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Adding a Disk Drive

-Stan Gelber

I recently upgraded to a larger hard drive. This was because I was running out of space due to all the music, video and the large amount of code found in many new software products--which will be the subject of a future article. Today's hard disk drives can contain massive amounts of space often exceeding 150 gbytes which is great for all the wonderful software, video and music but creates problems for managing it.

Before you begin or purchase a new drive, make sure you understand the differences in drive types (SCSI, ATA100, ATA133, SATA etc) and the type of disk controller your computer has installed. This is important and will possible save you a return trip to the store where you purchased the drive. You can do this by looking at the the systems information in the Windows control panel.  Most home based systems will have IDE or SATA drives.

Regardless of what you read, upgrading your hard drive can be a daunting task. The first step in any upgrade is to backup your existing programs and data. If something goes wrong, at least you haven't lost everything. The second thing is to read all of the new drive documentation completely, this will help you in the installation.

If you are replacing a drive, follow the directions for the physical removal and installation of the new drive. Once you have the new drive in place, I suggest you boot your computer from a Windows 95/98/2000 XP emergency recovery disk. To create an ERD (Emergency Recovery Disk), go to the help menu of the version of Windows you have and type "Emergency Recovery Disk", Instructions will be provided by Windows for its creation. (this is a good procedure to follow on a regular basis as a safety procedure).

You will need to format your new disk before you can either use or restore your programs and data. If you are working with Windows, boot from the ERD floppy and follow the on-screen directions. You will also need the installation CD or floppies to complete the reinstallation. Once the reinstall has completed, you can run your restore program to reload all your other programs and files. Some exceptions to this general rule do exist as several software manufacturers do provide backup solutions that include an option to create a boot system cd or DVD containing your Windows files.

I have a hard time imagining this butff you are restoring - reloading a DOS - Windows 3.1 system, you will need to boot from a DOS boot disk. If you do not have one, they are easy to make, take a blank formatted floppy and either in the Windows file manager, or at the DOS prompt, create a system disk (do this before you change the drive!). File manager provides an option for creating a systems disk; however in DOS, you must type at the command prompt, "sys a:" which will transfer the DOS system files to the floppy. You now have a bootable floppy. Also copy autoexec.bat, config.sys,, and the format program to the floppy from the DOS directory.

Before you can reload your files and programs, you must format the new drive. This can be accomplished using the format program on your new floppy boot disk. After formatting, type "sys c:" at the DOS prompt and DOS will be copied and installed on your hard drive. The next step is to reinstall your backup-restore program so you can run it to restore Windows and your other programs and files.

If you are adding a second drive to Windows, follow the setup directions that came with the drive. Windows will detect the new drive and instruct you on formatting and setup. For DOS, you will first need to run the Fdisk program to set up a secondary partition, and then you will need to run the format program to make it ready for use. A word of warning, do not format or change your primary partition when adding a second drive as you will erase you data and system files.

As a final note, if you are installing one of the larger drives, I would suggest that you create logical drives for more efficiency. I try to keep my logical drives around 20 Gbytes or less. Windows or the Fdisk program will help you perform that activity. Be careful when you do this as it is quite easy to confuse Windows if you restore your programs and files to a different drive from where they were originally resident.

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