Installing new hard drive; partitioning and drive letter issues

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im_spartacus

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I have just bought and installed (to the point of completing initialization under Disk Management) a new 1 TB hard drive. Originally, I was planning to use it solely for data storage.

However, I am thinking of installing Windows XP Pro and all the programs I currently use on it, thereby making it the new OS and programs drive, while using the original 120 GB HD as a data/backup drive.

I think the main appeal of doing this, for me, is that it also presents an opportunity to reinstall Windows on a machine which hasn't had this done for more than three years, and which currently seems to take at least five minutes to boot to a "usable" state, despite having a reasonably high spec for its age (it was bought in 2001, but as a result of the upgrade I did in 2006 which led to the last Windows install, it has a 2.4 GHz AMD chip, an Asus A8N-E motherboard, 3 GB of DDR2 RAM, 7600-series PCI-E graphics card).

This has put me in a quandary with regard to whether I should use the new HD as the OS drive, and if I do whether I should partition it and, if I do that, which drive letter(s) I should assign to it.

I don't appear to be able to choose 'C' as the new drive letter under the New Volume Wizard (I can't even choose 'F' since I have an 250 GB external USB backup drive currently assigned as the F: drive). If I choose 'G' (the earliest letter of the alphabet currently available), must it remain hereafter the G: drive, even if I do "decommission" the current C: drive, or can it be renamed later, after I have installed Windows and started using it as the OS hard drive? Furthermore, should I partition the drive? All that people seem to agree on (from my research so far) is that there is not so much to be gained from doing this now that NTFS is the "better" file format to use for Windows XP.

If it helps, the PC is multi-purpose, in that I use it for all my home computing needs. The main uses are gaming (mainly FPS, offline), recording music (using SONAR by Cakewalk), as well as net surfing, email, a few office functions, and the usual data/photo/music storage.

Sorry to go on at such length, but all too often I've found that questions lead to other questions, so I try to get as much information out there as possible from the start. I'd greatly appreciate any and all input as to how best to use the new HD in conjunction with the old.

I'd also like to express my sympathy and condolences to all grieving for the loss of their friend, WhitPhil.
 
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Were it for my own use, I'd split it into at least four partitions and take out the existing system disk, whereupon the install CD will nominate the Primary carrying the OS as C:\. You can either letter the others accordingly later or let Windows do it as part of the installation. It's best not to have the USB drive in at that stage anyway so you could give that a unique letter from the other end of the alphabet when you next use it.

When your new installation is in, you can pump the relevant files from the old disk into the new system but I'm sure you know the programmes would have to be reinstalled. Some of eth Applicaiton Data can be put in after that stage, including e-mail data files.
 
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not to mention that you can also reassign the drive letters at anytime by using the disk manager
 

im_spartacus

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Oct 12, 2009
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Saga Lout (great name! I well remember the holiday coaches bringing hordes of senior citizens to Newquay, where I grew up) and Warlord, thanks for your replies.

Saga Lout - I am intrigued by your suggestion that I create four partitions. May I ask why (as in, how should I utilise them?), and should they all be the same size? I have seen many threads asserting that Windows XP Pro can be run in a partition as small as 1 to 2 GB, but don't know whether my other programs should be installed to the same partition.

Warlord - I did not know that the drive letters were re-assignable. That is a great help.

Thanks again, both.
 

redoak

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If it were me, I would start with two partitions. "C" for System and Programs; the second for data files.

"XP" needs "breathing room." I would figure 8-12 GB for it alone. Then add more space to "C" to accommodate anticipated programs.

You can leave unassigned disc space for future partitions or to increase the initial two.

{redoak}
 
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Visit my home page for various options including partitioning, backup, separating the OS into its own small partition, etc.

There are no ads or banners.
 
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Saga Lout (great name! I well remember the holiday coaches bringing hordes of senior citizens to Newquay, where I grew up) and Warlord, thanks for your replies.

Saga Lout - I am intrigued by your suggestion that I create four partitions. May I ask why (as in, how should I utilise them?), and should they all be the same size? I have seen many threads asserting that Windows XP Pro can be run in a partition as small as 1 to 2 GB, but don't know whether my other programs should be installed to the same partition.
.

I would have one for the OS and Programme Files, one for data storage, one on to which to back up data and one for a clone of the OS and PF setup, made by Acronis True Image. I suppose I'm old fashioned and I can't reconcile the need for all this huge storage space in one big chunk so I prefer to break it into smaller bits - a case of eggs and baskets, I suppose.

By the way, I've never invaded Newquay :D but I'm only 63 so I suppose there's still time.
 

redoak

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From "S L": "one on to which to back up data and one for a clone of the OS and PF setup, made by Acronis True Image."

It makes no sense to have backups on the main HDD. When it goes down, and it will, so go the backups.

A dedicated external HDD for backups is often recommended here at TSG, and I have followed that advice.

{redoak}
 
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From "S L": "one on to which to back up data and one for a clone of the OS and PF setup, made by Acronis True Image."

It makes no sense to have backups on the main HDD. When it goes down, and it will, so go the backups.

A dedicated external HDD for backups is often recommended here at TSG, and I have followed that advice.

{redoak}

Redoak, I couldn't agree more that the safest form of backup is to an external drive stored in a fireproof cabinet - but I still retain an occasional backup in a separate Partition as well as my external backup. I just get a tad miffed when a box comes in to me for repair and Dell or HP has installed a 500Gb disk with the OS and Programme Files on it and 25 square miles of unoccupied space at the end. Set against that stupidity, any form of partitioning has to make sense. :D
 
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By putting your programs and OS on one partition and any and all data on other partitions you receive the benefit of being able to reinstall Windows and programs on a clean partition if you need to, without having to reinstall your data from backups. It makes it quicker and easier to accomplish a complete "Redo" of your system. It also may save some of your most recent data that has not been inserted into your genuine backups when you have an irreparable windows crash.
 
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If you choose to install OS on one partition and programs on another, you will screw up the software when reinstalling the OS due to the registry entities missing. I have 2 external TB HDs and 2 internal 500GB HDs. I installed OS on one HD with programs and data backup on the other HD (Network HDs are much better than any ol HD). If you need any further assistance with this, let me know. I would be more than happy to help you out.
 
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