Moving C
October 24, 2006 5:06 PM   Subscribe

I want to move my C: drive to a different location. On my XP machine I have 5 hard drives, all 20 Gigs with the exception of my C: drive which is 15 Gigs, hence the move. What's the most painless way to do this?

I'll pick one drive (say, the D: drive) and clear everything out. Then what? Do I need to physically switch the cables under the hood? I'm not terribly savvy when it comes to hardware, but I seem to recall some "master" and "slave" tags on those cords...but if I can avoid this that'd be best. So I need to get into BIOS? Change the boot order? Or can I take care of this all with the XP setup when I format the D: drive and install Windows?
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't move your C: drive. Start moving folders within it to another drive and use DFS to tell Windows they didn't go anywhere.

Failing that, clone the C: drive to the new hard drive, then enlarge the cloned partition using a (Linux LiveCD and GNU parted) / (some other partition editor you can figure out).
posted by genghis at 5:32 PM on October 24, 2006

If you can afford it, I'd suggest buying and installing a bigger hard drive. It seems like your boot drive is a bit cramped right now, but that extra 5GB won't last long.
posted by Cog at 5:56 PM on October 24, 2006

I'm assuming you don't want to go get a program that specifically does this for you, such as Drive Copy by PowerQuest. This type of program is truly the most painless way, if you don't consider the wallet hit painful (they aren't expensive).

Going with that assumption, if you have all the media for your programs and OS, you should reinstall XP on a clean drive, and reinstall your programs. This is simple, but not convenient. You will need to move your documents to another drive, and I recommend leaving them there after you reinstall Windows. That way, they are separate from your programs/OS, and when you have to upsize your drive again, at least you won't have to move your documents. You can also try using the Transfer Files and Settings wizard, but if you know where your documents are, I wouldn't bother.

While you can install to the D: drive, there are some files that XP will put on the C: drive no matter where you install it. Moreover, the boot block of the first master is where Windows will look when it boots. You may be able to change the boot order of the physical drives in the BIOS; if you do, the drive letters will also change, because the primary master will no longer be the C: drive.
posted by owhydididoit at 6:05 PM on October 24, 2006

Acronis TrueImage has a fully-functional 15-day trial version that'll let you clone your smaller disk to a larger one, adjust the partition size, and make the new drive your C drive. It works great, I've used it twice to upgrade hard disks in machines. Of course, there hardly seems a point going from a 15 GB drive to a 20 GB drive, why not just go get a 300 gigger for $80 (check and put everything on that? Then you won't have to worry what volume anything's on anymore.
posted by kindall at 7:14 PM on October 24, 2006

3rd the clone your hard drive to something large then resize the partition.

You're gonna have to move the hard drives around in your computer physically, just swap the cables after you've cloned the drive (if possible). You will need to change the jumpers from slave to master and vice versa.

You might even have to physically swap the drives to accomodate the other drives that are already connected.
posted by mphuie at 7:43 PM on October 24, 2006

Another vote for clone and resize. Also, if you can go buy a new hard drive altogether.

I just picked up a 200 gig Seagate Barracuda for $60 on newegg. Thats a top quality drive you can fit all of those old ones and and actually have some room to move around. Running 5x 20gig hard drives is unnecessary with today's cheap hard drives.
posted by sophist at 9:05 PM on October 24, 2006

Buy a big new drive. If you need a rationalisation, it'll be faster, require less power and generate less heat. And give you room to avoid fiddling around for a while.
posted by holgate at 1:29 AM on October 25, 2006

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