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1. Introduction and Maxtor Drive Specs

2.Buying a Second Hard Drive

3. Installing the Second Drive - Getting Started

4. HD Jumper Pins and Ribbon Cable

5. Finish Installation - Hard Drive BIOS Settings and Partitioning

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InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter - New Hard Drives and Storage Media   


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Adding a Second Hard Drive Review;
Demonstrated with the
Maxtor 13.6 GB DiamondMax Plus

Deciding to Add a Second Hard Drive

Sooner or later, everyone needs to add hard drive space. With the price of hard drives continuing to fall, and with the speed and capacity of hard drives doubling, there is no excuse for not adding a second hard drive.

Second hard drives are particularly useful for: installing a second operating system (Linux or Windows NT/2000/XP maybe?), backing up sensitive data, upgrading your system's speed by making the newer faster drive the C: boot drive, and allowing Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP disk caching to work properly when your C: drive is nearing 85% of its capacity (15% of your C: drive,or 5MB (whichever is greater), should be free for Windows use).

After deciding that it's the "right thing to do", you have to determine if you system can handle a second hard drive.

Can you add a second hard drive to your system?

To determine if a second hard drive can be added to your computer, you need to open the case of your computer (with the power off) and verify:

  1. There is an unfilled drive bay (either 3.5 inch or 5.25 inch) inside the computer where the hard drive can be mounted. <If none exists, you can still add a second hard drive in an external case with a parallel, SCSI, or USB interface.>

  2. The hard drive ribbon cable can reach both the new drive and the old drive and will not be pulled out of the motherboard. <If the cable is too short then you need to buy a hard drive extension cable.>

  3. An unused large power connector exists for the drive. <To add a power cable connector, you need to buy a "Y" splitter to make an additional connection.>

Hopefully, your system can handle an additional drive and now you can begin shopping for a new drive.

Hard Drive Buying Advice

Drive Specifications. As we mentioned before, prices on hard drives have fallen dramatically. Now, you can buy twice as much drive as you could purchase one year ago. As such, there is no reason to buy a small capacity or slow hard drive.
The following specifications are what you should look for when buying a new hard drive:

1. 40 GB capacity or higher for Windows 95/98/Me/XP systems. <Win 95 users can not use a drive larger than 8.4 GB as the boot drive unless they are using the "full", rather than the upgrade, version of Windows 95.>
2. 7200 RPM spindle speed or faster.
3. Ultra DMA 100 or 133 (the drive will still work fine with Ultra DMA 66, and 33 controllers).
4. less than 9 milliseconds access time.

Retail Kit or OEM bare drive? Unless you are very sure of yourself, I would recommend you buy a drive kit. A drive kit includes all necessary parts and software to get your drive up and running with the least amount of hassle. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or bare drives, are typically just the drive itself in an antistatic sleeve with no documentation whatsoever. While you can save a few bucks buying OEM, you have to know how to use the "fdisk" and "format" DOS commands to get your drive running or you can use Windows XP's hard drive commands.

Maxtor Kit Parts
The Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 6800 Drive Kit - Drive, hard drive ribbon cable, screw-on mounting rails (for mounting in 5.25 inch bay), Max Blast drive installation and disk copying software, and installation instructions (not shown). Also includes free Adobe Photoshop LE Software (retail value $90).

Where to Shop. You can visit our sponsor DealTime and comparison shop 160 online computer stores. You can also use our Vendor Table for additional ideas or use your favorite retailer.
When buying by mail we suggest using your credit card. Make sure the drive can be returned to the merchant or manufacturer if it malfunctions.

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