Adding a second hard drive - idiots guide

  FreddyNoFriends 00:15 27 Jan 2006

I have a three month old Mesh AMD 4200+, Maxtor 6L300SO NTFS 300Gb Hard disk, 2 Gb RAM, running WinXP and have been getting an intermitent fault with the hard disk.

I've contacted Mesh support re this and although they say it's probably a hard disk fault they want me to format the hard disk and re-install XP to check it out. Before I do and lose everything, rather than back up with half a ton of DVDs, I was thinking of installing a cheap and cheerful second hard drive as a back-up and to copy the 100Gb or so of files I have onto.

Does anyone know of a really basic idiots guide that will tell me how to do this, (both the mechanical bits and the software installation) including how I should set up XP on the second disk so I can boot from it if/when the other one fails?
And can you also advise me what I should look out for when buying a second drive to ensure compatability, etc, bearing in mind my grandmother probably knows more about computers than I do.

Many thanks.

  Press Man 00:43 27 Jan 2006

Try click here should help.
If its only 3 months old its still under warranty. If you have on site warranty get Mesh to make visit to sort it out?

  onthebog 00:47 27 Jan 2006

First things first - a three month old PC should have a healthy and intact warranty which should most certainly not require you, the customer, to have to re-install Windows. IMO, I think they are dodging their responsibiities to you. I would contact them again and point this out. (Check the specifics of your warranty)

If you do go it alone, here are some suggestions.
Check this for how to install a second hard drive click here

It looks a lot, but if you follow the steps logically it's not that bad. The alternative (although more expensive) is to use an external USB2 hard drive - this can happily store a mirror image of your current Windows configuration. See next:

There are many apps to create mirror images of your drive - here is one click here

What you are trying to do (while not too hard) still must be done with care. Without being disrespecful - if you have not had any experience inside a PC, I would ask a friend who has to help.
The potential for disasters are numerous and varied. However, I would be very wary of doing anything bearing in mind the terms of most PC warranties. If you do decide to open the PC and install a second hard drive (as opposed to an external device) you may very well invalidate any warranty you have, simply by taking the back off.
You seem to have an impressively specced machine - Mesh should be providing more alternatives than it seems.

  malwarehater 00:50 27 Jan 2006

Hi Freddy.

Why've you got no friends buddy?? lol

Back to the original topic......Most HDD manufacturers nowadays supply(with the HDD) a utility that will do what you're asking.

It's quite a simple process really...You install the new drive with the jumpers set to "slave", start windows..then run the the utility that came with the new HDD...You tell it you want to use the new HDD as the new "boot" drive, the utility then makes a ghost copy of the original drive, when thats completed you shut down the machine, swap the HDD'S over, set the new drive to "master", the old drive to "slave" and reboot,"windows" then boots from the new drive, job done.

That's all there is to it my friend.

  FreddyNoFriends 01:08 27 Jan 2006

I have to say I am disapointed with the Mesh advice to format the hard disk, as the loss of everything on my computer is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. However, I've not had responses from Mesh to additional emails pointing this out, so I guess the techies there dont feel they can help unless I follow their instructions - which I supose is a fair point. And as I say it is an intermittent fault which must be hard to diagnose.

I'll have a read of all those advice pages - ta!

I have to say I do like the idea of an external hard drive; I would guess it would be portable too. But I have a couple of questions; would I be able to boot from it in the event of a hard disk failure? And if used as a backup, would a USB connection be able to cope with streaming high quality video (which is whats taking up most of the space on my HD)?
Lastly, do most internal and external HD come with instructions on how to fit and set up the drives?

Many thanks for the advice!

  FreddyNoFriends 01:21 27 Jan 2006

Thanks Malwarehater - you just answered one of my suplementary questions as I was typing it, and you made it sound really easy too!

And I do have friends - they are called Jack and Jameson and hedges and Benson... lol!

Thanks for your help.

  malwarehater 01:49 27 Jan 2006

You're welcome Freddy..say hi to Jack and the gang for me ok? lol

Now to answer your question's mate :-)

1. As far as i know it's not possible to boot from an external HHD in the event of a hard disk failure.

2. IF used as a back up it would have no problem streaming high quality video...It works at roughly the same speed as your "primary" HDD.

3. Most internal and external HDD's these days come with instructions on how to fit and set up the drives, the utility for copying "Windows" is usually supplied on either a floppy disc, cd, or both.......and just in case it isnt supplied, the utility and appropriate instructions on how to fit and set up the drive can usually be downloaded from the manufacturers website anyway.

I hope that helps mate....good luck.

  malwarehater 02:14 27 Jan 2006


I noticed that your HDD is a maxtor so were you to buy a replacment Maxtor drive.....the utility you'd need to ghost a copy of "windows" onto the new drive is called Max Blast's very easy, the prog just walks you through it.

I currently have two 250gb Seagates on my pc, one being the master, the other being the slave.......And a 120gb Maxtor which i fitted into a HD Caddy plugged into the USB2 port.

Seagate, and Maxtor are my fave brands of HDD's....BTW....if you happen to buy a Seagate HDD the appropriate utility is called "Seagate Disc Wizard" and that can also be downloaded(along with the appropriate instructions on how to fit it etc)from Seagates too is a simple utility that walks you through the process.

  FreddyNoFriends 09:33 27 Jan 2006

Excellent advice - thanks Malwarehater. I'll be buying myself a second HDD at some point today ands will take a copy of your post along with me for reference.
Thanks to all who have helped.

  MESH Support 09:27 31 Jan 2006

Hi there,

To clear up a few points omitted from the above.....

We do not cover software under our warranty and so if we were to arrange for an engineer to replace the hard drive and it was found not to be faulty, it would be you, the end-user who would be paying for the engineer's time.

Additionally, if the hard drive is at fault as you believe, then you are no better off, as we will not offer to back up your data for you.

By following our advice, you will lose nothing but a little time. If the re-installation works fine with no further problems, then you have also saved yourself the potential labour charge.


  Strawballs 10:41 31 Jan 2006

A little time but if he reinstalls he will loose 100gig of files that was the whole point of his post and as you said you won't backup data and you use the scar tactics of if it is not the hardware then you will have to pay for the engineers time.

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