Extra lap-top hard drive

Custom / CUSTOM
September 9, 2009 at 02:13:38
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, 3.214 GHz / 2046 MB
looking for some advise please from you knowledgeable guys.
I have an HP lap-top with Vista OS. I have removed the HD cover at the back and there is space spare for another HD.
What I am wanting to do / know about is -
If I temporarily remove the existing HD and put another in it's place and load a different OS onto it, then place that HD into space 2 and the original back into space 1, what will happen when the lap-top is next booted.
What I'm hoping for basically is a dual boot to then pick which OS system I want to use.
If this is not going to work, I'll just have to keep removing the back and swapping the HDs.
The other question I have please (as what little experience I have is with PCs and not lap-tops) is -
the existing HD is shown as Serial ATA with a spin speed of 5400.
If the new HD I get is a SATA 2 with a spin speed of 7200 will I get the full benefits of that, or will it only operate as though it was a SATA 1.

Appreciate any comments and advise on this.

Many thanks,

See More: Extra lap-top hard drive

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September 9, 2009 at 04:23:17
Extra space for a second HDD in a laptop? You have gotta be kidding! What model is this HP laptop?

As far as I know there is just no room to add another HDD in a laptop. Laptops are tightly assembled at the factory.


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September 9, 2009 at 05:27:10
There are some laptops made with TWO hard drives. The idea is to be able to run RAID.


To answer your question concerning installing a second drive using a drive with a 7200RPM spindle speed.

The reason manufacturer's use 5400 RPM drives in laptops is due to power consumption and heat. Both of those would go up if you install ANY second hard drive. You won't see any appreciable gain in speed.

As far as using both hard drives separately, you should be able to do that. I recommend you contact the vendor for more info or read your manual.

Booting to either drive would be a function of the BIOS. If that option is not included then you can't do it. I would think it should be included but who knows.

As far as dual booting goes you can dual boot with only one hard drive. You simply need to partition the hard drive into two or more visable partitions.

If you can, your idea is better though. However, you don't want to install the OSes like you described. Have both drives installed and you should see the extra drive in Disk Management. I am not going to describe the setup further at this point because I am getting ahead of the issue.

Determine what you have and what you can do with it. Laptop drive controllers can be less flexible than their desktop cousins. You may have drive capacity limitations. You may also need a holder that is dedicated to your model drive in order to actually hold the drive in place.

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September 9, 2009 at 06:33:51
I stand corrected - my apology to the OP. Othehill is right Some laptops do come with two HDDs.


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September 9, 2009 at 06:39:44
You may also need a holder that is dedicated to your model drive in order to actually hold the drive in place.

That's going to be your biggest problem. I have seen different types of holders from the same manufacture. The chances are you are going to have to go to HP to get one and whether they will sell you one without a hard disk to go with it is another matter.


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September 9, 2009 at 08:33:18
Just a FYI,

My son had an HP Presiro V6000 and the motherboard failed, I pulled the hard drive, among other things off the fried V6000 as his brother has the same make/model. Both V6000's were bought together.

My son then bought a Gateway FX MS2252, which has two slots for HD's.

He opened the back and the HP hard drive slid right into the open slot with no problems.

It shows up as drive E:

I advised him not to try and boot to it, as he now has Vista, while the old drive has XP and none of the drivers for a Gateway.

He simply uses it for extra storage.

Sometimes you get lucky.



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September 9, 2009 at 09:11:42
Thanks for those responses guys - late getting back to you as at work (UK based).
The laptop is an HP DV7-1020ea 17" screen, so is not pushed for space as some smaller notebooks would be.
There is definitely an available space for another HD as it is identical in shape and size to where the existing HD sits and also has the SATA port.
Ref the spin speed, I rather thought that would be the case regarding the heat.
Bit bothered about the mounting bracket as I've just ordered the extra HD and never thought about the mounting bracket. The HD I've ordered is identical to the existing one, it is a WD 320gb 5400rpm.
Looks like I'll have to try and source one from somewhere - will try HP first and see what they say. More £££££ no doubt!
I'm a bit concerned about the "dual boot". I don't want to go down the route of partitioning. I want to either keep both drives in with different OS and be able to boot to either one as I wish, or, the not so good alternative of manually swapping the drives depending on which one I need at the time. To be honest, the last option probably won't be too much of a problem as whenever I'm using the drives, the same one would probably stay in for a week or two each time. It'll just be a pain storing the HD outside of the laptop and the more times you open up the laptop, the more chances are of something going wrong.

Any further comments or advise appreciated.


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September 9, 2009 at 09:47:15
If the Laptop was built for two HDDs the BIOS should be able to detect and deal with each drive separately. Once #2 is installed it should be detected by the Bios and appear in the BOOT order as an additional Boot Otion.

I would guess similar to a desktop ie..

Original HDD = Disk 0
New HDD =Disk 1

I suspect your real problem will be getting another OS to install with VISTA hardware. Check with HP for your motherboard being compatible with your intended OS. Windows 7 might be a good option.

Some Vista Motherboards will not accept XP Home or Pro due to the lack of available Device Drivers.

Using the 2 OS's without a "TRUE Dual Boot" can be done through the BIOS by Selecting the appropriate HDD in the BootOrder, No need to physically swap the Drives this way. Best to install the NEW OS with the NEW HDD in the 2nd drive Bay.

HP should have some detailed info on installing and using the #2 hdd.

There is nothing to learn from someone who already agrees with you.

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September 9, 2009 at 10:30:44
Okay thanks for that Dumbob.
I think what you are saying is that once I've sorted the hardware, then if it won't "dual boot" properly, then just go into the BIOS each time I want to change which HD to boot from?
Must admit, sounds better than physically changing them each time.

