Hard drive help for a PC idiot

  Mr Finny 13:44 07 Mar 2005

I have recently suffered my second hard drive failure in 2 years (according to my supplier, I have apparently been very unluckly), so I am now looking to minimise the risk of this happening again. Whilst my last hard drive was being repaired (which took 8 weeks), I bought a new drive from a nationwide chain so that I could use my computer again. I now have one hard drive working and a repaired hard drive in a cardboard box.

What I would like to do is connect my repaired hard drive (there is physical space and cabelling available inside the box) and use it to automatically back up the other, so should one fail, the other can take over. However, I have no idea if this is possible, how to do it, or if there is a better way (I have seen external hard drives for sale).

Any advice would be gratefully received. Please feel free to be as patronising as possible. A friend of mine mentioned something about slave drives and confused me totally, therefore the more details the better.

  bruno 13:51 07 Mar 2005

If you have had two hard drive failures in two years you are unlucky.I had a 14 month old one break down and the man who sold me a new one said I should always keep receipts, as many hard drives carry a 3 year warranty. You can have two installed and use the other for back up, but I will leave the method to people more expert than I.

  MichelleC 13:52 07 Mar 2005

Firstly most major hd makers will replace a downed drive FOC to protect their reputation. Maxtor, for example, (I think) now guarantee theirs for 5 years instead of 3.

You usually get some warnings before a hd failure, enough time to backup or clone. If you hook up the other hd as slave it will be fine. The jumper settings are usually indicated on hd (small plastic sleeve). You just attach ribbon cable and power cable and you're away.

There are software systems to auto backup data from one hd to another but I have no knowledge of them.

If you install your os (xp or w2k) on both hd's it'll be easier to get off data between the 2.

  Happy Soul 14:01 07 Mar 2005

If you have a look at the back of your spare H/D you will see a small plastic removable clip, next to the letter M which is Master.

Look for the S which is Slave, next to the M.

Pull the plastic clip up and place it in the S (Slave) position.

Unplug yoor computer and take off the left hand side, as you look from the front.

Place the hard drive in the space under your existing hard drive and secure with the small screws, which you may still have. If you haven't any then get some from your local computer shop. DO NOT use any old screws or you could damage your drive.

Follow the ribbon cable from your existing H/D and you'll see another connnector several inches further down. Connect this to your H/D. Don't force it, it will only fit one way.

Now follow the power leads down where you will find a spare connector. Plug this in.

Replace and secure the side and plug everything in.

Start computer and then click on Start - My Computer.

You should now see two hard drives shown. It will probably show your existing hard drive as C: and the second as D: The C: drive will be shown on the left and the D: drive to the right of it.

To confirm it is safest to double click on the C: drive which should open a window showing your Program, Windows and other files.

Close this window and double click on the D: drive. As it has been repaired it could well have been formatted and therefore blank.

Before we go into the process of formatting the drive and transferring important 'bits', complete the above first and then come back to this thread.

The easiest way of finding it again is to click on where it says 'View your postings', which is to the right of Helproom forum.

(I'm a slow typist so don't be surprised if someone has beaten me to it).

  Wak 16:09 07 Mar 2005

When (or IF) you get the second hard drive installed as suggested by Happy Soul above, I suggest that you download and install either XXCOPY.EXE (for Windows 98SE) or XXCLONE.EXE ( for Windows ME, XP)
These are FREE programs which will copy (clone) your entire C:\ drive to your D:\ drive including all System Files, Registry, Programs and Data Files thus giving you a complete and reliable back-up system providing that the D:\ drive is as large as the C:\ drive (or larger) in order to accommodate the same content.

After downloading the program in Win 98SE you simply go to Start/ Programs/ MS-DOS Prompt and type:-


then press ENTER.
The C:\ drive will then be cloned on to the D:\ drive.

The above instruction may be slightly different for Win XP but I have used this back-up system with Win 98SE for three years now with no problems.

In case of problems with your C:\ drive, simply boot into your D:\ drive (which will then call itself the C:\ drive) and repeat the above instruction. This will replace all back-up data from the D:\ drive back on to the C:\ drive and you are back to square one.

Have a look at click here for further explanations and instructions.

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