Computers: Hard Drives: If all bays are full, what is the best way to add one?

Well, here I am, sitting infront of this crusty old computer, with a new one at my side. The new one being a Gateway 500x (Yes, Pity me.). I was planning to add in another Hard Drive, however, all the bays in it are full.

So, I had reached a horrible problem-- what to do? I mean, The HD is a 3.25 and I can off the Disk drive, sure, but that isn’t worlds safest thing…

Also, I would lke to say that apparently only 4 IDE Drives can be attached to this computer. There is already a DVD, CD-RW, and Hard Drive. The 3.25 inch may or may not count. I’d think it does.

I’m looking forwards to help…

Now… over and out, before I crawl up someone’s skirt…

The 3.5 inch floppy drive does not count, they are not IDE devices. I just laid my 3rd hard drive in the bottom of my case, but it was a free drive. I do not reccomend this.

Could you get some little pices of sheet metal (like pci slot covers) and drill holes in them and use them to suspend the drive from the floppy drive bracket? If you have a nice roomy case with the floppy mounted below the 5.25 inch bays it should be pussible. Be careful not to short anything out.

It’s a Mini-tower. I’d hardly describe that as roomy…

Thank you very much tho…but anyone else have any other ideas?

Well… if you have one one IDE channel left (as you apparently do) and there is no additional 5.25 or 3.5 inch bay to put the drive into, the simplest solution (though inelegant) is generally to put the drive in the bottom of the case and velcro it in place. This assumes you have enough cable slack to make the reach to the bottom and then up to the drive bay. If you do this make sure the sticky side of the velcro strip when applied does not cover the drive’s breathing hole.

also you could use those plastic zipties to make sure it stays put - even if ou have to drill some holes to secure it

If there are internal rails to drill holes in, fine. But I wouldn’t recommend drilling holes in the case. Cases are designed to to maximize airflow for cooling. Modern processors and memory generate a lot of heat and proper cooling is very important.

Looking at the Gateway website, I see that they do not offer any add on drives as upgrades when customizing the GX500. Is there no room below or above the existing drive, or just no slots to screw the drive into?

I don’t know about you, but I almost never use my floppy drive at home. Perhaps you could take that out of its slot and lay it on the bottom of the case, and modify that slot to fit the hard drive?

The Hard Drive is a 3.25 model anywho, so that’s very likely…

As for the innards, unfortunitly, I’ll have to see.

You may consider just replacing the one you have now. Big hard drives are so cheap now, it’s almost pointless to keep your old 5 gig or whatever when you have an 80 gig sitting right there.

Alright, I looked. It’s possible.

As for Joey G: It’s a 120 er. I’m just looking to tag on a 15 GB…

How does one go about transferring files from an old hard drive to a new one? For example, I have a 13 gig drive and a 20 gig drive. If I bought a new 80 gig drive, is there an easy way to get what’s on my 20 onto the 80 and then ditch the 20 outright? (The 13 is my master drive so I’d rather just leave it alone.)

Go to your local computer parts store and pick up a 3 1/2 to 5 1/4 drive adapter bracket , costs less than $2.00 US and stick it in an open 5 1/4 bay.
Connect the new harddrive to the ribbon cable going to your primary IDE controller, it should be the one that is also connected to your original harddrive.
Are you sure that your computers BIOS can handle the new large HD, some older BIOS are limited to maximum size of 4 or 8 GB ?

Is you problem exclusively an open bay to put the drive? Or how to wire it in and make it work?

In the former case, IMO it’s not worth “taping” (more or less) another drive into the case for less than 20% memory increase. If you have stuff to save from it, wire it in temporarily, copy the contests to the new drive, then get rid of it. My guess is that by the time you fil 120 gigs, you’ll be ready for a whole system upgrade. Maybe I’m wrong if you do TONS of image processing.

In the latter, well, that’s a whole separate issue.

I bought a Maxtor 80 GB drive a couple of months ago, and there was a no-frills program included that transferred everything for me. I was skeptical that it would work, but it did without a hitch. All my little taskbar apps, 3rd-party drivers etc. work like a charm.

There’s also software you can buy to do the same thing with more bells and whistles, but it’s probably overpriced. You might be able to go into DOS mode (with both drives installed and recognized in the BIOS) and copy all the old files to the new drive, but it might not be so simple.

Your best bet is to just back up everything you can and do a fresh reinstall. Everyone should do that at least twice a year anyway.

The easiest way is to ID the new drive to your system, so all three drive are readable at once, and then simply copy using Explore.

This can be real tricky with SOME files, and often won’t work without considerable extra effort, with executable files and programs. They frequently load lines into your system files that specify drive locations and such, and changing drive locations will get you error messages and program crashes (or simply inability to load) unless you rereference the drive locations in your system files.

I don’t have the expertise to walk you through doing it, I had to tinker and fail quite a bit before getting it done. I’ve found it easier to copy the data files, and reinstall the program files.

An alternative to the 5.25 to 3.5" drive bay adapter is a removable hard drive caddy (just because it’s removable doesn’t mean you have to remove it).

From what I understand, it pays to have the drive securely anchored. This minimizes vibration and wear-and-tear as it spins…

Not to mentin it grounds it.

You could get an external HD…firewire HDs are fun.

Yojimboguy’s method will probably not produce a bootable drive, aside from the problems he already mentioned. The Maxtor software mentioned by Max Harvey is available as a free download from Maxtor’s website. The program is called Maxblast, and I have used it multiple times, even for copying drives here at work. When you boot from the Maxblast disk, it asks you if you have already installed your Maxtor drive. Just say yes. Even if your drive isn’t Maxtor, the software works fine. However, it will not work with NT, 2000, or XP, at least not to produce a bootable drive. This is because it does not copy the master boot record of the drive. Win9x series OS do not need this to boot, however.

You could probably use the Maxblast to copy a 2000 or XP drive and then make it bootable again with the emergency recovery boot disks, but I’ve never tried it.

The drive is already grounded through the power connector. Additional grounding is not necessary for these devices (some even use plastic mounting rails).

And the OP did imply in a later message that he already had the second drive. However, you can find external cases meant for adding IDE drives, using either USB or FireWire. Here’s a whole page of them (not meant as an endorsement; I’ve never even heard of that company).