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Advice on purchasing/installing new hard drive

Hi guys,

I need some advice regarding installing a new hard drive in a desktop pc.

It's actually a friend's PC which he's bringing over this evening, so I don't know any of the spec yet. Basically, he only has a 15Gb hard drive at present, and wants to upgrade it as much as possible (within his budget obviously). Is there anything I should watch out for when selecting the new hard drive?

I should be able to post details of the machine later on if necessary.

Any help/tips/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers
SWD
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SurreyWebDesigner
Asked:
SurreyWebDesigner
4 Solutions
 
weblinktechnologiesCommented:

If he is upgrading to a new HDD, you/he can use DriveCopy (I think it may be called DriveImage now) made by PowerQuest.  It will take everything off his old drive and put it on his new perfectly.  This would definitely simply restoring the o/s.

Then if you want additional storage, make the old HDD a slave.  You can use it for backing up your data to another device.

In regards to HDDs, everyone has there preference.  But, I have had great success with Western Digital HDD.  Try sticking to this brand.


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SurreyWebDesignerAuthor Commented:
So is there anything else I should look out for? Are there different types of connections? - it's been a while since i had to purchase a new hdd.

Cheers
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bacarCommented:
If his board supports S-ATA (doubt it though, seeing as he probably got the 15Gb with the PC), then go for that, otherwise normal IDE.
IDE hasn't changed in any physical form, besides being a little faster.

I've had bad experiences with Maxtor drives. My preferred drives are Western Digital (agreeing with weblinktechnologies)and Seagate.
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smiffy13Commented:
Depending on the motherboard - it may not support an 80Gb (or bigger) HDD. You should try and find out what make & model is first before buying the HDD. Sometimes you can get a bios update, but again it depends on the make & model.

I agree with the above comments - it's likely to be an IDE connection, S-ATA is relatively new. Western Digital & Seagate are my preference too. Seagates now have a 5 year warranty, so I tend to go for those before WD.

If you've got the OS disk, then I would do a clean install rather than try a drivecopy, then set up the old drive as a slave.
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SurreyWebDesignerAuthor Commented:
cool - i'd planned on doing a fresh install (he tells me it's desperately in need of it!) ...

Once I find out the make and model of the motherboard, how do I find out what it can handle?
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smiffy13Commented:
The manufacturer site may have this information. Sometimes the bios updates say that they will increase the acceptable HDD capacity. Sorry if it's a bit vague, unfortunately manufacturers don't always advertise their products limitations.
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davidis99Commented:
Among the considerations when purchasing an additional hard drive is the operating system being used on the PC.  If the system is running Windows 98 or ME, the only file system option is FAT32, which does support large hard drives, but very inefficiently, and in the case of hard drives over 60GB, requires a special version of FDISK downloaded from Microsoft in order to correctly create partitions on the drive.  If the PC is running Windows 2000 and has a standard motherboard from that vintage, anything up to 120GB should work fine, especially if formatted NTFS.
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SurreyWebDesignerAuthor Commented:
Its running XP - I take it that will be ok?
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orubassman777Commented:
I recommend getting a Samsung or Western Digital hard drive. I currently have both a Samsung and a Wester Digital hard drive, and I haven't had any problems. I did have one problem with my Samsung, but it was due to overheating. Make SURE to get a hard disk drive cooler (they attach to the bottom of the hard drive with screws) when you buy a new one. Hard drives do NOT like heat!! Check prices on www.pricewatch.com. Prices on new IDE drives (on Pricewatch) range from $42 for 80GB to $82 for 200GB currently.

Since you're running Windows XP, you can partition the hard drive into what are called "logical drives". On my 2 x 80GB drives, I have 4-5 partitions on each. I set the partition on my Windows installation to have 12GB, which is plenty for me. I do not recommend having your hard drive ONLY be 1 "C:" drive. I have logical drives setup for different things like games and software downloads and pictures. I recommend that you setup each logical drive (which will be set with a letter like C:, D:, E:, etc.) to be no more than 15 GB in size. It will help, especially when it comes to using Microsoft's Defragmenter. Obviously, defragmenting 10 or 15 GB at a time is much faster than defragmenting a whole 200GB hard drive. And you can continue to do your work if you're having to defragment another logical drive while using Windows.

When you format the new drive, use NTFS. Make the allocation size 512 bytes if you can, which will use space much more efficiently than the default of 4K (4096 bytes). Remember to set each  logical drive to no more than 15 GB (and at the most, 20 GB). That can be done from within Windows XP once you fresh install it on the new drive.

Hope this helps!!
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nobusCommented:
first, it would help if you post your system specs to get advice for your system, instead of general advice
second, if you will run XP, be aware that you will need 256 MB to let it run, and most people here recommend 512 MB to have it run smooth.
third, since your drive was 15 GB, the chances are that the mobo (or BIOS) will not recognise a drive bigger than 32 GB; then you must look for a BIOS upgrade that will accept bigger discs. You can find this, if existing, on the manufacturers site.

here some info on drive barriers :
 http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_drives/hard_drive_size_barriers.htm
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Robberbaron (robr)Commented:
Also, consider using Western Digital DataLifeguard11 or Maxtor MaxBlast3 to clone the existing drive.  Assuming you want to upgrade C drive, not just add D.  I would do the latter if possible and just re-install some games to D or move your music to it.  They are generally the ones taking up the space. Then if you upgrade PC's later, you move the D drive to the new one.

The drive limitation will be based on your mainboard, so check latest BIOS for it.

Note that some diskdrives have jumpers to allow them to be used on older systems.  You just waste the bit above 32Gb i think.
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SurreyWebDesignerAuthor Commented:
Cheers for all your help guys - he's actually decided to buy a new PC after all that!!!!

Oh well - handy stuff to know anyway!

Cheers
SWD
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