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Can I install another hard drive in my dell dimension 4550 and have another os on it?

Posted on 2006-06-11
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Last Modified: 2010-05-18
Hello,
Can I install another hard drive in my computer( dell dimension 4550) to have another os on it?

I have xp pro now- I have another bay in my tower-
if its possible - does it matter if both drives are on primary IDE or Secodary IDE - or should they be on separate ones?

And If I have to buy another IDE cable to reach- Does any IDE cable work? or Do I have to get exact kind thats in my pc now?

I would like to install windows xp the other drive too.
If this is possible can you give me basic steps.
(And Can an External hard drive be used in place of installing another internal Hard drive?)
Thanks
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Question by:davetough
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mistymisty earned 500 total points
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Hi Davetough,

Yes, you could install another hard drive in your system and have another OS on it, or you could partition your current drive and boot both OS's off of that drive if you have enough space.

You should have your main drive you boot to on your primary controller set as master and the second drive could be on any controller.  I don't even know if it is absolutely necessary to have the main drive set that way, but I have always done it that way and seen it done that way.

Any IDE cable should work in your Dimension 4550.

Are you wanting to install XP Pro on the other hard drive or XP Home?  Just out of curiosity why are you wanting to copies of XP in a dual boot?  

Some computers allow you to boot to USB drives, but it doesn't always work as smoothly as it should.  So, go into your BIOS and see if in your boot order you can choose USB as a boot device.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/learnmore/multiboot.mspx
http://www.freepctech.com/pc/xp/xp00111.shtml
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/64bit/bowman_05nov07.mspx

Here are a few articles on dual boot setup.  Personally I run a dual boot between Win2000 and Vista off of the same hard drive and first I had to install 2000 and then Vista.  You always start with the earliest OS first, but in the case of two Windows XP's I'm not sure.  I would advise you to backup before you start trying to do the dual boot though.

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by:davetough
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thank you
I want two xp - one for college work
when you install an operating system on same hard drive - how do you access both os's or should I say when computer boots up - do you get the choice to pick either one - or do you boot into one os and then go into the other one.

I am sure that sounded dumb- hope I got my question out right.
thanks
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by:mistymisty
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No Problem,

I see, well if you want a separate Windows XP installation my preference would be to use a product like Virtual PC--there is no partitioning or installing a second drive for this and it works pretty good:  http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtualpc/default.mspx
In this type of install you would just boot to one OS and then open virtual PC and open your other OS from within, although the thing to be careful of is you need to have a lot of RAM and processor speed for it to work well.....

Now for your question.  If installed correctly when you dual boot your computer after you turn it on you will get a black screen that will say something like say something like Windows XP #1 or Windows XP #2 and you would use your up or down arrow to choose which one to boot to.  If you wanted the other OS you would have to reboot the computer and choose the other OS.

One more question.......why do you want your college work on a completely separate OS?

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by:davetough
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mainly away from my kids, install visual studio on and version of oracle on for oracle sql--

thanks for the help
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by:mistymisty
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No problem, I understand.
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