Noob Needs Bigger Hard Drive

By AtlBo ·
OK, I am a noob. I have no idea where to start with this project, but I have scoured the net, and still have not been able to figure out how to clone my hard drive to a new larger one. If anyone could list the procedure step by step, I would be ever grateful. Here are my machine specs:

Dell 260 Optiplex
2 GB RAM memory
20 GB IDE Hard Drive
Chipset: Intel i845G
Video Card : Intel(R) 82845G/GL/GE/PE/GV Graphics Controller
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.01.2600 Service Pack 3

I have learned that I CAN exchange the hard drive for a 200 GB IDE one, which would be ideal, and that I can use this system's system tools to clone the old hard drive to the new one. Irregardless, I would be ultimately ingratiated with any help from anyone on how to go about this. However, I am so short on knowledge, I am afraid that only a 1., 2., 3... list will work for me, so I understand if noone has the time. Also, I'll need to know what connectors and so forth I'll need (i.e. a second hard drive ribbon and power cord, etc). I am a little concerned about power adding a larger hard drive, as I have learned that the Dell GX260 power supply is not very large. If there are any other worries, I am unaware of them...aaaaahhh.

OK, sorry, if anyone has time, it's the A to Z I need. Thanks in advance to any willing Saint...

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All Answers

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Despite my previous reservations the process is simple ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Noob Needs Bigger Hard Dr ...

Sometimes (not always) when you buy a new hard drive, it arrives WITH software that is designed for cloning your existing hard drive onto the new one. If this happens to you, you simply follow the instructions of whichever software package that comes with the new hard drive.

If (and I reckon this is more likely) you don't get cloning software as part of the package, you'll need to choose which of the available cloning utilities to use: mainly 'Norton Ghost' or 'Acronis TrueImage' or 'Paragon Partition Manager'. You'll be able to Google for each of these packages and they all offer a Free Trial (which very well may be all that you will require - since you're only going to clone one hard drive once!).

I would advise you, at this stage, to download the Trials of each of these packages, have a read through their Help Files and then ask for further back-up from us, on any points that you don't understand.

After all, eventually you'll have to perform this cloning yourself, so you might as well 'be prepared' and make your own choice as to which utility is the easiest to understand.

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by AtlBo In reply to Despite my previous reser ...

I'll be looking into that issue as soon as I become acclimated with the process I'll be going through to perform the cloning...

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Western Digital & Seagate

by Jacky Howe In reply to Noob Needs Bigger Hard Dr ...

are the most popular drives. You didn't mention the brand of your new IDE Drive. Anyhow I will give a few suggestions.

For a Seagate drive, if you want to use the manufacturers tools you will have to physically install the new drive as a secondary drive in your system.

Add the new drive as a slave to the primary master, or set both drives jumpers, to Cable Select, or make it a secondary master or secondary slave on the second IDE controller.

Note. The Master is attached to the last connector on the IDE cable.

How to Install and Troubleshoot ATA Hard Drives**&NewLang=en

How do I use DiscWizard for Seagate drives

bwilmot has already supplied information from Western Digital, look to the bottom of the page that was suggested for more help.;wideContent

Here is a list of Free Hard Disk Backup / Restore and Image / Cloning Utilities

The HDClone Free Edition

Paid for Cloning Utilites

The Power Supplies (PSU) are not the same, they are physically different, depending on the model of your System.

1. Small Form-Factor Computer

2. Small Desktop Computer

3. Small Mini-Tower Computer which all have proprietory PSU's.

The ratings are as follows:

1a. small form-factor computer: 160 W

2a. small desktop computer: 180 W

3a. small mini-tower computer: 250 W

Depending on the model, you may be able to track down a PSU, that will fit the case, and will have a higher wattage.

A link for information on the Dell OptiPlex GX260

Good Luck

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Thanks Jacky

by AtlBo In reply to Western Digital & Seagate

I haven't bought one, yet, although I like Seagates. My current hard drive is Western Digital.

As for the power supply, OK, but is there a chance that I can hook up the backup hard drive and the old one and have enough power to complete the cloning process? I don't have a secondary slot for a second hard drive, so I just need to hook up the second (larger drive) once as the second drive. Then I can change it to the master drive and install it in the primary slot for the hard drive.

Thanks for your help. My biggest problem is that I don't understand the hookups for the secondary drive, yet. I do understand that I will need a dual connection ribbon for the motherboard connection. However, the power supply has me a little off.

As for the power supply again. I think mine is 160W. I guess I could replace the current power supply. There are compatable ones available on the net. I saw one that was 400W. The main thing that worries me about power is that I put in the max RAM (2GB) and added a sound card to the original computer I bought. I'm also using a USB backup hard drive, but it only draws power when in use, so...

