Hard Drive Problems/2nd hard drive


My friend's motherboard went and I recovered some files for her by just installing the hard drive in my desktop.  She told me to keep it, so I now have a 2nd hard drive and I'm not sure what to do with it.  I deleted all the partitions and reformatted it.  Everything has gone smoothly and I have no issues, but I'm not sure how to put this drive to good use.  I was thinking of moving frequently used programs and other files to it.  If so, is it really as simple as uninstalling and reinstalling to the new drive or copying and pasting files?  Or would it be better to move other items to that drive?  That's really the only thing I can think of; any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated.

Here's my current set up:  Dell XPS 9100 with Windows 7 64-bit, Intel i7 3.2 GHz processor, 12 GB RAM, original HD has 1.8 TB, "new" HD has 600 GB.  The computer's only a year old and I have no complaints with it.  Of course, faster is always better.  Thanks.

Hi Adam!

You have several options:

1. Backup.  If you don't already have a drive for backups, I would suggest using it for that purpose first.  Of course, 750GB is not enough to backup all of your 2TB drive, depending on how full it is, but it can house some of your more important files.  Ideally, you would invest in a drive AT LEAST 2TB in order to store decent backups of your files and/or operating system, which would leave you with your 750GB drive to do something else with.

2. Data Drive.  You could simply use the disk as a secondary storage device.  This isn't much fun, but can be practical, depending on what your storage is set up like and what kind of files you store.  If you run virtual machines, a second disk will significantly improve performance over running both your host and guest from the same physical disk.

3. Page File.  You likely have a pretty healthy size (somewhere between 8-18GB) of page file on  your 2TB disk.  While Windows is reading and writing files on your disk, it is also caching data on the hard drive (in another location called the page file) for future use.  The more RAM/memory you have, the more it caches to the hard drive.  You can minimize the number of reads/writes that cause you to wait when you ask to do something, by moving your page file to another disk.  Then, reads/writes for your OS/programs happen from one disk, while cached data is read/written from/to a different disk.

4. RAID.  You can "stripe" data across two disks to improve access speeds (up to twice as fast in certain cases), but that would include repartitioning your 2TB disk into a 750GB partition (to match your smaller disk) and a 1250GB partition.  The first 750GB would be striped and would give you up to twice the usual transfer speed when working with sequentially-stored and large files - it would also give you a 1500GB partition/logical drive.  The downside to striping data is that if one disk dies, then all the data from both disks is unusable/unreadable.

If you decide you want to move programs to that second drive, then you should know that simply copying the folders will not work.  You will need to uninstall the program, then reinstall it - when reinstalling it, when it asks where you want to install it to, just change the C: to D: (or whatever letter you assigned to that drive).

Feel free to follow up with any other questions you might have.

Good luck!

Hard Drive Problems

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I can answer questions about server hardware RAID and general storage for servers and PC's - hard drive issues, troubleshooting, advice, specs, and information. While some apparent drive/RAID array failures can be recovered, I can only provide advice/recommendations in the event of catastrophic data loss. I don't assist in actually recovering from this type of data loss on this forum.


I worked as an analyst in Dell server support for 2 years, and have since worked with many Dell PowerEdge servers. I am currently employed as IT Manager. I am currently ranked in the top 5 All-Time in Server Hardware and Hard Drives in a very popular and large forum similar to AllExperts.

I have a BS in Computer Science and have earned the following certifications: CompTIA Security+, A+, Project+; CIW Web Design, Database Specialist; Microsoft Windows 7; Dell DCSE Server. I am also an expert in Windows 7, Servers, and Hard Drives (I don't normally do XP - not because I don't know it inside and out, but because I have "retired" personal support for XP, and I want to see it die :)).

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