Buying bigger HDD for XP - Any Problems?

Microsoft Windows xp professional sp3 (o...
April 4, 2011 at 09:45:47
Specs: Windows XP SP3, Intel dual Core/4g
I want to fit a larger drive into my computer; 500 GB or 1TB. I have a dual boot system using windows XP and Windows 7. Currently my 250G hard drives are formatted NTFS. Are there any problems likely to occur that these larger drives will not be recognised or usable to their full potential by the system? How do I check my system for this before committing to a purchase? My motherboard is Gigabyte 965P-DS3 fitted with intel dual core 2.3G processor. I would also like to use a drive of this size as an external backup, USB connected. Any problems likely to arise doing this?
I welcome your comments. Thank you.

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April 4, 2011 at 12:08:07
Are your current hard drives SATA?

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April 4, 2011 at 12:29:49
Apparently the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 mboard has 6 SATA 3Gb/s connectors, so it already supports recognizing drives having SATA II specs, and if the mboard's bios already supports recognizing a 250gb manufacturer's size drive as it's full size it will have no problem recognizing the size of any drive larger than that.

You can install SATA drives having SATA II specs (3gbits/sec = 300mbytes/sec max burst data transfer rate; SATA drives transfer data at 10 bits per byte, not 8 ), or there are a few drive models that support SATA 3 specs that you could use and have them running at SATA II specs max.

Note that some SATA II drives come with a jumper already installed on two pins that limits them to the original SATA specs - (1.5gbits/sec = 150mbytes/sec max burst data transfer rate)
-you must remove the jumper in order for the drive to be able to achieve it's max SATA II specs. E.g. three Seagate 500mb SATA II 3.5" drives I have bought were jumpered that way initially.

Whether is smarter for you to use two drives rather than one depends on how important your personal data is to you. It is better to not "put all your eggs in one basket" - you should have data you don't want to lose on partitions on two separate physical hard drives.

Whatever you do, if there is going to be only one hard drive that has an operating system installed on it, or in your case possibly two operating systems that each have one partition with a Windows installation installed on it on each of two physical hard drives, it is a good idea to NOT use the entire physical drive's space for the partition Windows is installed on.
You DO NOT have to install everything that did not come with Windows on the same partition Windows was installed on, if you have one or more other partitions the software can be installed on.
The larger the Windows partition is, the longer it will take certain programs that scan the entire partition Windows has been installed on to finish - e.g. Defrag, Full anti-malware scans, CHKDSK /R, etc.

"I would also like to use a drive of this size as an external backup, USB connected."

I recommend you pay a bit more and get one with an external enclosure that supports both USB and eSATA connections - the latter type of connection has a much faster max burst data transfer rate, when you can connect the external drive to an eSATA port.
E.g.if you buy the hard drive separately from the external enclosure, it's fairly easy to find external enclosures that support both types of connections, and some even come with a bracket and wiring so you can have an eSATA port in a slot space on a desktop computer that connects to a SATA header internally for when you mboard has no built in eSATA port.

"I have a dual boot system using windows XP and Windows 7."

Are you using the built in multi-boot feature of Windows 7 to boot either of the operating systems with ?

This applies to Vista and probably the same thing applies to Windows 7 ....

If yes, were you aware of the fact that when XP is booted in that situation, by default it deletes ALL of the System Restore restore points in Windows 7, EVERY TIME XP is booted, unless you use the BitLocker feature that's built into the Windows 7 Ultimate or Business versions ??

I got around that for dual booting XP MCE 2005 and Vista Premium by buying and using the BootIt! NG third party multi-boot program. They have instructions on their web site for how to HIDE Vista or Windows 7's partition Windows was installed on while booting XP to avoid that problem.

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April 5, 2011 at 07:37:05
Thabk you for your constructive comments. My existing setup is:
Diisk 0 System Partition 100M, Windows 7 Home 97G, Data for forWindows 7 47G, 3G unallcated
Disc 1 Windows XP 127G Data for Windows XP 48G, 56G unallocated.
On start up Windows 7 menu appears with 7 and XP as the options. I installed XP after windows 7 so I had fun with the bootup procedure but I succeeded in the end.
Is this a satifactory arrangement or can you suggest any changes?
I will take up the suggestion about an external USB/Sata external drive. Currently I have a 250G IDE hard drive in a Akasa Integral housing with USB connection. Unit
is powered from mains adapter.
Thanks again

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April 5, 2011 at 08:27:14
I'm assuming you presently have 2 SATA hard drives. Your mboard has one IDE header that supports UDMA100 that up to two IDE drives can be connected to, and I'm assuming you have one or two IDE optical (CD or DVD) drives connected to that.

It's a good idea of yours to have the operating systems on two separate physical drives -that way if one drive fails or if one Windows installation gets really messed upon, you can still use the computer, although you may need to do some tweaking using a Windows disk to boot the computer with if one drive fails.

"I installed XP after windows 7 so I had fun with the bootup procedure but I succeeded in the end."

Whether you use Windows 7's multi-boot feature or XP's , the situation is the same as in the info in response 2 starting at
""I have a dual boot system using windows XP and Windows 7.""

If it concerns you that booting XP deletes ALL the System Restore restore points in Windows 7, you will need to do something about that

"Currently I have a 250G IDE hard drive in a Akasa Integral housing with USB connection. Unit is powered from mains adapter.

In that case it probably has a 3.5" desktop sized hard drive inside of it - it gets it's power both from the external AC to DC adapter and 5v DC power from the USB port it connects to on the computer.The USB port you plug it into must be able to supply the full max 500ma the USB specs allow for. The 3.5" hard drive requires both 12v DC power and 5v DC power.

See Response 1:

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April 6, 2011 at 01:40:20
Thank you. A few points I need to clear up. My internal disks are SATA. You were correct; my motherboard IDE socket suppots my two IDE optical drives I have never lost Restore points. Microsoft make it very clear that XP should never be installed after windows 7. This was proven when I first tried doing this even using disc management progams like Paragon Hard Disc Manager. I had to modify boot.ini files to get it to work. I am puzzled about my existing external IDE drive. I use the mains adapter and my USB connection is to the computer front panel connector which does not support large 5v currents. I have been looking for a USB eSATA external drive as you suggested but there seems to be no mention in the relative 'List of Contenrs' of an adaptor to connect the motherboard SATA connector to the outside of the case.I am still researching this. I'm also confused about 2.5 and 3.5 inch hard drives. Are these for space consideration or are 2.5 inch ones for laptops only?

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