BTW, if there weren't enough power, could I damage the machine trying to make the boot and clone with the two hard drives connected?

Wow, I know this should be easy, but I am so green at computers. I've only changed a sound card and put in some RAM memory. I get so intimidated by even the easiest things, especially when it comes to hardware. Oh well, thanks in multitudes for the great info in your post...

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A bit more info

by Jacky Howe In reply to Thanks Jacky

I did a quick check with this power supply calculator and you require at a minimum 187 Watts. I didn't allow for the sound card. Anyway you can check it out.

If you go to the link in my first post and select View the Service Manual, then select System Board you will see that your Hard drive is on hard drive connector (IDE1) and your CD/DVD is on CD/DVD drive connector (IDE2). There should be two IDE cables with three connectors on each. One for the motherboard, one for a Slave drive and one for the Master. Your new drive could be jumperd as a Slave and connected to either of the center connectors on either cable. You should have up to three power connectors that arn't being used to connect to. You may have to remove the hard drive to be able to connect the second hard drive to the IDE cable. Don't sit one hard drive on top of the other without having a non conductive material between them. A couple of extras that you may need is a longer IDE cable and a power extension lead to be able to accomplish your goal.

I have a Dell 340 small mini-tower computer that I have used as a reference along with the details on the Dell website. It died from a blown capacitor.

I haven't tested the disc cloning software that comes with the hard drives and I'm not sure that you would be able to use an external USB drive. Imaging software like Acronis can save an image to an external drive, but as I said I'm not sure of something that does a copy on the fly.

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See how you go with this

by Jacky Howe In reply to A bit more info

First off, if you are going to use a Bootable CD make sure that the BIOS is set to boot from the CD/DVD as first boot device.

You will need to setup on a bench or table that will have ample space, as you will need to place the two drives and the optical CD/DVD outside of the case, but still connected to the System.

1. Remove the Power cord from the PSU to discharge the Capacitors in the Power Supply. Then press the Power button for 10 seconds to discharge the Capacitors on the Motherboard. Reconnect the power lead to the PSU.

2. Lift the cover of the case, I take it that it is hinged, and you will have the front facing you.

3. Ground yourself by placing the back of your hand on the Power Supply Unit and not moving your feet. By not taking this precaution it is possible that you could inadvertantly cause damage to the PC from an electrostatic discharge.

4. Remove the molex power connector and the primary IDE cable from the hard drive. Undo the IDE cable from the clips that hold it in place. Move the end of IDE cable that was connected to the hard drive and two of the molex power connectors to the left of the case. There should be just enough length to connect the two hard drives.

5. Remove the CD/DVD optical drive and leave it connected, place it to the right of the case so that the stickers are on top.

6. Connect the original hard drive to the end of the IDE cable and connect a power connector and place it with the controller board down.

7. Set the jumper on the second drive as a Slave. You will have to sit the second drive on top of the other drive to be able to connect them, connect the second drive.

Note: Don't! sit one hard drive on top of the other without having a non conductive material between them. I have used the anti-static bags that the hard drives come in or the plastic cases. I have even used a blank CD case or a thick piece of cardboard.

8. Power on the System an check that the hard drives have been detected properly.

9. Insert your CD and restart the System. Follow the instructions that were provided with the software that you are going to use.

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I have used Acronis True Image

by .Martin. In reply to Noob Needs Bigger Hard Dr ...

in past, and found the interface very easy to follow, pretty much plug the second HDD in, run the program, following all prompts, once finished, plug new HDD in as master drive

Acronis True Image Home can be found at

*I in no way do, or ever have, worked for Acronis, nor any of it's sub-parties, I only recommend their software as I have had great experiences with it in the past*

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by DMambo In reply to Noob Needs Bigger Hard Dr ...

Start off here:

Also, I use UBCD4WIN, but that might not be required if you're talking a one-time shot.

As stated above, Acronis is a nice tool. Also, Norton Ghost was made for this, but it's not free.

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It's amazing

by Jacky Howe In reply to Sysprep

what you can achieve with Sysprep and Imagex. Of course you need the AIK.
If I can find some time I might try and put something together so that a novice can use them to prepare and capture an image.

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One important word of warning for you ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Noob Needs Bigger Hard Dr ...

There have been quite a few instances (believe it or not) of Users setting everything up correctly for their cloning project. Every single detail has been checked and rechecked and it's all hunky-dory.

THEN they elect the WRONG drive as the Source - cloning the empty drive over the top of their existing system drive, wiping it out in the process.

I'm sure that won't happen to you but I just thought it was worth mentioning!

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