Help with more than one HDD in my PC

Hi, Have just built my first new PC..... What I need help with is the following... I have a 160Gb HDD in my new PC...which is set as master. What I want to do is take two HDD from my old PC(the HDD's have data that I do not want to erase)and place it into my new PC.  What do I do in terms of cabling.....What do I have to do when installing the operating system....Hope someone can help cheers.
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Panther713Connect With a Mentor Commented:
There's nothing wrong with having one big partition and just using folders to separate your data. Since you've already installed the OS, leave it. I don't sub-partition any drives any more... just found it to be unnecessary.

Now, just power-down, put the two 40G old drives on the secondary IDE port as master & slave and power-on. The system should still have the 160G as the boot-drive (if it doesn't just jump into the BIOS and make sure the 160G is set to the primary boot drive) and you _should_ get the other two drives showing up. You may wish to make folders for the data for each of the 40G drives and copy the data you want to save to the 160G drive folders. Then you're data is safe and you can do whatever you want with the two 40G drives (fast RAID1 set-up for data maybe...)

The possibilites are many and it all depends on what you want to do. There are lots of ways to move things around. In fact, if you really wanted to have the small OS partition that some have suggested, you could take the steps just mentioned, move the data from the 40G drives to the 160G, then make one of the 40G drives the OS/boot-drive and the 160G drive the data drive. Again, there are all kinds of things you can do with these three drives and it mainly comes down to "what do you WANT to do?" or "what do you NEED to do?" and what are you using the system for... audio mixing, video processing, general home PC, gaming, etc...

Looks like you have lots of good folks willing to help, but it comes down to what your needs and desires are in the end. Otherwise, we'll all just tell you how _we'd_ do it which is influenced by each of our thoughts on how a system is going to be used.

Good Luck.
man u need two Data Cables
one should be attached to Primery IDE Slot
and the Other Should be Attatched to Secondery IDE Slot

then Connect your 160GB Harddisk to Primer IDE Cable and set it to Master
then Connect your Other Two Harddisks to the Secondery Cable
but set one of them as MAster and the Other as Slave.

if u have CD ROM you can also put ur CD ROM on Primery IDE Cable but set ypur CD ROM AS slave.

Good Luck 4 u r new PC

Here this could be quite simple.

My suggestion is to put your 2 others HDD on the second IDE cable and set correctly the jumpers.

When installing the OS, I will advise you to have connected only the main HDD and only when you have finished the installation of the OS, shutdown the computer and install your HDD.
So, a kind of configuration :
Primary IDE : master - HDD 160Go and salve - one of the other HDD
Secondary IDE : master - CD/DVD drive and slave - the second HDD.

Now, the IDE will limit you to 4 drives, HDD and CD/DVD-r/rw, but you can buy some PCI card to add more IDD devices...

But in your case, be careful about the power you will need.

Hope that can help.
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I would suggest you keep your system hard disk configured as master on the Primary IDE, and connect the faster of your data hard drives to it as slave.  Connect the second data hard drive as master on the Secondary IDE and any optical drive as slave - mixing opticals and hard drives can slow down access and transfer rates when they're on the same cable.
dthomas31ukAuthor Commented:
When I install the operating wont erase the data from my existing HDD's will it?????Or do I need to configure anything to stop it from doing this?????
well its better to saperate the other two harddisks when installing the OS it will not harm your data when u rfinsihed with installing the OS
then Again put ur Harddisks at Secondery IDE one as Master and the other as Slave
 got it
The operating systems wont erase the data at all, because it comes asknig where you want to install it. And if you tell it to install on the new 160GB drive, it doesn't do a thing to the others, even when you point to the wrong one it just installs it, only when you choose to remove an existing partition it erases things. So don't worry about that
No, install the OS without the two hard disks, and when you're done, install the two drives.  

If you want the programs as well as the data to work, you are going to have to Ghost the original OS to the new hard drive, then do a repair install to make sure your system drivers work with your new motherboard.  Did you intend to do this?
If you feel uneasy about installing the OS and accidentally erasing the other drives, you can disconnect the 2 drives from the computer, install the OS, then reconnect the drives after your OS is installed.
As Callandor says, Ghost is a good way to make sure you loose nothing. Symantec Ghost (otherwise known as Norton Ghost) can copy your data straight to the new hard disc.

To do this, I would only put one of the old hard discs in the PC on the secondary controller and the new one as primary. Then run Ghost and use the disk to disk copy option. Note though that you may need something like partition magic to alter partitions after the sizes.

A trial copy of Ghost may be available at Or you can try using Drive Image (can't remember the company) or have a look for alternatives by searching the net.

This is a far easier way of doing things if you are uncertain. Once you have done the copy, plug all the drives in (as suggested by Arl) and verify you have all the data. Then format the old drives and do as you wish with them
Danny ChildIT ManagerCommented:
If you're building a brand new pc, then Ghosting over any files from the old one may give you loads of problems.  The new hardware will work best with a brand new operating system.  In my experience, old machines have accumulated loads of "fluff" that you're really going to be best off without - old applications, download managers, freeware and so on that it's best to start with a blank sheet, and just put on what you NEED.  

