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Windows XP with 2 hard drives question.

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by harlenm, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. harlenm

    harlenm Millennium Member

    Jul 20, 1999
    I now have my system set up with 2 hard drives. I bought a 120 gig, but for some reason couldn't configure it as the primary drive, so I have my 40 gig as the primary(c:) and the 120 as my f: drive.

    I want to put windows on the 40, and everything else on the 120.

    My question is if I put windows on the 40 gig, and all programs on the 120 gig, can I do a reformat at a later date on the 40 gig, and then be able to run all my programs, or will they have to be reinstalled as well?

    If they have to be reinstalled, then I might as well use the 120 gig for just data.
  2. darin2


    Apr 14, 2001
    If you reformatted the 40GB drive, you would lose any of those programs on the 120GB drive. The 40GB contains your operating system, which is basically the brain for your software. If you erase the brain, and install a new one, it no longer knows about the programs on the other drive. I would do everything on the 120GB drive. If you are having problems, try changing the jumpers or putting the drives on different IDE channels. If you have to, just install the 120 GB without the other in the system.



  3. proguncali

    proguncali 1911-2004 CLM

    Mar 14, 2002
    At your Mom's
    Keep all of your data and programs on C, and all of your data on your new drive.
  4. harlenm

    harlenm Millennium Member

    Jul 20, 1999
    I guess if I boot to the cd right now(c as the primarty, f as the secondary drive), the windows disk will allow me to choose what drive I want windows installed on, and then I can choose f and do a fresh install on that. Then copy the files I want from the c drive, then swap the jumpers to make the f drive the master, and the c the slave. Then format the slave.
  5. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

    Apr 14, 2004
    Mucus City, USA
    harlenm, the short answer is no, those programs no longer will be installed if you reformat the C: drive.

    I'm curious about your not being able to designate the 120GB drive the master. Not trying to be insulting but do you know about the jumpers on the drive designating master, slave, and cable select? Also, some MoBos can only designate HDDs on a particular header as 'master'.

    For best performance, the OS should reside on the fastest HDD. I'm presuming the 120 is of a more recent generation than the 40 gigger and probably faster.

    The big difference between Windblows installations and the old DOS installations is that Windblows installations make entries into a sort of accounting ledger maintained by the OS known as the registry. DOS had no such registry so 'installed' programs could pretty much be copied to any other DOS box and they'd still work (configuration issues aside). When you reformat the C: drive, you destroy the registry (even though the applications are 'installed' on the D: drive) so those programs that reside on the D: drive effectively will no longer be installed.

    Also, you can get a modest performance boost with XP by putting virtual memory (in the form of a page file) on each different HDD.
  6. harlenm

    harlenm Millennium Member

    Jul 20, 1999
    Yes, ofcourse I changed the jumpers. This whole thing has turned into a nightmare.

    I can't boot to the 120 gig, even after I successfully get the windows installer to start. However, when the pc reboots the first time, it won't restart. If it boots to the cd, I'm right back into the windows setup, trying to boot to the hard drive gets OS errors.

    So I decide I'm just going to give up and go back to my original hard drive. I push power, nothing happens! I guess the cables that connect the power button to the mobo came loose. I plug them back in, and hit power, it starts up.

    But I get a configuration error, and the computer won't boot! No matter what I do, I can't get the thing to turn on past the first screen.

    I take the original 40 gig drive, hook it up as a slave to my other computer, and it connects fine. So the drive is OK, and I copied all my data(17 gigs worth of files) to that computers C drive, which is now maxed out.

    What a mess!!!!

    Now I'm going to get an external firewire drive to use that as storage for data, since I can't deal with this anymore!
  7. Egyas

    Egyas Troll Hater

    Actually, you could format the C drive, without losing the programs. It's VERY tricky though. All the program data and files are stored on your F drive, only the registry entries are stored in your registry hive on C. The only way to make it work is to back up the relevane entries in the registry hive. Then, after the format and reinstall of windows, you import those reg keys. Since not all programs put their keys in obvious places (especially serial # keys, trial date keys, etc) this can be tricky. You could always export the entire registry hive, and then import it back in with the new system, but you'll develop a lot of "orphan" keys that way.

    Short answer, it IS possible. It's just not worth the time.

    One other thing to consider. If you wind up rebuilding often, or if your machine doesn't change that much (developmntal PC, workstation, etc) use a program like Norton Ghost or Power Quest Disk Imager to create an image of your C drive (after all the installs are complete), and store it on D. That way, you can restore from image, and keep all the reg entries so your programs will work.
  8. fastvfr

    fastvfr Ancient Tech

    Mar 28, 2001
    SW Oregon
    Try putting that 120GB drive in your rig by itself. Format it and install XP onto it.

    Leave your 40GB drive alone.

    Then all you need to do is sucessfully slave the 40GB back in and use it for the Virtual RAM space (speeds up games) and you will still have an alternate copy of all the files, folders and savegame files handy, archived right there on the slave drive.

    BTW, I always format two partitions onto a 120GB or larger hard drive; one of 10GB for the OS and one encompassing the rest of the available space (minus 8MB...).

    That way if you manage to b0rk the OS, it is a simple matter of reformatting the C: partition; that will leave the data partition intact.

    This is how I set up 90% of the client jobs when they want a larger HDD installed...I have yet to hear a complaint or have a problem. Well, once they get used to changing the install path to D:\...!!;Q ;f

    Good luck. You'll get it figured out.
  9. harlenm

    harlenm Millennium Member

    Jul 20, 1999
    OK, here is the latest. My computer is toast, I don't know what happened, but it won't boot.

    I now have my backup computer running with the 30 gig main drive, and my 40 gig as the slave, 70 gigs total.

    Will be taking my video card out of my machine and installing it in this machine, because it has dual monitor support. Will install both of my 15" flat panels to this computer, and it will be our main desktop.

    Ordered a Dell Inspiron 5160 today to replace my computer. All works out well I guess.

    Will also buy a firewire external hard drive to use as a backup for both machines.
  10. MikeG22

    MikeG22 CLM

    Jun 24, 2002
    San Diego
    fyi, you can buy a firewire cage/interface for your 120gig drive. You put it in and it will give you external power and let you connect it with firewire. Might save a little over getting another big drive.
  11. harlenm

    harlenm Millennium Member

    Jul 20, 1999
    I think there was something wrong with the 120gig drive. I already returned it.

    I'm going to go pick up a external 160gig with usb2.0 and firewire interface.

    Along with that I'm adding a print server, and an adapter to allow my monitor with a standard plug to plug into the dvi output on my video card so I can run a dual monitor setup.