Uses for second hard drive

By richland · 9 replies
Jan 2, 2005
  1. Hi, I'm new to this upgrading game and was wondering if I install a second hard drive, will I be able to use it to install programmes and games etc or is it only useful for storing files and backups. I feel that I can probably do the installation part, but I am not sure if I need to install XP on the new drive. I will have it as the slave. I am just not sure how it all works with two drives. Hope this makes sense.
  2. MrDJ009

    MrDJ009 TS Rookie

    OS not required

    Since your objective is to simply add a drive you won’t need to install an OS onto it. You will only need to partition and format the drive.

    Does your current system have more than one drive letter (i.e. C: and D: or more)? If so when add a primary partition to the new drive it will automatically become drive D and, if you already have other drive letters they will be pushed down to E, F, etc. This could cause a problem with shortcuts or other references. One way around this would be to partition the entire new drive with only one extended partition (don’t add a primary partition). You can then create as many logical drives within the extended partition as you want. This would cause all new drives in you extended partition to piggy back onto what you already have.

    You can store anything you choose onto the new drive (programs, data or whatever), however, be aware that most software “wants” to drop into the C:\Program Files folder and you will have to override this. Future problems could also arise if your drive letters were to change for any number of reasons.
  3. richland

    richland TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Partition the entire new drive

    Hi, Not sure what you mean by 'partition the entire new drive with only one extended partition' are you talking about the two hard drives or just the new one and how do I go about doing this? Sorry to be so thick but its quite a steep learning curve. I don't have a problem with just formatting the new drive but after that I may get a bit stuck.
  4. MrDJ009

    MrDJ009 TS Rookie

    An extended partition is...

    The short answer is that when selecting the type of partition choose extended (not primary) and allocate the entire physical hard drive to the extended partition. In general, for each physical hard disk you must first partition the disk, and then format each partition into usable drive letters. By physical I mean that hunk of metal that you buy in the store and can hold in your hand. Since there has been so much written on the internet about partitioning, try reading a couple of write-ups that I think give pretty good explanations. I did a Google on "partition hard drive" and got back 1,830,000 hits. Here are a couple of good ones:

    PC World Magazine:,aid,73826,00.asp

    An excellent 1,2,3… for WinXP from Seagate:

    An a..z primer:

    WebTechGeek says:

    A couple of my suggestions for the beginner are as follows:

    1. Don't for any reason touch your C: drive or any other partition you already have on drive#1. Doing so would trash all or part of you current programs or data.
    2. Most basic Windows partitioning primers suggest using the venerable program FDISK. As amazing as this may sound the partitioning process hasn’t changed much since 1981 when the first IBM PC's shipped with Microsoft’s DOS 1.1 operating system--and Bill Gates was not a household name. However, avoid this program and try the Seagate procedure above which takes full advantage of XP and you can get everything done from within the WindowsXP GUI environment.
    3. If you presently have more that just a C: drive, and you will only use the new drive as an add on, you may want to ONLY create one extended partition for the whole drive (as opposed to a primary partition). This will result in a minimal impact on your current drive letters. Within the extended partition you can break your new drive up into multiple logical drives (D, E, F, etc.). Having several smaller logical drives is more efficient but can also be a headache when trying to find things. Did I put that file on D, or E, or where?

    And this was the short answer.
  5. MrDJ009

    MrDJ009 TS Rookie

    Please disregard. This message was deleted.
  6. leem

    leem TS Rookie Posts: 73

    I did the exact same thing as you. I also had to go through the steep learning curve. I used the "radified" instructions that the previous poster also reccomends. I am happy.

    My 2cents. I LOVE using fdisk. It made me feel cool to use it, plus teh radified site goes through really good instructions on how to use fdisk to make an extended drive with multiple logical drives.

    If you make an fdisk, be sure to use the first Windows ME boot disk on this site .

    The ME boot disc does a good job of partitioning larger drives.
    When you format it, choose "extended drive." If you want to further partition that, you can add logical drives.

