Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.


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    Chapter 26. Hard disks in Windows

    You might easily have to install a new hard disk. This is a good thing ? new and bigger hard disks are an investment, which often give a powerfully better output in Windows XP. You must remember that a hard disk should never be completely filled up.

    If the disk is to put out well and be stable, there should preferably be 40 % unoccupied room on it. This is a good reason to consider upgrading your computer with a new hard disk. The installation itself is not particularly difficult. But anyway, I will give some tips, which might be of help in the following section.

    Preparation of a new hard disk

    Before a new hard disk can be put into use, it has to be partitioned and formatted. By partitioning you divide the hard disk into one or several drives, of which each are given a drive letter. These drives will then be formatted individually. If you are going to install Windows XP onto a new hard disk, you can let the installations program prepare the hard disk. The disadvantage is that the formatting takes a very long time; an hour or more, if the partition is big.

    It is faster to prepare the new hard disk if it instead is connected as an extra drive in a computer with Windows. You can either connect it directly to the motherboard with a cable (which needs a little knowledge and care), or you can install the disk in one of the early mentioned USB boxes. This is by far the easiest.

    As soon as you switch the power on to the hard disk box, Windows will register it:

    From then on you can use the tool Computer administration for preparation:

    1.    Select Control panel ? Administration ? Computer administration.

    2.    It is possible that a guide might ?pop up?, which can help you through partitioning and formatting.

    3.    Or you might have to do it yourself: Click on Disk management at the bottom in the left window:

    4.    Then you can see the disks in the right window, where every disk is a bar. Card readers and DVD/CD drives are also included in the list.

    5.    The latest hard disk in the computer is seen as the bar marked with the text ?not located? as here? like this:

    6.    Now you just have to right click on the bar and select New partition?:

    This starts the guide New partition, which you can click yourself through. The first you have to do is to choose whether the partition should be primary or extended. Select primary partition, if you want to install Windows on the hard disk.

    7.    Then you have to state how much of the disk is to be used for the partition. This can be the entire disk, so that only one new drive comes onto the disk. In my example, I have a disk of 160 GB. I choose to make do with allocating 140 GB to the drive I am about to create:

    8.    Then the partition has to be given a drive letter. This can be changed later, so you can confidently accept the letter, Windows suggests (here M):

    9.    Later on in the guide the disk section is formatted. The express formatting is typically finished after a few seconds, so this is a good choice:

    Figure 121. The new partition has to be formatted.

    Several partitions on the same disk

    Very often the best thing is just to create one partition filling the whole of the size of the disk. But as modern hard disks are extremely big, they can easily be divided into several partitions. The whole thing is controlled with the tool Computer administration. You can see below, that Disk 2 is divided into two partitions, which are formatted and each with its own drive letter.

    Figure 122. The disk is divided into two partitions.

    Using many disks

    It's always a good thing to have a lot of hard disks available. Even though you only have enough room for two hard disks in your computer's cabinet, you can easily have more installed in the small USB boxes. Here are a few ideas, you can consider if you have several hard disks available:

  • Always keep data separated from programs ? documents and other data are placed on (as earlier described) on a separate hard disk ? typically the D drive.

  • If the D drive is big, then you can also keep the whole folder Disks (with drivers and installation files) together with your mp3 collection, if you have that sort of thing, on this hard disk.

  • Make sure that you have at least one copy of the D drive on a separate hard disk.

  • Keep a copy of the D drive in a safe, a safe deposit box or with a member of your family as extra backup. It can be renewed, for example, every three months. Otherwise you can burn DVDs for the same purpose.

  • Another good precaution is to have a security hard disk ready with Windows XP installed. A system hard disk. If you ?only? have one computer, which you are dependent on for your job, this is clearly recommended.

    Disk cloning

    The company Maxtor is a big hard disk manufacturer. At the address www.maxtor.com you can download the free help program MaxBlast. If you have at least one Maxtor hard disk on your computer, the program will also work with disks from other manufacturers.

    Figure 123. Here? MaxBlast is cloning my C drive so I? have a workable copy.

    MaxBlast can format and partition hard disk in no time and on top of this is able to ?clone? partitions. This means that you can, for example, get MaxBlast to make a true copy of your C drive and by this produce a security copy. My experience is that it is easy to use and works very well. You shouldn't expect all of the programs to work immediately after the cloning, but most of them do.

    Many people use the program Norton Ghost for the same operations. It can be purchased at the address www.symantec.com for $69. Ghost can make a number of hard disk copies and clones across a number of different hard disks and networks.

    It saves a lot of time if you clone a hard disk partition; you avoid all the installation and preparation ? the program is simply copied from the one hard disk to the other. It can be recommended.


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