Hard Drives

I currently have a sony vaio desktop that has a 200 gb drive in with sata150 running windows xp. I am looking at putting a 1tb sata300 hard drive in as well and wanting to make that my master drive. Can I put xp pro on the 1tb and everything will run properly?
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  1. Yes.

    The new one won't be the "Master". It most certainly can become your boot drive called C:. ("Master" and "Slave" are terms used ONLY to identify the two drives that share one IDE port and cable.)

    Watch for this detail: your machine has a SATA 1.5 Gb/s (150 MB/s) drive in it now, so MAYBE the machine's SATA controllers cannot handle a newer SATA II (300 MB/s) drive at full communication speed. SATA II drives are SUPPOSED to figure this all out and adapt to the older controller, but sometimes they don't. For those situations the HDD makers have a way to force the new SATA II drive to slow down its communication to the 150 MB/s standard. On Seagate and WD, and probably several others, this is done with a jumper on pins on the drive's back edge. This is NOT setting the "Master" even though it uses jumpers on pins. Whatever drive you buy, check the maker's website for details how to do this in case you need it.

    The easiest way to do what you want - that is, upgrade your system by replacing a smaller older HDD with a much larger new one that takes over as your C: drive with all of your applications and data preserved - is to use cloning software. Often this is available free as a download from the manufacturer of your NEW hard drive. They are happy to help you switch to a larger HDD that THEY sell you. For example, if you buy a Seagate unit, get Disk Wizard from their website. If it's a WD HDD, get their utility package called Acronis True Image WD Edition. Others may have similar tools. A cloning tool allows you to copy absolutely EVERYTHING from your old drive to your new one, putting it all in the right places, so you can simply replace the old HDD unit with the new one containing the clone.

    There's one thing to watch for in using cloning software. The ones I have seen, by default, will make the clone copy on the new drive the same size as the old drive, leaving a whole bunch of Unallocated Space on the new unit in which you can make additional Partitions to be used as completely separate drives. But most people don't want that - they want the new C: drive to be ALL of the large new HDD unit. You can do this, but it requires that, when you run the cloning software, you manually intervene and use the menus to customize the operation so that you can set the Destination Unit Partition size to what you want, rather than let it use its default settings.

    After you make the clone you should shut down the machine, disconnect the old drive completely, adjust new drive (I like to connect it to the same SATA port that the old one had), boot up into BIOS Setup and make sure the Boot Priority Sequence is going to use that new unit, Save and Exit to finish the boot. Some time later, when you're happy the clone works perfectly, you can reconnect the old drive, Delete alll its Partitions, Create one or more new Partitions on it and start using it as a data storage unit. Or, you could re-mount it in an external case and create an external portable drive that could be your backup device.

    Now, IF you actually do NOT want to simply clone your old drive to the new one, the process will be a little different. Suppose, for example, you want to upgrade from XP Home to XP Pro as you post hints, and you have a Win XP Pro Install CD to do this. In that case I would suggest you disconnect your old HDD completely (maybe take it out of the case, maybe not) and connect only the new 1TB HDD. Run the XP Pro Install on that, and update it fully with all the latest updates. When you're done, THEN shut down and connect the old drive, only this time it probably won't be on the same SATA port. When you boot up, go immediately into BIOS Setup and make sure in Boot Priority Sequence that you boot from the new HDD and do NOT try to boot from the old one. Save and Exit and finish the boot. You will find your old drive in My Computer with a new letter name, and you can copy anything and everything from it to the new drive. However, you will have a problem. The new installation of XP Pro will NOT have all the applications "installed" in its Registry, so you may have to do some work to resolve that.
  2. Thanks for the reply. I am thinking that maybe just cloning the hard drive might be a better option. I have another question that maybe you might be able to help me with. The current hard drive is running at 7200rpm and the 1tb drive is at 7200rpm, but if I went up to a 1.5tb drive the rpm drops to 5900rpm. Am I going to see a difference in speed if I go with the bigger drive with the lower rpm?
  3. A 5900 rpm drive will be a little slower than a 7200 rpm drive, but both probably are faster than your older drive. The 1.5 TB unit at 5900 rpm may be a "Green" line drive from WD. They are very good but designed to minimize electrical power consumption - that's why they went with a slower rotational speed. However, some of those units try to offset that effect by using a larger on-disk cache of 64 MB which does speed up certain types of file access. If you really want the faster 7200 rpm speeds, that IS available from some makers (I think WD has that size in their "Black" line), probably a little more expensive.
  4. You can also do drive cloning with free software like Partition Manager that you can download from Cnet. I have used it to swap boot drives around like that. Your Vaio may have something proprietary which could cause a problem so make sure you keep the old drive safe until the new drive is working properly. I had that problem with an Acer once.
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