Even if you install a fresh OS, any attempt to get **programs** alone from the old disks onto the new one will almost certainly fail.  Reinstall them from original media instead.  It's tedious to do, but worth it for the sake of your new hardware.

However, if you're talking about **data** ie Office documents, game saves, videos, mp3's and so on, not a problem, but again, no need for Ghost - just copy them over using Explorer once all the disks are installed.  

My normal build process:
1 - build pc with one hard disk, one cdrom, vid card and not much else.  Split large hard disk into 10gb partition for the Operating System, and have one other partition for Data
2 - install antivirus, spyware detection, and firewalls
3 - install modem, connect to internet, and patch as much as possible - windows updates, AV sigs etc.
4 - install additional hardware, like soundcards, dvd drives, additional hard disks, etc
5 - install programs (Office, Games, etc) from original media.
6 - copy **data** from old hard disks to new one (new disk will almost certainly be faster).

Don't format the old disks just yet, even if you do get *all* the data off them.  Either return them to the old pc, or leave them for a couple of months - you never know when the new pc may have a problem, and having a spare pc around can be very handy!
I agree with DanCh99!  New hardware - fresh OS.  The advantages are enormous and save a lot of time.  I would suggest the following recipe:

1. Connect only the new drive first, leaving the old drives for later.
2. Use Partition Magic to set up 3 partitions on this drive 20 - 70 - 70 (C,D,E).  Make sure you leave about 7.8 MB as a buffer and that at least one (E) is formatted FAT32.
3. Install the OS, patches, security updates etc. on the first partition (C).
4. Boot the new OS and install all programs, antivirus, etc that you want.
5. Using GHOST make an image of the FINISHED product on the FAT32 partition.  You may want to image frequently to avoid problems between installing programs.
6. Once finished, do a complete shutdown (including disconnecting the power cable) and attach your 2 HDDs as described by TariqRahim above.  Boot and make sure the new drives are seen and accessable.
7. Select one of the old drives and copy the contents to one of the new drive letters (D).  Make sure you can access the data properly on the new location.  Once done, format this drive with FAT32.
8. Reimage using Ghost to this new drive to make sure the image is on a separate (physical) medium.
I don't agree with this. If its the same hardware apart from disc drives there are not enormous advantages to a fresh build. The Ghost copy and using partition magic will be much better. However its not a bad idea to build from scratch (just a lot more time consuming) and those partitions suggested are not  necessarily a good idea.

20Gb for C: is too small (I suggest at least 30Gb) and for the others, do you really need 2 70Gb partitions if you are using Windows XP? I only split my 80Gb one into 3 because of 3 operating systems. Now I have just 2 with one for the OS (Windows XP) and one for data. The only reason I do this is so that I can rebuild the OS drive without affecting data.

I don't understand why you would want the 7.8Mb as a buffer. I've never done that.

It should not be necessary to keep a FAT32 partitiion except for the storage of data. At least then you can get your data from there if XP crashes.
dthomas31ukAuthor Commented:
My new HDD is 160Gb and my two existing HDD are 40 Gb each.  I installed my operating system yesterday onto my 160Gb HDD and disconnected the other two hard drives.  However I have not done any separate partitioning will this be a problem. Or should I start again and partiton the 3 HDD's what do you think
It all depend on if you can live with one big 160 GB partition. I really don't see a problem with this. If you repartition the 2 40GB drives you will lose the data on them. I would not suggest messing with them.
Hi again.  If you've already installed the OS and are satisfied with one huge partition, then leave it.  I only recommended splitting it to give you more options on separating your data:  music, videos, docs etc.  The 32Bit partition recommended was intended to give you imaging access in a DOS environment (NTFS partitions can't be written to by some imaging software).  It's not mandatory!  If everything is up and running - then leave it alone!  Never fix a running system.  I only break up really large partitions (using Partition Magic) to make life easier if I ever need to image, scandisk/chkdsk, run diagnostics, etc.

Partitions are like opinions - just select the ones you feel comfortable with!

Have fun!
Danny ChildIT ManagerCommented:
winstonep - I took the comment at the start about "Have just built my first new PC" to mean new hardware throughout (except for his old HDDs) - that's why I suggested the new OS from scratch.  If it was old kit, Ghosting would have some value - depending on the kludge that the old OS would have accumulated.  

dthomasuk - so, where are you at right now?  Loads of good stuff above, giving pro's and con's of different options....
dthomas31ukAuthor Commented:
Yeah.... I know have had loads of good feedback for this particular question......Have currently installed my OS on my 160Gb HDD with a single partition and am gonna connect my two HDD at the weekend when I have got a bit more time on my hands.  Will let you know how everything goes over the weekend if that is ok with everyone.....but have got to say thanks to everyone who has given me feedback for this particular question.  Will award points over the weekend.  Once again....Thanks everyone
There is actually a point (now I think of it) to creating a small DOS bootable partition with utilities like Ghost in there. If you use NTFS partitions though, wise to also get NTFSDOS (or similar). Its handy for putting data recovery tools on and a partition of around 10Mb is nothing for such a big hard disc.
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