Adding a third HD to Dell Dimension 4550

My 40 gig HD is constantly filling up with digital photo files, so I need to add another HD to my Dell Dimension 4550. I already have a 160Gig external drive hooked up via firewire to back up my image and data files. If I add another internal 200 Gig to this computer, am I going to have problems having it recognized. All three HD’s are Maxtors. The external one is configured as “cable select”. If I install the new 200 Gig and configure it as cable select too, will Maxblast and Windows XP figure it all out, or do I have to know what I’m doing?

Do I need any special IDE/ATA cable to install this new HD?

Is there any way of copying everything, including the OS, off my 40 Gig HD onto my 200 Gig and then replacing the 40 Gig with another 200 Gig later when I fill the other one up? Please don’t assume that I know what I am doing and, in replying, keep it simple for “stupid”. TIA.

A lot of issues here. First you need to tell us your current operating system. Only Win XP with service pack 1 installed can address a hard drive over 127 gb. One of the ways around it is to partition the 200 gb drive into 2 equal 100 gb partitions. What are the specs of the hard drives: rotational speed and cache? All being Maxtors plays no role in compatibility.

If you want to put the data from the 40 gb onto the new 200 gb drive, that is a process known as “ghosting” a drive. I have no firsthand experience with it; you would need a program such as Norton Ghost to do such a thing.

What is the configuation of the computer? How many drives do you have installed? Do you room for another drive in the case?

Personally, I would get all the data off the drive onto the external hard drive. Then I would swap out the 40 gb drive for the 200 gb drive. Partition the 200 gb drive into at least 2 partitions. I would then reload the operating system from the original discs and all software for a “clean install.” The data could then be shifted back onto the internal hard drive form the firewire drive. This may be more work, but would be the cleanest install. The old 40 gb drive could be installed in another computer, given away, or put in the same computer as additional backup if space permits and the need was there.

Have fun!

Digital Doc,

Thanks for your response. As I mentioned in my post I am running XP and I have SP 1 installed. I also have Norton Ghost, so I’ll check out that. Actually, all drives being Maxtors is supposed to ensure easy compatabilty, according to various sources I’ve consulted. The two larger drives are both 7200’s, 8 Mb Buffer, Ultra ATA133. I know there is room in the case for another HD, I was trying to avoid having to open the case to look for a cable. I see from another post on this forum that Dell usually uses higher quailty 80 wire ribbons, but I was wondering if one was already in place or if I had to buy another when I order the HD.

Most retail hard drives include the IDE cable. The maxtor I installed last year came with one. If you want to do anything, you will have to open the case.

“You’ve got to break some eggs to make an omelette”

If you bought a retail HDD it should come with a CD with everything you need on it. If you bought a OEM You’ll need to go to the maxtor web site and download big drive enabler.exe then download Maxblast3.exe then the bootable CD ISO image file. Heres where you get it
Run big drive enabler.exe
Then make a floppy with Maxblast3.exe
Then reboot with the floppy in and the CD in

It will give you the option to transfer all the info on to your new HDD or use it as storage.

Well I’ve always had at least one FAT32 partition on one of my drives. Good for a couple of reasons, one if XP crashes and you need to use dos (or for mtkflash too:) ) dos doesn’t recognize ntfs. And its good if you are sharing files between a dual boot system. For eg. linux and xp on the same computer. Just something to keep in mind.

Have a look here :wink:

@Dee-ehn: :bow: :bow:

But it is still a good idea for sharing files with linux, since ntfs isn’t a good idea to try and write to with linux, at least the last time I checked.