second hard drive

Posted on 2004-04-17
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
If I installed a second hard drive to my pc and copied the entire contents from HD1 to HD2 can I reformat HD2 so that I don't have duplicate files? What files MUST I have on HD2? Do I need the operating system on HD2? What is the best way to reformat HD2? I'd like to free up a HD to use for video files and picture files. Thanks.
Question by:buccos17
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Expert Comment

ID: 10851779
Not sure what you are trying to do here buccos17.
You were using HD1 and made a backup of it onto HD2 and now you wnat to format HD2?

You will need the operating system's boot files on one of the drives.
It would help to know what operating system you are using.

What is your final goal here?
To have HD2 bootable and HD1 store your picture files? Or the other way around?

Author Comment

ID: 10851794
I copied the files from HD1 to HD2 because I wasn't sure which files I needed to keep. I really don't want duplicate files if I don't need them. I'd like to maximize my HD space. HD1 can remain bootable & HD2(the larger one) can act as storage. Do I reformat HD2 or just delete duplicate files? I'm using Windows XP.
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Accepted Solution

sirbounty earned 125 total points
ID: 10851803
Sorry buccos17 - I still don't get what you're after...

A couple of things:

You copied files from HD1 to HD2 because you weren't sure which files you needed to keep...  Keep for what?  If they're on HD1 - why do you need them on HD2?
If HD1 is already bootable and you want HD2 as storage only - just wipe it clean from Disk Manager (Start->Run->Diskmgmt.msc).

Not sure what you mean by duplicate files on HD2.  If you're certain that there's nothing on HD2 that you need, it's probably best to do a format on HD2.  Depending on how old your drive is - a format would potentially track down any sector errors and eliminate those so that you have less potential for data corruption after the format.

Am I with you here or not?  I just don't want to steer you wrong.  Trying to make certain we're on the same page... :D
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Author Comment

ID: 10851816
We're on the same page. I'd never added another HD before & as you see I'm not an expert so I just simply copied everything to HD2. So I don't need my OP on HD2 if it's on HD1. This may sound silly but I'm just not sure of the answer. I'd like my 40GB HD(HD1) & my 80 GB HDHD2) to act as 1 120 GB HD.
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Expert Comment

ID: 10851845
Oh...that's a different story then...

If you're trying to combine the two - you can do this with Dynamic disks in XP

Basic vs. Dynamic:
Convert Basic disk to Dynamic:

But I believe you'd have to start over with HD1, unless you wanted to go with something like Partition Magic, which would cost around $30 (

To 'start over' - you could make HD1 two partitions (C & D drives).  C would remain Basic and contain just the OS.  D could be converted to Dynamic and used to extend the size of E (HD2).

Alternatively, you might be able to use something known as Volume Mount Points...
Read more about them here:

Expert Comment

ID: 10851920
Actually, I think what you need to do is clone the old disk onto the new disk.

Cloning copies more than just the files, it also copies the boot sector, and a few other essentials that you need to get the computer to run.

If you buy a retail packaged hard drive, (from a store like Best Buy) it will include a boot floppy with a setup and cloning program.

The operation goes like this.

Remove old drive from system.
Set Jumper on old drive for Slave
Open up new drive and set it as master
Connect the end of the IDE cable that was connected to the old drive to the new drive
Connect the connector in the middle of the cable to the old drive
(If the cable in your case doesn't have the connector in the middle, you will need to replace it with the one that came with the new drive, make sure that the longest section of cable is between the "Middle" connector and the one that connects to the motherboard. Also look for a red stripe on the old cable, it will be on the same place on the new cable.)
Insert the Floppy into a: drive
power up the system and go into the BIOS
Make sure that both drives are detected properly. you may need to set the computer to auto-detect the "Primary Slave" device
Make sure that the computer will boot to the a: drive first
Save changes and reboot.
The computer will boot to the floppy.
The manufacturer's software will detect the new drive and offer to help you set it up.
Look for the option to clone the old drive onto the new drive.
Once the cloning operation is done, remove the floppy, and reboot.
Windows will load.

you should see two hard drives. C: will be the new one, and the old one will be assigned a different drive letter. Windows XP will use the next one in the alphabet that won't force any other drive letters to change, (C: new drive, D: CD-ROM E: Zip F: old drive) in win 98 it will grab D: and force the rest of the drive letters to advance.

at this point you can format the old hard drive because everything is now on the new hard drive. all programs, games and documents will be right where you left them, (on the c: drive,) and you can install/save new stuff to the old hard drive.
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Expert Comment

ID: 10851942
Timotheus1 - with all due respect, I think the author doesn't need disk cloning.  It apparently was mistakenly determined that both drives needed to be duplicated in order to work correctly.  This is not the case.  From what I've been able to gather, the author wasn't trying to move the OS over to the new HD either (the larger HD).

buccos17 - if I'm mistaken, please correct me.
Your ultimate goal is to have HD1 and HD2 combined into one logical drive (so that it appears as if you only have a C drive totaling to the size of both physical hard drives (120GB, roughly)..
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Expert Comment

ID: 10853131
The only way I know to do this. Just to have 1 drive and be bootable. (Dynamic disk is not bootable= 2 drives)
Is to use a raid controler such as this one.

JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks)
Volume - Subsystem of disk drives. Allow you to combine disk drives into larger logical volumes. Two or more hard drives of unequal size can be grouped to appear as one single device to the host system. JBOD does not provide fault tolerance. Adaptec recommends using the same size disks, but if you use a disk with less disk space, you can combine the disks into a single unit without loss of any capacity.


Author Comment

ID: 10854048
yes sirbounty if I don't need the OS on the other HD I don't want it there. However I just want my two hard drives to act as one. It doesn't matter if they show up as a C drive & an H drive as long as my system files & programs can be on one and my video, music & photo files can be on another. So I don't have to have HD2(H drive) bootable if it's just for storage? My bootable drive can be HD1(C drive) right?
LVL 67

Expert Comment

ID: 10855572
Oh - then it sounds like you're already pretty much in that position.
If you just want them to "work together" - as long as they're both installed in the same computer - you're all set.

C (HD1) would be your boot drive, with the OS loaded on it.
You could also load programs on it, since it's so large.
All of your data files (music, video, photos) could be stored on HD2 (D or E - typically D is the CD-Rom, but you can change the drive lettering).
So, if you have no 'real' data on HD2 at this point - delete the partition from Disk Managment and recreate it.
You'll need to format it and then you can store your data there.

Author Comment

ID: 10856458
Thanks for the advice. Couldn't I just right click on the H drive (HD2) in My Computer & then click "Format." to reformat my data drive?
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Expert Comment

ID: 10856504
Yes you can. It is not the system drive.

Expert Comment

ID: 10858782
it depends if you will be using hd2 in the machine with hd1.
if so then just format and put what you like in.
if not then format and reinstall os. then copy the files you want to have on it.

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