your new hard drive, 300gb, and backup to this instead. If you want to install on this drive and make two drive's/partitions first, then you will loose all data on it, so backup first.
2. Connect the 250gb drive and during windows xp boot from cd, just before it will ask you to choose where to install, you will need to delete your current partition (full 250gb), create 2 new partitions (splitting the 250gb how you want, ie c:100gb and d:150gb). Now format the partition you want c to be and install on there. You can either format the second partition, d, or format it once you have windows installed.
- Note: Prior to choosing where to install windows, it will not display which partition is c or d, you choose which you want as c, by selecting it as your installation drive (where you will have windows).
3. Now that you have windows installed, format the second partition if didnt during windows boot, turn the comp off and connect the new drive, 300gb. The new drive will automatically get a drive letter, e, f or g etc. You can either copy all backed up files back on to the 250gb drive or leave them on the new, 300gb, drive.

Hope this helps, and have fun, its easy and simple, so dont be scared, but do ask if you have any questions!
a c 342 G Storage
September 18, 2009 6:22:12 PM

Boxa786's plan is a good one, but it does require two things to start. First, you will need a current functioning computer that you can hook up both drives to, so that you can do the initial backup copying to the blank 320 GB unit. Second, BEFORE you do that, you will need to prepare the 320 GB unit for use by Windows. This means doing the two-step Partition and Format operations on it. You can do these in Windows Disk Manager, or you can use free software utilities downloaded form the website of the manufacturer of your 320 GB new drive. Some of those utilities make this task very easy. In fact, some of them offer you the option not merely of preparing the new disk as blank and ready for data, but also of completely cloning the old (250 GB) unit to the new one so you have ALL your old data on it. If you do that, once you have the OS installed on the 250 GB, you can take your time copying everything you need back from the clone on the 320. When you're done recovering all your old stuff is when you re-Partition and re-Format the new 320 for data storage only.
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September 19, 2009 3:37:16 AM

Thanks Boxa and Paperdoc

I bought a 500 gb after I posted this instead of a 320, it was cheaper than I thought :) 

Any way I used Disk managment to format it, was simple enough. I realize I will need a working PC to move data from main drive to the extra drive, there is one but has some start up issues

I have some questions tho:

-the disk was formatted as dynamic, I dont have the option to turn it back to basic, whats the difference and is there any way to get it back to basic? (if I need to?)

- the 250 gb drive had the habit of changing letters when ever I reinstall windows, so I had to change it every time I installed windows, I dont want it to do this in the new PC, is setting partitions during XP boot from PC enough?
September 20, 2009 1:52:13 AM

hmm, can any one help me out?
a c 415 G Storage
September 20, 2009 5:06:44 AM

the disk was formatted as dynamic, I dont have the option to turn it back to basic, whats the difference and is there any way to get it back to basic? (if I need to?)

The essential difference is that dynamic disks allow you to set up software RAID between different volumes. There's no easy way to downgrade back to a basic disk. See this Wikipedia article.


the 250 gb drive had the habit of changing letters when ever I reinstall windows, so I had to change it every time I installed windows, I dont want it to do this in the new PC, is setting partitions during XP boot from PC enough?

I'm not quite sure what the issue is here - surely you don't reinstall Windows often enough that setting the drive letter in the Disk Manager is a huge problem? If you're saying that it's the OS drive itself that changes letters, then just make sure it's the only disk in the system when you run the install and that will force it to be the "C:" drive.
a b G Storage
September 20, 2009 3:51:03 PM

sminlal said:
If you're saying that it's the OS drive itself that changes letters, then just make sure it's the only disk in the system when you run the install and that will force it to be the "C:" drive.

If you do not plug the boot drive into the first SATA port and you do not designate that drive to be the boot device in the BIOS, Windows will not find it.

If the motherboard has 6 SATA ports, labeled SATA0 through SATA5, plug it into the SATA 0 port. It will automatically be designated Drive C: and you will not need to go into the BIOS to set the boot order.
!