Upgrading hard drives on an XP machine
January 27, 2004 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Adding new hard drives to an XP machine. Have questions about the best process to follow. (moron inside)

I've currently got two 40GBs in there, the primary drive (C:) formatted NTFS with the OS, various datafiles, and applications. (This drive also has a 4.2GB FAT32 partition (d:) that Compaq created to hold system recovery data.) The second 40GB drive (E:, NTFS) holds music and photo files. Both drives are nearly full, and anyway I want a backup strategy. So I bought two 160GB drives. What's the best process to follow? Here's my assumptions:

Step 1 -- swap out the E: drive for one of the new 160s, format/create a 4.2GB FAT32 partition on it, and clone over the existing C: and D: partitions to that drive using Ghost. But the cloning process keeps failing, and isn't saying why. Assuming eventual success with Step 1....
Step 2 -- Make that 160GB the primary drive, and boot up with it. Put the old music/photo drive in as secondary, and copy all that stuff over to the C: drive. Now everything I had on two drives before is on one drive.
Step 3 -- Put in the 2nd new 160GB. Format and put in a 4.2 FAT32 partition. Clone the "recovery" d: drive to that partition, and then use the rest of the drive to hold backup of the new C: drive.

Is this the best way to go? Any suggestions on why I'm having trouble cloning or ghosting that first partition?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Ok so this is what I would do. I'm assuming you only have two IDE connections available:

Your primary harddrive (OS, apps, etc.) we'll call "A", and the data and what not we will call "B". Take out B and put in a 160GB in its place. Copy A to the 160 (when I do this I do a simple copy and paste in Windows, always worked for me.)

The 160 now is a theoretic copy of A (we shall call it 160A). Take out A put in the 160A in its place. Now put B in where it was orginally and put the 160A. Create a folder called "B" and copy B contents in it. Take out B and put the empty 160. Voila, your'e done.

I hope I'm not missing something glaringly obvious, for this seemed simpler then you made it.
posted by geoff. at 9:55 AM on January 27, 2004

you may want to read this if you are going to clone that XP c: drive, especially the part about the "Windows Product Activation Dialog".
posted by Hackworth at 10:07 AM on January 27, 2004

Hey Flanders, re: step 1 make sure you're not hitting any issues with 48 bit Logical Block Addressing (LBA). That could potentially be causing problems with large hard drive adventures...
posted by daver at 10:08 AM on January 27, 2004

or, to put it in a nutshell for you, get a Win98SE startup floppy and do a fdisk /mbr on the new drive once you clone it, or you won't be able to log into windows.
posted by Hackworth at 10:10 AM on January 27, 2004

Be careful with Microsoft's annoying product activation stupidity tripping you up when change hardware. On preview I seeing I partially repeating what hackworth wrote.
posted by rdr at 5:00 PM on January 27, 2004

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