    My computer at home has the primary hardrive partitioned into 2 drives. 15g for programs, and 65g for backup. I keep work assignments, a book I am writing, pictures, drives, old school work, and a ghost image on that drive.

    My second hard drive is 200g. I have that partitioned into 2 logical drives. 20g for games and 180 for media storage.

    I did it this way so I could reformat my OS without loosing data if it gets corrupted--I did get a nasty virus once and am glad my OS had it's own partition.

    When my back-up got too big for my music and video editing, I got the 200g hard drive. I decided to have a seperate partition for games since I game a lot and tend to install and unistall games quite frequently--I get bored of games and get new ones frequently. (Civ3 is the only game that has lasted more then 3 months--I will never get rid of it! All that installing and uninstalling will not defreg my entire hard drive since they are in their own partition.

    Since media files tend to be larger then other files, I use the 180 to hold everything else.

    I love how it is set up and wish you the best of luck.
  7. The Best Alias

    The Best Alias TS Rookie Posts: 113

    If you are running demanding multimedia applications such as audio and video editing software, there is a HUGE performance payoff by using multiple drives. My machine is set up where drive C holds the OS and some lesser demanding apps, drive D holds the demanding apps, and drive E holds the data.

    For example, say I am recording 16 tracks of audio. Drives C & D are for the most part reading only, while drive E is writing like a mad man. This drastically deminishes swapping. When I first started multitracking, I only had 1 HD and my files constantly had pops and clicks in them. Once I got additional drives, things got a whole lot better.
  8. MrDJ009

    MrDJ009 TS Rookie

    Step up to Partition Magic

    If you like FDISK then it’s time to step up to Partition Magic. This is one of the best utilities that I have ever used for managing hard drives. It’s especially useful when you have multiple drives. FDISK is a relatively crude program that is almost unchanged since it’s debut with, I believe, Microsoft’s original DOS 1.1 (vintage 1981 on the first IBM PC). Microsoft subsequently added the FDISK menu shell with a later version of DOS but has made few changes since.

    Partition Magic’s excels with a graphical display of all partitions and drives on a PC. It is great for managing multiple drives easily an efficiently. You can resize your partitions to be larger or smaller without loss of data. One useful way of backing up your C: drive with PM is to use the recovery diskettes to copy the C: to a new backup drive on your second hard drive. Then, hide the backed up partition. If you ever loose your C: drive, which can happen for any number of reasons, you can recover by copying the backup to your C: drive and you are back in business. This will waste a little space on that 200MB second drive, but if you ever need it you will thank your lucky stars you have it. Obviously, from time to time your will want to delete the backup drive and make a fresh copy of your current C: drive. This simple procedure has saved me more times than I want to count.
  9. richland

    richland TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hard drive installed

    Hi, Thanks everyone for all your advice. My new 200gb hard drive is now installed with no problems. I could not have done it without you.
  10. SilkCutBlue

    SilkCutBlue TS Rookie

    This is very similar to what I think I want to achieve. Any advice would be a real bonus.
    I have bought an additional hard drive to put in my Dell Dimension 8300. What I want to do is Dual Boot with an individual OS on each drive. My reasoning behind this is I want to use my new drive as my gaming drive and keep it, and the registry, really clean of everything, and use my current drive as my web dev/downloading/programs and apps/general drive. Basically making 2 PC's out of one system.
    Is this possible? In my head It seems like it should be
    What problems, if any, am I going to face?
    Is it actually worth it, or, should I just use it as additional storage?

    I'm pretty competent when it comes to drivers, installation, fixing installations etc. but hardware is a new ball game to me. So, any advice?

    Sorry, I should add that i have added hardware to systems before (GFX cards, sound cards, RAM etc.) and have switched off on-board components. I also know the general basics behind the precautions to take, earthing yourself properly blah de blah. This is more of a config type question.
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