First off, need to source a HD bracket to fit the HD into the laptop.


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September 9, 2009 at 11:24:45
Just to emphasize one point that Othehill made. Do not pull the original drive and replace it with a new drive and install the OS. That drive will not work when moved to the second position and the original is restored.

I have found that using the bios to disable drives is not reliable with XP. XP sometimes ignores the bios and does what he wants with the drives.

If you want a dual boot, you need to have both drives connected and install the second OS on the new drive in the second slot.

Along with the others I would discourage using a 7200rpm drive.

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September 9, 2009 at 16:16:27
Thanks aegis1 ref the pointer to ENSURE OS is loaded whilst drive in #2 slot - I will remember and do it that way.
The drive I've ordered is a 5400 spin speed and in fact is identical to the one originally in the laptop, so should be okay.
Just need to source (or fabricate) a HD carrier to fit it to the laptop.
Thanks for the info ref the BIOS Dumbob.

Anyone for any other suggestions ref the HD carrier please?

If not, I will update once I get the bits together and try it out - won't get the HD delivered until next week.



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September 9, 2009 at 16:42:52
I could be mistaken but if Both HDDs are connected when you install the 2nd OS, I believe you'll automatically end up with a typical Dual Boot set up. Windows will create the Boot.ini file by default.

My thinking is that to keep the OSs separate you would need to disconnect the original HDD while installing to #2. Having #2 HDD in Bay #2 should serve to keep the HDD settings associated with the Controller that serves Bay 2, therefore associated with HDD#2.

I have to admit I've only tried this on Win98SE/XP on an IDE HDD, never with a SATA HDD.

Search on HP indicated Audio Driver for your hardware may not exist for XP. It was from an old Forum post but I saw nothing newer that contradicted it.

Good luck. Let us know what you found that worked or didn't work.

There is nothing to learn from someone who already agrees with you.

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September 9, 2009 at 17:20:25

Lets clarify something. Do you want to run Vista on the computer it is currently on? Do you have disks for both Vista & XP? If so, what kind of disks are they? Full installation or OEM restore disks? If OEM which computer are they for?

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September 9, 2009 at 18:08:17
Othehill - the laptop original HD ie HD #1 has vista already installed when the laptop was purchased.
I have some software that I would rather run on XP and I have an XP OS disc that I bought a few years back to load onto an old pc that has now died. So I was going to load that OS onto the HD #2.



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September 9, 2009 at 18:14:06
The bios sets the first drive it sees as the C: drive. So if you remove the first drive, the second drive will be set as C:. When you reinstall the first drive, the second drive should become D:, which will not agree with what it was installed as.

Of course, like I said in an earlier post, XP doesn't always follow the Bios' rules of drive naming.

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September 9, 2009 at 18:43:02
One solution would be to install a third party boot Manager.

You partition the add in drive with a very small first partition which holds the boot manager. Then when you start the computer the boot manager looks for all bootable media and presents a list. It is totally OS independent so if you change something everything else still works, unlike Windows boot manager.

You might want to post a new thread asking for recommendations on which one to use. Or Google for it.

Vista can be a pain when trying to setup a dual boot using the built in Windows manager.

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September 22, 2009 at 02:44:39

Well kinda come unstuck on this one.
Installed HD in laptop as second drive, but just can't get XP installed on it.
Can't even find any SATA controller drivers to add.
Looks like I might have to bin this idea.

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September 22, 2009 at 06:24:56
Each SATA controller usually controls TWO SATA ports. So, your SATA controller should have already been enabled or the original drive wouldn't be working.

Because this is a laptop things are different. You can't add more hard drives other than the one additional drive you evidently have added. That shouldn't be a problem.

Try removing the original drive temporarily and then installing WinXP on the new drive.

Your second drive bay may have been intended for use with a RAID array. There are a couple of different RAID arrays possible with 2 hard drives.

My guess is the default is to allow RAID 1, which is mirroring of the original drive to the second drive. This is done to protect data.

Enter the BIOS (setup) screens and look to see what options you may have to setup the two drives. I would assume you can run them independently. That may require a change in the BIOS settings. The manual should also cover it.

As I mentioned above a boot manager may be the best route.

Boot managers allow totally independent operation of any and all installed OSes. Windows boot manager depends on the legusy OS to control the subsequently installed OSes. This, in my mind is not a good setup. If the legusy OS becomes trashed you may not be able to access the others.

A third party boot manager requires a small partition at the front of the primary drive.

I suggest you swap the new drive for the Vista drive. Partition the new drive as required by the third party boot manager. Then install WinXP on the second partition of the new drive.

Boot the laptop without the Vista drive connected and verify all is well and the boot manager is functioning. Then reconnect the Vista drive and the boot manager should be able to find the Vista OS.

Before performing ANY of this be sure you have created the Vista restore disks, unless they were shipped with the laptop.

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September 22, 2009 at 15:46:55
Okay. Thanks for that OtheHill.
I hadn't tried to install XP with the new drive in bay one.
Will try that and also what you described ref the partition and third party boot manager.
Can you suggest any of these boot managers? Pref a cheapy one in case it doesn't work.
Will prob be a couple of weeks now before I manage to do this as I have an important requirement for the laptop 3rd/4th Oct so don't want to mess it up for then. Will have a play with it after then and report back.
Will check back before then to see if any comments ref the boot managers.
Thanks again for the words of wisdom.


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September 22, 2009 at 17:03:50
I don't have too much experience with them lately. Google for free ones. Grub is an old standby that has been used for ages but I would think you might look for one that can support Vista or even Windows 7. The link below is typical of what is available.


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