N00b question: Dell Optiplex adding hard drives, power and raid

Hi there, i appreciate this is a bit of a 'basic' question, but i am inexperienced dealing with installing new hard drives.

i have a dell optiplex 740, it has two primary SATA ports and two secondary, there is a power cable that has 2 connectors that are meant to be for the up to two hard drives (i dont know the type of connector but the wires are orange black red black white), tehre is also the DVD drive which has a sata cable to the secondary SATA port and another cable orange black red black white. It looks the same as the one used for the hard drives, but is a seperate wire. Can i connect a hard drive to this instead of say the DVD drive? Dell customer services said its possible but they couldn't tell me how cause its not the recommended setup and they said something about RAID

Note: I have a new m4 SSD with windows 7 on, and a new 1TB WD Caviar Black hard drive (blank) that i want to install alongside, my old 250GB hard drive with windows XP on. How do i configure this all so i can use all three hard drives at once, or at least access the files on all three using the SSD to bot windows 7. Ideally i would like to use all 3 but if i can't, is it possible to partition the new 1TB and have a sector that i transfer everything from the 250GB drive onto so i can boot XP, but also use the rest of the drive or at least the other partitions along with windows 7.

Im not sure if this belonged in Motherboards or Hard drives

Any help would be appreciated

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More about n00b question dell optiplex adding hard drives power raid
  1. Even if you could only answer a part of the question it would be helpful, no worries if not sure about all of it. For example is it ok to put 3 hard drives on two power lines?
  2. It is a bit of a tough read, but I think I have it sorted what you are trying to do.

    If your PSU has a wire with 10 power connectors on it, you can put one hard drive on each one and that is fine.

    If the PSU sucks it might not be able to do as much total power as that would use, but there is nothing mechanically wrong with plugging things in that way.

    You can get all of the hard drives to work together, however, it may require you to reinstall some OSs.

    If you want to be able to boot both XP and Windows 7, the process goes like this:

    1) Take out all except 1 hard drive
    2) Install XP on it
    3) If it isn't big enough to also hold Windows 7, then install a second hard drive leaving the first one in.
    4) Boot with Windows 7 CD and install it on the second drive
    5) Connect however many other hard drives you want.

    That is the best practice way to go about it. If your Crucial M4 is 128 GBs or more, it would probably be a good idea to install both OSs on it and leave the 250 for program overflow and swap files and the 1 TB for data.

    However, if you don't want to do all that, you might be able to shortcut the process a tad.

    If you already have XP on the 250 GB drive, you can just leave that as it is, add the SSD and install Windows 7 on it, and then add the 1 TB drive.

    However, the Windows 7 install must be done while the XP hard drive is in the computer or it will mess up the boot loader. Then your two hard drives may fight over which can or can't boot and one may just not be recognized. If you don't do it that way there is some chance the computer will still work, but I can guarantee you nothing.

    If it was me, barring any good reason not to, I would just reinstall everything to be on the safe side, changing it to the setup that I originally suggested.

    Also, the cables are made to be able to plug into different devices. Any cable that will plug into a port will work in it. If the same cable from a CD drive will physically fit into a hard drive then it will work in the hard drive too.
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