How do I add an additional HD?

I have a old computer collecting dust in my closet which I’ve decided to salvage for parts. I was wondering how to take the hard drive out of that one and put it into my main computer. I don’t know much about this and I can’t seem to find anything on google. I currently have a HD, CD Drive, and CDRW Drive on my primary computer.

Warning: Very non-PC description enclosed in spoiler tags to avoid possibly offending excessively sensitive people with to much time on their hands. The HD is the primary master with the CD Drive as the primary slave. The CDRW Drive is the secondary master with no secondary slave.

I am currently running Windows XP which AFAIK supports multiple hard drives. Am I going to have to format? Repartition? Any other software related issues I should keep a eye out for?

Just pull it out and stick in the other computer as the secondary slave. Boot it up and windows should recognize it.

Your motherboard should say which IDE channel is primary and which is secondary. The middle of the IDE cable is the slave.

If the cable your burner is on doesn’t have a connector in the middle you’ll have to buy another one.

There’s really not much to it. :slight_smile:

Oh yeah, be sure to check the jumper on the old drive and set it to slave or cable select depending on where you install it on the IDE cable.

I don’t have to set this other hard drive as the secondary master?


The other HD has Win 98 on it which I will have to remove. Should I format before or after the move? Also, will I have to install XP on it too?

I doesn’t really matter when you format your hard drive, but I would just format it before moving the HD anyway just to be sure (if there’s a virus on it, it won’t spread to your other computer if you format it first).

You don’t need to install XP again, the OS will work on all of your HD.

Just to clarify a note by Eleusis re the cable connector position determining master/slave positions, this is irrelevant if you are using the jumpers to assign master slave settings. There are usually 3 settings on hard drives. MS (master) SL(slave) and CS (cable select) . The header position on the cable (end or middle) relative to determining master or slave assignment is only relevant if CS jumpering is used. If MS/SL jumpering is used the drive can be placed at the midpoint header or the end header as convenient, with no change to it’s master/slave assignment priority.

I was worried about whether to plug it into the end or middle connector like astro said. I guess it’s a nonissue if I manually set the jumpers to slave.

This is what I understand to do right now. Feel free to correct me if you see a mistake or if you think a step requires greater details. I haven’t actually started anything yet but I will be doing this today.

Turn off and unplug everything.

Take the HD and IDE cable out of the old computer. Do I need the IDE cable out of the old computer?

Set the jumpers to slave.

Plug the HD into the motherboard using the middle of the IDE cable and screw it in tight. I assume this will be easy but I’m still not to clear on this step.

Turn on computer.

BIOS should automatically recognize it. I remember this from when I installed the burner but still -cross fingers-.

Ok, from this point on I need a bit of clarification. Will the new drive show up automatically under My Computer? Is it possible to partition and format from within XP? Is there anything I need to do after I format but before I start moving files over?

Thanks to everyone so far for the help.

Oops, I forgot about the 4 pin power connector. Am I safe in assuming that there will be a free slot in the power supply to connect it too?

You can indeed partition and format within XP. However, I second whoever suggested doing the format before you add it to the new computer, in case there’s a virus or something. I would suggest going to Radified for help on using FDisk and such if you are going to partition it. There are also utilities and premade boot disks on that site so you can boot from a floppy on the old computer and format it that way. You could go ahead and partition as well, but I think I’d do that under XP if you decide to, as you can decide whether or not you want to go to NTFS on that drive–something I suggest, as the cluster size is smaller and you can then use the privacy and other features of the NTFS file format. I’m willing to bet that, if you bought your new computer with XP preinstalled, that that hard drive is formatted NTFS as well.

I just remembered one of the last things I did on the old computer was format it. I think the only things on it right now are the OS and Max Payne. I’m not too worried about a virus but I am going to format again once I’ve set it in there.
I have just removed the old HD from the computer. There are 2 things I notice which I didn’t expect.

Instead of one IDE cable there are 2 separate IDE cables. One for the CD and one for the HD. I also noticed the CD was set as primary master which would mean the HD is primary slave. Looking at the jumpers at the back show that they are NOT set as slave but rather in sometype of factory default position. I hope this isn’t going to be a problem.

The second thing is the same 4 pin power cord is used for the HD and the floppy drive. Is this normal? I only ask in case I need to use this 4 pin power cord in the main computer (if there isn’t a spare already).

I’m gonna take a break and wait for replies then go ahead and install. I’m probably coming off as paranoid or anal but I like to fully understand every step before I do anything. I don’t like surprises. :wink:

There are typically two header socket positions on the MB. One should be labeled IDE Primary or IDE 1 and the the other will be IDE secondary or IDE 2. Each of these header connectors will allow for two IDE devices to be attached in a master/slave configuration for a total total of 4 IDE devices.

Ignore your old PC settings. Just set the old drive to slave and attached it to the remaining connector header on the cable that attaches your new PC CDRW drive (make sure the CDRW is set to master) . If the CDRW drive has a cable with only a single header simply use the dual header IDE cable from the old PC.

In the event that the hard drive on your old PC is ATA 100/133 compatible (it would probably need to be 30-40 gigs or better for this to be the case) you might want to consider getting an 80 connector ATA cable instead of using the standard 40 conductor cable, but the real world improvement would be pretty slight.

There’s nothing wrong in taking extra precautions.

Having 2 IDE cables is normal, that’s the way it usually is, usually, your IDE cable should have enough space to plug 2 IDE or 2 CD drive each. When you want to install 2 HD, the recommanded method is to install both of the HD on the same cable, 1 of them should be set to master and the othe one to slave and that should work without problems.

There should also be a 4 pins power cord pluged in your current HD, with another one attached to it, the other one should be plugged in the second HD.

The 4 pins power cord is also used by the CD drive I believe, that’s normal.

I think that’s all you need to know to install the drive anyway, just be careful about static electricity when installing and everything should be fine.

Speaking of second hard drives, perhaps owners of Dell’s can answer this one for me.
I have plans to add a second hard drive (although I’ll probably dwadle till prices come down a bit), and while checking the Dell manual on just this, I read that I have to remove the existing (primary) hard drive, and move it to a different slot (the lower one on my Dimension 4550 tower) and to put the secondary HD in the top slot.
The only reason I could think for doing this is that Dell cheaped out on the driver cables, and the Slave connection wouldn’t reach otherwise…

You can attach the second drive to a free header to the CDRW/DVD drive cable or for a few bucks you can get a 24 inch (vs standard 18 inch) cable from a PC parts store or online. Some tweakers are against using a slightly slightly longer that spec cable but I’ve never had problems with them.

Wow, I just installed a second hard drive. I feel so proud of myself. :smiley: Thanks to everyone for the help. I do have a slight problem I’m not sure about. FDISK doesn’t see the second hard drive so I can’t create a extended partition on it. Windows and the computer sees it just fine and I’m able to store files on it. Can someone explain why FDISK is only seeing one hard drive? Do I really need to repartition the second HD (I’ve already formatted it)?

Your BIOS might be set up only to auto-search for the primary master - the other drives possibly being set to ‘None’ - it is quite a common configuration, so check this if Windows can’t find the drive.

I think I’ve figured out the problem. I just need to use FDISK from within windows to get it to recognize the other drive. I know it’s not the BIOS because the computer detects it on startup.

I just have one more question and I’ll stop bothering you nice folks. Right now the HD works fine and I’ve started storing stuff on it. Is it even necessary to repartition it? The current setup is 2 HD with a primary partition and a Logical DOS drive on each. Do I need to go to all the trouble of changing it to 1 primary partition and 1 extended partition with 1 logical DOS drives on each? What is the difference between the two?