Upgrade Hard Drive

By AtlBo ·
I have a Dell Optima 260 that is a good machine for my uses. I have 2GB RAM inside, and I would like to purchase a bigger hard drive. At 4allmemory.com I read that it is not wise ("highly recommended") to upgrade a hard drive by more than 4x the capacity of the current hard drive in a computer. Is this true, and, if so, could someone explain to me why this is true? According to what I read, the reason was "compatability", but I don't know exactly what that would mean in this case. My current hard drive is only 20GB, and I would like to upgrade to a 200GB hard drive to eliminate the need to upgrade in the future. Thankyou in advance...

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memory does not equal HDD

by Kenone In reply to Upgrade Hard Drive

More depends on your OS and BIOS level than anything else.
Without that critical info I will venture a guess that you could slap a 200 gig drive into that machine as either the primary or a slave drive without much trouble. If you can find one.

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We answered this question 15 months ago ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Upgrade Hard Drive
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Ashamed I'm Scottish

by TechMitch In reply to We answered this question ...

Your reply here nor does the link you provide answer his question, and is a little smug IMHO. I'd suggest anger management, and maybe some social etiquette classes. Or get out of IT altogether. 2 cents

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Au contraire mon frere du Caledonia ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Ashamed I'm Scottish

The OPs PC was getting old 15 months ago - so 15 months later it is even older.

If he increases the size of his HDD by as much as he intends, if he's lucky enough that his system can identify the drive and the BIOS can see the full capacity, he'll have to purchase a new, more powerful PSU or face the chances of doing untold damage to his computer.

Whatever he has already paid out for his shiny new 2GB of RAM, plus the retail cost of the new HDD, plus the cost of a decent PSU - he'll be looking (so far) in the region of 100GBP - but won't actually HAVE any improvement in the performance of his PC.

Add to this scenario, the physical constraints of age (which every PC must undergo), and the incompatibility of his existing system with any newer upcoming software and the frustration that may give him. I'd say it was money ILL-SPENT.

But that's only my opinion - which I am entitled to as much as any Expat!

If you had taken the time to actually READ what the OP had posted with 15 months ago, you might not be so quick to judge:...

"I want to upgrade the performance to bring the machine up to current standards and have $350 to spend."

So perhaps you can bring your condescending expertise to bear, and illustrate to me just how installing 2GB of RAM and buying an oversized HDD will achieve what the OP actually wants??!!

Thought not ... :)

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Well the answer here is quite easy

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Upgrade Hard Drive

This has a 20 GIG IDE HDD so attempting to shove a 200 GIG IDE Drive into the system will result in the BIOS being unable to recognize the new HDD.

IDE Drives have a Upper Limit that the BIOS can support and in a case like this just doubling the size of the drive is about all that is possible without other parts being added.

To go to a 200 Gig or Bigger HDD you would need to fit a suitable Controller Card for the HDD type that you buy and insert it in a unused Plug In Socket on the M'Board to run a HDD that was so much bigger and you would need to replace the PS with a bigger one to prevent the destruction of your computer.

So here you would need a PCI Controller Card that didn't have a Chip Set Incompatibility with your M'Board and you would have to install the driver for it as you installed your OS with the 20 GIG IDE Drive removed.

If you do not remove the existing HDD you will be required to leave it in place as it is the Primary Boot Drive which has the Initial Boot Files written to it. If you remove it after loading your OS to a drive connected to a Controller Card the system can not boot.


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Thanks for the Replies

by AtlBo In reply to Well the answer here is q ...

I have already upgraded a few things like adding a backup USB drive and upgrading the sound card, and, although this is a older machine, I enjoy the tinkering, and I really don't need a better one, so adding the hard drive seems like a logical thing to do to me at this point. I can have ample room for anything that might come along in the future without the hard drive being pressed to the maximum of its capabilities.

I have had the hard drive replaced once by a technician, because it failed, but all I remember about the experience was that he had to reinstall the drivers from Dell. Since that change, everything has gone smoothly, and I am very happy with the results and performance, but the drive is just smaller than I would like.

About the previous thread I posted, as I mentioned, I enjoy tinkering, so I prefer upgrading this machine to buying a new one.

I think what I need is a checklist that I can go through to complete this upgrade. I will keep looking around, and, again, thanks for the replies...good information...

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You wont have a problem

by IC-IT In reply to Thanks for the Replies

The Intel(R) 82845G chipset/BIOS can handle a 200GB drive.
If you use the manufacturer's utilities, you may clone the old drive to the new one.
Just insure that you use at least XP with SP1 or you may run into the 137GB limit.

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Thanks bwil...

by AtlBo In reply to You wont have a problem

Thanks for the info. I have XP w SP2. I think I may even have installed SP3 for some reason. I think I was trying to get an external DVD R/W working and read somewhere that the DVD player would work if I installed SP3. I eventually got it working, but, anyway. I have a couple of questions about cloning the hard drive. What would you suggest as the best way to go to clone the drive? I have an external hard drive with more than enough room to hold all the info on my computer, but what do you suggest? Is there a best procedure to use? Sorry, I am a total novice in this area...almost a total novice in every area, I suppose. OK, thanks for your input and advice...

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Depending on your current system

by IC-IT In reply to Thanks bwil...

Hopefully you either have or can borrow an IDE connector that has the three connections i.e. 1-motherboard, 1-slave, & 1 master.

Then you just attach the new drive as a slave and boot from the manufacturer's disk.

There will be an option to clone the drive.

Here is a link to the WD directions;


It is doubtful that you will require a new PS.

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Thanks again bwil

by AtlBo In reply to Depending on your current ...

The dual connection ribbon I understand. As for the power cable/connection, I am a bit confused. Is there a way for me to power the backup/slave drive (new one) off of the old one (a connection port...there appears to be a port to run a power cable to another HD from my current one) for the boot and clone? Or do I need a new power cable with a Y splitter? My power cables are all jumbled, and it looks like it might be a challenge getting into my area where the power cable joins the power supply unit, but I think I can do it if I have to.

Seems like this should be so easy for me, but I am a total noob. Oh well, thanks again for your help...

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