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Using left over hard drives.

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by M2 Carbine, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    I've got several left over hard drives in the 20 to 40 gig range.

    My two active computers each have two large hard drives and I have a couple ACOM DATA external hard drives.

    I'd like to get some use out of the extra smaller drives. Mostly for storing smaller MPG video clips for editing and burning DVDs.

    When I need it I can plug in the smaller drive in place of the 2nd drive in the computer and let Windows XP do it's thing finding the "new" drive but this can get to be a pain in the butt swapping drives.

    I understand I can get a "card" which will enable the computer to use more than 2 HDs.
    But still this will mean swapping out the small HDs. (what you need as ALWAYS on the other hard drive.

    Or plan 3, I can just throw away the smaller drives and forget the whole thing.

    The question,
    Anyone know a plan 4?
     
  2. Anon1

    Anon1

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    #4: Put a removable drive enclosure into the front of the PC and then just power down, pull out one drive cage, slide in the other drive cage, and power up. Leave the existing 2 drives in there alone and running on the Primary IDE. Install the new drive enclosure on the secondary IDE channel. Your PC will most likely already support up to 4 drives at once.

    Something like this:

    http://www.compgeeks.com/details.asp?invtid=GN210

    [edit] Don't forget that you'll need to buy one of the above and several of the trays that the drive(s) actually sits in.
     

  3. prism

    prism more ammo

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    get a USB external drive kit. you can switch drives in the external enclosure easily.

    maybe get more than one kit !

    it's nice to be able to carry a lot of files when traveling or visiting friends

    I had a couple old drives, too. it was nice to get some more use out of an old 2.5 gig drive!
     
  4. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    Anon, That looks exactly like what I'm looking for.

    "Your PC will most likely already support up to 4 drives at once."

    You are talking like 2 hard drives and 2 CD drives or any combination, correct?

    So I can replace a CD drive (that I don't really need anyhow) with the HD kit?

    (BTW, I'm using a new HP with Athlon 3200, etc and an older Compaq with Athlon 1900, etc)



    Thanks prism, I have an OLD Aten portable that worked through the printer port. WAY slow but back then it served the purpose. Like you said having the files with you when you needed them.
     
  5. Anon1

    Anon1

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    You are correct 4 total IDE devices connected to the motherboard, any combination of hard disk drives or cd-rom drives. Yes, you can replace one cd-rom with the removable drive rig.
     
  6. pesticidal

    pesticidal Eh? CLM

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    I'm in the same boat. Someone mentioned setting them up in a RAID. What's involved in that?
     
  7. Anon1

    Anon1

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    For RAID you would likely need both hardware and software support. If you are using a basic home-type PC with Windows XP Home, I do not *think* that XP Home will support RAID volumes.

    If you want to use IDE drives for RAID then you will likely need to add in a RAID controller card and the drives. You will need physical space for the drives and available power for them. This might require an entire external enclosure that houses the drives and then plugs into the back of your PC.

    To be honest, the variables are so numerous without knowing what hardware you want to use that I'm just stabbing in the dark.
     
  8. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    Thanks Anon,

    I've got some serious "black holes" in my computer knowledge.;f


    Now I know this is a dumb question.;Q

    Can I just connect the new drive to the cable where I removed the CD?
    In other words have the CD and new HD on the same cable?
     
  9. Anon1

    Anon1

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    Yes you can use the new drive on the same cable as your cd-rom drive.

    You must follow the directions though. Specifically:

    1. The new drive cage needs to be "jumpered" the same as the old cd-rom that you will remove. If the old cd-rom is jumpered to be "slave" or "master" then the new rig will need to be jumpered the same.

    2. Your BIOS will nned to be set to recognize the new drive upon power up. Directly after you power on you should see "Press F1 for Setup" or something similar, maybe Delete, F2, or something else. Go into the BIOS (BE VERY CAREFUL) and make sure that the drive setting for the *Secondary*>*Master or Slave* (whichever it was set to in step 1) is set to "Auto". This will allow the PC to dynamically change the drive type to correspond to what drive is actually in the new rig at boot up.


    You might want to consider this: The bus that the drives are on will run at a speed that is compatible with the *slowest* device on that bus. So for example you might have the new drive on the same cable as your cd-rom drive. Everything that is communicated to that new hard drive will be sent at a slower speed because the system will throttle back that bus because the cd-rom drive is much slower. Keep in mind that with all of this we are talking about times in the milliseconds and you likely will never realize any performance hit. However, if you intend to do alot of reading/writting of very large media files to the new hard drive with things like full-motion video editing than you might consider putting the hard drive on the same cable as another hard drive.
     
  10. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    Thanks Anon,

    I've copied your excellent instructions.
    I know what you are talking about but wouldn't have know exactly how to go about it.

    VERY interesting about the drive operating at the slower speed of the CD.
    I'll look at just what I want to get done and hook up the drives accordingly.

    I just placed the order at compgeeks:)
     
  11. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    Anon, Thanks

    Your suggestion worked so good I'm ordering another drive cage set for my second computer and a 200 gig HD to use as a portable.

    Replacing the CD-R drive with the drive cage is also working OK. The HD is running plenty fast for what I'm doing.

    It seems my BIOS was already set for Auto.


    I like that computergeeks site also.
     
  12. Anon1

    Anon1

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    Beautiful, your welcome. I'm in the IT business and have several systems (ok, 8 or 9 systems) with those removable cages in them and a stack of about 20 drives in trays. I use them to replicate the environment(s) of my clients' networks when testing and troubleshooting.
     
  13. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    I can see maybe backup/Ghosting possibilities that will free my second internal hard drives from being tied up with the Norton Ghost of my C drives.

    I'd better order some more HD trays.:)
     
  14. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

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    My swappable external IDE/USB drive is worth its weight in gold. I have a grocery sack next to my computer desk with literally 14 old IDE HDDs in it (4 to 40 GB). Before my external drive, I was wearing out the hinges on my case swapping HDDs in and out.

    I guess I really need to get a DVD-R and back them all up to DVD, huh?
     
  15. Jtemple

    Jtemple Geek

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    I'm a big fan of the external hard drive enclosures. I recommend them to everyone that buys a new PC and wants all of their old stuff from their old PC. You might as well put that old hard drive to use. :)
     
  16. frefoo

    frefoo

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    IMO it all depends on how many drives you have VS the size of the drives today.

    While RAID or an external enclosure would work, you will have some problems with both.

    1. RAID - When you build your RAID sets all data will be destroyed (perhaps the data on the first disk will be intact). RAID is best for data protection not the best for data access (while maybe RAID 1 in a heavy read enviorment is the exception to the rule)

    2. External - Trying to remember where a file is on a few HD's that I may have to swap in and out can be a pain.

    Since the cost of new drives is "cheap" today, I would suggest you migrate the (lets say 5 x 40GB drives = 200GB total) To a new drive and be done with it.

    If the data is important then purchase the large drive, set-up a RAID system with your current large drives, and then one by one migrate the data from your small drives to the new RAID set.