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Adding HDD to rig, want to put fresh Win 7 x64 on it

By TrunkMonkey ยท 11 replies
Jan 8, 2013
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  1. I just received two new 2 TB hdds from newegg, and would like advice on the best process to go with.

    Here's what I want to accomplish:

    • Put a fresh install of the current OS (Windows 7 Pro, OEM software) onto one of the new drives. (I've read OEM software is not fully install-able on a blank hdd in some cases, but maybe that referred to OEM win 7 Home Edition, which comes from a store, like a Dell? I bought this OEM Pro from Newegg when I built the machine.)
    • Need to eventually move a bunch of my files off the old hdd. The old hdd is a WD 1 TB, only sata 3 and 5200 rpm.
    • I also need a solid backup process put in place, so was considering RAID setup using both the new drives. Does that require any special hardware or cabling, or is it all done behind the scenes with 2 normally installed sata drives? I won't hit near 2 TB for a long time, so maybe I just go with one new drive internal for everything, and use the old drive as an external (use for back up), and save the additional new drive for who knows what. Couldn't help it, they were 89 dollars.
    • I have no enclosure at the moment, so is it possible to leave the old drive in the rig and somehow make it not bootable? Can I simply not point the BIOS to it and problem solved?

    I built this rig, so know my way around the system pretty well. However, I've never done this kind of upgrade before. Thanks for any input you folks can give!
  2. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,887   +626

    Backup: if your MOBO supports RAID, you can configure the 2TB drives in a RAID 1 array. Basically, anything written to the 2TB drive will get copied to the other too - you have a mirror image. Personally, I'd use the drives in a normal way, and just use the 2nd drive to backup essential data on a regular basis using a tool such as Windows Backup (built in to Win7).

    Installing fresh OS: Install one of your 2TB drives into PC. Use Disk Manager to rename your current HDD to X:, or something. Not C: or whatever you have it currently set to. Format the 2TB drive, set it to C:.

    Yank the original HDD cables from the PC, and install Win7 normally on the 2TB drive. I like to do this to reduce the options, sometimes install screws up.. After you are done, install the 2nd 2TB drive, and reconnect the original HDD. Before booting, check BIOS to make sure that the HDD order is set to the 2TB drive you freshly installed Windows on (having only this drive in the PC, means you can check BIOS for the identifiable tag to not mix them up).

    Moving files: The old HDD should now be accessible, as a second drive. Format the 2nd 2Tb drive at this time too. In terms of drive lettering: I have C: as my boot, E: as my data, and X: as my 'backup' drive. I shove things like my Docs, Music, Pics, Steam games, Downloads on the backup drive. I don't feel the need to have it mirrored.

    Hope this helps.
    Darth Shiv likes this.
  3. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 73

    Thank you Stickman. That puts google to shame, which often leaves me stuffed with all possible options and someone recommending each one.

    I should have mentioned MOB is ASUS| M4A87TD EVO AMD870 and does support RAID. One thing which may eventually lead me to go external for backup (old hdd 1 tb) is the house I'm in tends to be a lightning magnet. In fact the asus took a hit via onboard LAN plug, and LAN has never been heard from again. Took one for the team, no other damage to board. I have a 1 to 4 gb ram drive in the mix too. Is there still good reason given current hdd technology, to have 2 hdds? One for OS, and one for apps and data, etc? Or does a partition make sense here? I currently have approximately 300 gb of media, and growing. This rig is now adding media server HTPC to it's duties, as well as regular home PC.
    Thanks again, I want to make sure I do this right the first time.
  4. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,887   +626

    A separate drive has a separate cache, SATA connector, and hence bandwidth and latency. It also means you don't lose everything shall 1 HDD fail.

    In your case, the bandwidth factor will be important. If you are recording dual DVB (tv) streams to an HDD, along with watching a pre-recorded show, that's already a hard hit on the HDD. Add in to the mix someone streaming video and two or so streaming music, plus additional uTorrent downloads, and the HDD buckles under the pressure.

    So, if you know some things are going to be hard-hit, split them on a different drive.

    Also, it's a whole other story with SSD's as boot drives and HDDs as data drives..
  5. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 73

    That makes good sense. I considered SSD but will hold off until it's time for stage 3 tuning. At this point going from SATA 3 to 6 and 5400 to 7200 RPM will be huge. How did I ever get by?
    What to do with the ram drive? I have both Chrome and IE working folders running on it, which is great, but only 200mb used. Wondering how I can turn it into media staging for various players like wmp, vlc. Or at least something as useful and data intensive. Looked around google and found most people running speed tests and posting them. Yay!
  6. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,887   +626

    RAM drive... as in those obscure drives running flash memory than is essentially used as ultra-fast temporary storage? That cost a lot?

    I dunno what to do with that, haha.
  7. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 73

    No this is straight ddr3. Screaming speed and just velvet ropes off up to 4 gb out of 8, and serves it up to windows as a hdd, drive letter and all. It backs up to hdd at chosen interval, also can load on boot and save on shut down. Not good for non-volatile discreet data, but awesome for giving applications a place to chew on stuff and serve it up on demand. I made fun of the speed testers, but I wouldn't put it past myself given a dead constant 7 gb/sec. Max 1/2 second to drain the entire thing and fill it up with fresh 1s and 0s. AMD RAMDRIVE or something like that, with a 'Radeon' thrown in for good measure. I guess any software which allows user defined caches would be candidates. Do you use VLC? Seems like something which those guys would have built in.
  8. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,887   +626

  9. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 73

    Meant to ask, is Disk Manager on windows 7 and do I actually change the letter while it's functioning as C:?
  10. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,887   +626

    Yeah, type in 'disk management' in the start menu, and it'll be the first entry: create and format hard disk partitions.

    As for the drive letter.. change it just before you install the OS - if it lets you. I forget ,it might not. Or it might not matter, as when reinstalling, the new 2TB drive will be C: and the old one may reconfigure itself...

    Just do it. :D
  11. TrunkMonkey

    TrunkMonkey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 73

    Backing up a few things now just to make myself feel all secure. So basically I just shut down, pull the plug on old hdd, physically install new boot drive (one of the 2tb),power on and boot from win7 dvd. No need for disk Manager. I did verify on seven forums that you can't mess with boot drive while booted in win7.
  12. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,887   +626

    Yup, sounds good.

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