Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 165 / JUNE 1994 / PAGE 6

Add a second hard drive. (Windows Workshop)
by Clifton Karnes

Windows programs gobble up disk space like there's no tomorrow. Realtime compression programs such as Stacker and DoubleSpace help a lot, but sooner or later, you're going to run out of free magnetic media. Then you'll have some tough decisions to make. If your computer and hard disk are both serviceable (at least a 386DX computer and a hard disk of 100MB), the best solution is probably to install a second hard disk.

If the idea of doing something like this doesn't turn you into a quivering mass of JellO, you're probably ready to dive into your computer. Before you do, however, there are some things you should know about that I discovered when I added a second hard drive to my system.

First, I'm talking here about upgrading IDE drives. Chances are that if you bought your system in the last two years, you have in IDE drive. For IDE drives, you can probably add a second drive pretty easily if you add a drive by the same company. If you add the same kind of drive you already have, the chances of encountering problems are significantly reduced.

In my case, my system is a Gateway 2000 486DX2-66 that came with a 340MB Caviar IDE drive from Western Digital (714-932-4900). This drive has given me excellent service in the last year, so deciding to add an identical drive was easy. It's also a good representative choice, because Western Digital invented the IDE interface, and the WD2340 has become an industry standard (Norton uses this drive in its benchmarks).

Now, on to the upgrading story. The first thing to do is check with your system maker to verify that you can add a second drive. If you can, decide on the drive, and you're ready to start gathering stuff and spending money. In addition to the drive, you'll need several parts. If you buy a drive upgrade kit, these parts may come with it. If you simply buy a second drive, you'll have to find these parts somewhere. If your drive is smaller than the drive bay it fits into (which is the case with the WD2340), you'll need a metal bracket to hold the drive and from four to six screws to attach the drive to the bracket. You'll also need two plastic guide rails to attach to the drive bracket (or to the drive itself if it's large enough to fit into a drive bay), and you'll need four screws to attach the guide rails to the bracket (or drive). You'll also need two jumpers to configure the drives as master and slave. Your drive cable should have a connector for daisy-chaining a second drive, but if it doesn't, you'll need a new cable.

There are two sources to consider for these parts (bracket, guide rails, screws, and jumpers). You might try your computer manufacturer. It may be able to supply these at little or no cost. Gateway, for example, agreed to send all of these parts to me and only charged me for shipping ($9). However, it took three weeks for the package to reach me, and when it arrived, I only had one screw (instead of ten) and one jumper (instead of two).

A local computer store is also a good bet. My local Comp-USA had all of this stuff available for under $10.

After you have everything you need, you can hook up the drive. You'll need directions for this because the drives must be connected on the data/control cable in a particular order. Next, you need to place jumpers on each drive to identify it to the system correctly. Last, you have to plug in a power connector to the new drive. If you don't have a free one, you need to get a Y power plug.

After you install the hardware, you need to tell your PC about the new hard drive. To do this, you have to run your computer's setup program and configure the drive. If you're installing a drive that is identical to your first drive, you simply copy the information from the first drive to the second.

After setup is configured properly and your PC recognizes the new drive, you need to partition it and format it. (In the old days, before IDE, you had to low-level format the drive first.) To partition the drive, you run DOS Fdisk. The important thing to remember is that you want to create an extended DOS partition using the entire new hard disk.

After Fdisk finishes, you need to format your new hard drive with the DOS Format command, using the /u option. (You don't need to use the /s option, unless you're configuring your new drive to be your boot drive.) Next, if you're planning to run Stacker or DoubleSpace on the new drive, do it now before you fill the drive up with programs.

That's all there is to it. If everything goes smoothly, the installation shouldn't take more than an hour.