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Old August 24 2008, 04:57 AM   #1
Jolly Old Krampus
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Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

I apologize for this lengthy post, but please bear with me.

I've recently decided to upgrade my Dell XPS 710 computer by getting more storage space. For a powerful machine, it certainly has a comparatively average hard drive capacity of 250 GB. I'm an avid PC gamer, and when I ordered this machine early last year, the most I could acquire was a 250-gigabyte hard drive (though the PC is upgradeable to 1 Terabyte). Now I have only 108 GB left.

Here's some additional information:

Memory: 2 GB, upgradeable to 4 GB
Processor: Intel Core Duo w/ 2.4 GHz speed
Graphics: 1 GB NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GX2 Video Card(s)
OS: Windows Vista
Includes DVD-ROM and DVD-RW Drives

So I went to Fry's Electronics today and got a Western Digital Caviar SE16 SATA 500-gigabyte hard drive. Installing it was a breeze. My Dell has 3 additional hard-drive bays inside; so I put the WD hard drive into one of the drive bays. Afterwards, I tried installing the CD software, although Vista automatically installed the driver for the new hard drive. I couldn't install the setup.exe for some reason, and I was constantly getting error messages. When I looked up some info on-line, I realized it didn't really matter as long as Windows had already installed the driver. Further, when I checked Device Manager, it said that the new hard drive was working normally, though it didn't have any designated name or drive. Also, I had to format it, which I did. (I did this all by going through the Computer Management Console.)

Over an hour later, the formatting was completed and I rebooted my PC. When I looked into "My Computer," it still only showed the original hard drive (C) with the 250-GB capacity/108-GB remaining.

Here's my problem/questions: Shouldn't the new hard drive be a part of the current C: hard drive? Is it possible at this point to integrate the "new" hard drive (500 GB) into the C: drive (250 GB)? If so, how do I accomplish that? Why is this new drive not showing when I look into "My Computer"?

Please help. Thanks for your feedback.
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Last edited by Jolly Old Krampus; August 24 2008 at 05:03 AM.
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Old August 24 2008, 08:12 AM   #2
wellsweb
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

Is your current C: drive also a SATA drive? Any additional drives you install will take the next available letter (usually D: or F: depending on your optical drives). If your current drive is IDE, your SATA drive will need to be set up in the BIOS. Make sure the SATA controller is set to IDE mode not RAID.

Good luck.
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Old August 24 2008, 09:00 AM   #3
Jolly Old Krampus
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

Thanks, but how can I tell if my current C: drive is IDE? It doesn't seem to have an indication when I check Properties. Also, when I first formatted the new hard drive, I was prompted if I wanted to assign a letter to it. I didn't, since I wanted it to be a part of the C: drive, but "C" wasn't an option.
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Old August 24 2008, 04:03 PM   #4
spinnerlys
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

Does the connector to your old drive (the one with the C:/) have a connector like this, then it is IDE, if the connector looks like that, it is an S-ATA drive.

And it is best to have the new drive a different letter like D or whatever.
And as I remember, you can't really allocate a new HDD to an already existing Drive Letter like C: and get more storage on C: .
It would only function if you build a RAID, but that would require a lot more work.

And maybe the new drive doesn't mount okay. See if you can find it listed under System Preferences -> (Computer/System) Administration -> Computer Administration -> Storage (or something like that) Administration.

There are all the (under Windows) available drives listed. Here you can see if the drive is properly formatted or mounted. You can even assign a Drive Letter there (except the ones, that are already in use).

PS: I haven't used Windows in a while (years), so I don't exactly remember the names for those options, but I think you get the gist.

Last edited by spinnerlys; August 24 2008 at 04:06 PM. Reason: adding and erasing
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Old August 24 2008, 04:56 PM   #5
romulus
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

Haven't used Vista in a while but from what remember computer management worked the same as XP. You need to get to disk management, from computer management, under the "storage tree".

Actually why it's probably better to give you info straight from MS support.
3. Right-click the partition or drive that you want to change, and then click Change Drive Letter and Paths.
4. Do one of the following:
•To assign a drive letter if one has not already been assigned, click Add, click the letter that you want to use, and then click OK.
•To change a drive letter, click Change, click Assign the following drive letter, click the letter that you want to use, and then click OK.
•To remove a drive letter, click Remove, and then click Yes to confirm that you want to remove it.
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Old August 24 2008, 09:58 PM   #6
Jolly Old Krampus
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

spinnerlys wrote: View Post
Does the connector to your old drive (the one with the C:/) have a connector like this, then it is IDE, if the connector looks like that, it is an S-ATA drive.

