2 HDD's with separate OS's



Okay, I’ve looked everywhere in the forums here and have done research on google, but I’m just not sure if I should consider other peoples answers to questions that are not 100% similar to my situation.

I have a Dell Inspiron 17R (7720). I used to have an HP Pavilion dv9700 cto (finally got fried). I want to take the HDD from my HP and put in my Dell so I can recover files that I did not have stored in my external HDD. I know a little bit when it comes to this, but I will say I don’t hold myself confident enough to just jump right in. I’ve heard about having one HDD as a slave, but I don’t have what I need to do that. I’m also not sure if the slave is necessary since the HDD I’m putting in already has an OS and isn’t being used while the original would be.

So on my dell I have a HDD and a SSDR mSATA card (I don’t know what the R stands for either, can’t find anything out about that as well), and yes I have a second HDD bay.

Any help would be great.


Get a
usb SATA adapter and copy what you want from the old drive


I just looked at some of those. seems fair enough, it will probably take a week to transfer about 200gb… Thanks for the effort though. I’ll just get back on google, I need to waste a couple hours anyways.


Harley’s describing “my easy way to do it” - using some USB-to-SATA/IDE converter ‘kit’ like this one. Here’s a NewEgg’s listing by Low-Price…

It’s offered only as a guideline, and none are necessarily recommended OR NOT recommended…

It’s all a crap-shoot, by the way - we’ve had a number of these and some work and work and work, and others work a few times then suffer some mysterious “no device detected” deaths, and some are DOA. It’s a crap-shoot. But $25-and-less should be the prices you see for these.

If you find one locally for $10-15, take it - it’s as likely to work as those $25 units. It’s so much easier to return for a replacement. And the same replacement is [I]as likely to work[/I] as something completely different. (We’ve bought 10 at a time, and one will invariably be DOA, a couple of others will last for a while and die, and others chug along for years and hundreds of CONNECTs. No idea why.)

As for speeds, actually, these aren’t too bad. I’ve had to do pretty large 2Tb “recoveries” and, yes, “hours” but it’s all ‘machine time’ - set it and go somewhere else.


An alternative - consider an External Enclosure. Here again is the NewEgg page of “external enclosures” that you can use as a reference point. Similar products should be found at most electronics sellers - BestBuys, even WalMarts, and certainly the Office stores. And prices should be similar to what you see at NewEgg.

I find External Enclosures to be more reliable than the USB-to-SATA Converter Kits, but I’d still purchase these pretty much by Price Alone - high dollar prices don’t necessarily guarantee great quality.

You’ll also see some “sleds” - plug-in, hot-swappable “caddies” like this Calvary unit or this Thermaltake which look interesting. Some of these are “solid genuine pure plastic” and that should give you a hint about longevity. Their measurement tolerances have to be larger and thus CONNECTs are less-tight and exacting - and may be poorer. Other high-dollar units will use heavier plastics or even metal, but after a few Plug-In’s and Extracts, metal bends, connections loosen, etc.

These look so inviting to me but, in practice, the best way is to leave the same drive installed. Just like a $14 External Enclosure.

(If you’re ever tempted to get into Hot-Swapping Bay Kits for a desktop computer, just remember that most of those are “pure genuine plastic” too - ie, at some point, CONNECTs won’t be made and I’ve been left cussing out a part that “worked for a hundred times but now doesn’t!!” Du-uh… yeah. Of course. Pure plastic.)

I often use these older drives as My New Backup Drive, and once I’ve recovered everything useful from it, I do a FULL FORMAT and wipe it out, getting all that lovely capacity back again.


Ya I plan on keeping the original HDD that came in new laptop. I just figured I’d connect the old HDD into the 2nd HDD bay of my new laptop. I don’t even know if I’m going to keep it in, depends on how hot my laptop starts to get. Thanks for the information, it has enlightened my view of these adapters.


So I think I’m gonna go for this one.

eForCity - 2.5 SATA External Hard Drive Enclosure

It’s cheap and I would use this HDD for media storage only. From information I’ve researched, external enclosures typically fail due to constant use of that HDD.

Once again thanks for the help.


Eric, I should have addressed some of your first-post’s issues that I skipped over. “Slave” and “Master” drives are for installing IDE Drives - old styles, not newer SATA Drives. You may still see “Slave” and “Master” designations used when computers boot up and display a list of multiple drives, but those are only because that computer is using “IDE Standards” for SATA Drives - that’s a BIOS-Display or Software-Only issue - not a hardware one that you need to pay attention to during installs.

SATA has one connector per device, so there’s no Master or Slave settings anymore.

When you’d written you were going to put the HP drive “in” the Dell, I didn’t realize you meant ACTUALLY IN. “Notebook? With multiple drive bays?” Oh yes, I see…

If that’s the case, there’s no need for any external shells or USB-to-SATA converter kits. You can slip it in, go into BIOS and make sure the BIOS ‘sees’ the 2nd drive, and “SAVE CHANGES=YES” and then let it restart. Windows should see that 2nd drive.

It will boot off of only your first drive - because that’s what it’s been told to do. Then, you can copy off the HP’s files onto the Dell’s, and I would still sooner-than-later reformat that HP completely.

Death Among External Devices… one of the issues that Windows tries to address with the “proper procedure to remove connected USB devices” is that the connector has a small amount of electricity flowing thru it. The “proper removal process” shuts this small data and electrical signals down completely.

Most devices are unaffected, either way, but eventually, a connector will object and “die”. The bad thing is - “What if the dead connector is in my PC? Not my external device, but my motherboard’s USB port?”

Yeah. No way to ‘fix’ it either.

I think this is one way USB and external devices “die” - the quality of parts they use will always be on the lower-side, so are more prone to any behaviors that aren’t ‘perfect’.


Awesome that is a lot easier than I expected. I figured I might have needed to since it has jumper pins. Thanks again :slight_smile:


Apparently the jumper pins on my HDD (samsung HM250JI), is only meant for some products that are not compatible with SATA 3.0Gb/s. It states, “in some cases SATA 1.5Gb/s hosts can not establish SATA interface connection with SATA 3.0Gb/s devices due to interface protocol issues.” So I’m assuming my HDD is SATA 3.0Gb/s and if my MB was SATA 1.5Gb/s I could have a chance of the HDD not getting recognized.


Yes, great news. I hadn’t looked at a SATA drive for jumper pins, and I suppose those were only on SATA II drives because they’re the 2nd Gen and might have run across problems with 1st Generation controllers before everyone figured out ‘throttling’.

In the early '90s, when I first started tinkering, I’d find the IDE drive Slave-Master jumpers that were only marked “1-2-3” or sometimes “1-2-3-4-5” and it was a complete mystery on how to set those - what combo, etc.

If you run across an old IDE DVD burner, for example, you’ll see a 3-sets of 2-pin jumpers, and they’ll be marked (probably!) something like “SL” “MA” and “CS” for Cable Select.

Then, on the IDE Cable, there are two At-The-End connectors plus one In The Middle (or an ‘inner’ connector). That Inner Connector was for the Slave Drive, and the other End connectors went to the motherboard and to the Master Drive

If you had the jumpers set wrong, “No drive detected” errors would be seen in the BIOS. Turn off the PC, re-set the jumpers (or the cable) and start it back up. Pretty easy - once I figured it out. My father’s computer was a willing test-subject. Father wasn’t so patient, though.