And it is best to have the new drive a different letter like D or whatever.
And as I remember, you can't really allocate a new HDD to an already existing Drive Letter like C: and get more storage on C: .
It would only function if you build a RAID, but that would require a lot more work.

And maybe the new drive doesn't mount okay. See if you can find it listed under System Preferences -> (Computer/System) Administration -> Computer Administration -> Storage (or something like that) Administration.

There are all the (under Windows) available drives listed. Here you can see if the drive is properly formatted or mounted. You can even assign a Drive Letter there (except the ones, that are already in use).

PS: I haven't used Windows in a while (years), so I don't exactly remember the names for those options, but I think you get the gist.
Mine looks like a SATA rather than IDE.

I also took romulus's advice for now and assigned a letter to the drive. It now shows as my "R" drive when I click on "My Computer." But wouldn't this be the same as having an external hard drive? In other words, I can't really save or install systems-related files or applications, since the default always seems to be C: drive. At best, it will just function as a data storage drive for photos, videos, and MP3s.

Thanks, guys.
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Old August 24 2008, 10:37 PM   #7
scotthm
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

Drone36929 wrote: View Post
I also took romulus's advice for now and assigned a letter to the drive. It now shows as my "R" drive when I click on "My Computer." But wouldn't this be the same as having an external hard drive? In other words, I can't really save or install systems-related files or applications, since the default always seems to be C: drive. At best, it will just function as a data storage drive for photos, videos, and MP3s.
I don't think you can expand your boot partition without third party software, even with Vista, but I may be mistaken about that.

However, if you move all your data to the new drive it should free up quite a bit of space on C:, and I'm sure there is some software that doesn't have to install on the system partition, but you'll have to try that on a case by case basis.

You do know that you can redirect your profile files (such as "Desktop", "Documents", "Music", "Pictures", "Videos", etc.) to another location fairly seamlessly? You can change the location of each of these folders by right clicking on it, selecting properties, and then the location tab. Move it to where you like, but you can still access it as though it's on C:.

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Old August 24 2008, 11:00 PM   #8
Alaedhros
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

Drone36929 wrote: View Post
I also took romulus's advice for now and assigned a letter to the drive. It now shows as my "R" drive when I click on "My Computer." But wouldn't this be the same as having an external hard drive? In other words, I can't really save or install systems-related files or applications, since the default always seems to be C: drive. At best, it will just function as a data storage drive for photos, videos, and MP3s.

Thanks, guys.
Well, first, I don't think there's any particular reason it can't store programs or even system-related files. I'd recommend keeping all the system stuff on C:, just in case, but you shouldn't have problems keeping programs on R:.

Also, there's another way to combine the two physical drives into one virtual drive (besides RAID, which spinnerlys mentioned). I've never used LVM on Windows, but apparently it is supported via this tool.
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Old August 25 2008, 01:44 AM   #9
Jolly Old Krampus
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

Posted by scotthm:

You do know that you can redirect your profile files (such as "Desktop", "Documents", "Music", "Pictures", "Videos", etc.) to another location fairly seamlessly? You can change the location of each of these folders by right clicking on it, selecting properties, and then the location tab. Move it to where you like, but you can still access it as though it's on C:.
I'll try that. The data files, I know I can store them pretty much anywhere on another drive (be it an external USB hard drive, jump drive, or another designated internal drive, or a data card reader, for that matter). It's just that when I install future games or programs, it's unlikely Windows will allow me to "divert" them to the new R: drive.
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Old August 25 2008, 02:24 AM   #10
Orac Zen
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

Most programmes have an option to change the installation path / drive at some stage of the setup process. There'll be a "browse" button, or options, or something along those lines. I have plenty of programmes installed on my D drive and everything works fine.
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Old August 25 2008, 03:52 PM   #11
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

Yeah, most(but not all) software will give you that option during set up - I've got most of my apps and games on a separate drive to the one used by the OS and they all work.

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Old August 25 2008, 04:06 PM   #12
Chaos Descending
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

Drone36929 wrote: View Post
...It's just that when I install future games or programs, it's unlikely Windows will allow me to "divert" them to the new R: drive.
Completely untrue. You have nothing to fear.

When you intall a game, it always gives you the option of selecting where you want to install it to.

Just change the "C" in C:\Program Files\MacroHard\SpoogeWarz to an "R", and your game will install on your new "R" drive.

e.g.
R:\Program Files\MacroHard\SpoogeWarz
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Old August 25 2008, 09:15 PM   #13
Jolly Old Krampus
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Re: Help! PC Hard Drive Upgrade

Uh, thanks, all. So where do I get this game, Spooge Warz? Sounds like fun.
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