Upgrading to a bigger hard drive

By jimmy-jam ·
I have a Dell Inspiron 600M with a 30Gb hard drive. It currently only has 500Mb left available on it. I would like to put a bigger drive in it which should seem simple enough but here is my dilemma.

I read somewhere that when you upgrade as a rule of thumb you should never go more than double your current capacity but it didn't say why. I would just as soon walk into my local computer store and buy a drive than order one online plus a 160Gb drive is cheaper than a 40 or 80. Is upgrading to a 160 really going to give me issue? If so is there a way to overcome said issue? Anyone have any words of wisdom or tips?

Windows XP is the OS

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Perhaps In the Days Of DOS

by TheChas In reply to Upgrading to a bigger har ...

Perhaps in the days of DOS it might have been a good idea to limit the jump in size when upgrading a hard drive. This would have had more to do with the FAT16 and FAT32 files systems and their predecessors than anything else. I could see where too large of a change in the cluster size could cause problems when restoring an image from the old drive onto the new drive.

As far as Windows XP, your main concern is that you do have at least Service Pack 1 installed and are using the NTFS file system. If so, it should be safe to upgrade to even a 500GB or larger hard drive.

I did not research the age of your Dell system. There is a very slight chance that the BIOS on the Dell may have problems with very large drives. Even if that is so, the utilities that come with a retail drive or that you can download from the drive manufactures web site will help you work past that.

You can even use the hard drive manufactures utilities to copy your old drive onto your new drive if you don't feel the need to start over and install XP. I would recommend that you copy over the hidden recovery partition that might be on the hard drive from Dell.


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Currently I can not find any information on your Inspiron

by OH Smeg In reply to Upgrading to a bigger har ...

But with a 30 GIG Drive it sounds as if it would have a IDE Drive in it. The problem here is that IDE has a upper Limit in BIOS that can be supported so sticking to the Double Rule is probably a good idea.

Depending on your existing HDD you may also need to consider the fact of how much power is required to run the drive. IDE Drives used to require very little power in the Milliamps range where as the newer bigger drives required more power so as this is in a NB it will have a shorter Run Time on Battery which may or may not be an issue for you here as well.

But you should first remove your current drive look at what type it is either a IDE or SATA and then read the sticker on the top of the drive to see how much power it requires. Then look at the specs of a suitable drive that you may be interested in and take note of the Power Requirements of that drive. Compare the two together and there is your answer.

As for if your system will actually use a 160 GIG Drive that is a different story if it's a SATA Drive there shouldn't be a problem but it may be limited to SATA ! Data Transfer Speeds however you need to research your BIOS IDE Drives Upper Limit if it is a IDE Drive.

The reason why the smaller 40 -80 GIG Drives are so much more expensive is the fact that they are now a Low Sale Item so they do not make as many and the costs of production can not be defrayed over a larger number of drives in each product run. So because they make less to be used in older Hardware they are much more expensive then the more commonly used sizes.

The reason why HDD Makers still make these drives is purely because they can not be replaced with new larger drives.

With many NB's that used the smaller 20 or so gig Drives they had a very low upper limit on the sizes of the drives that they could use. Sometimes a BIOS Flash will fix this issue but often it will not as there are no newer BIOS's available.


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huh... i thought I read

by jimmy-jam In reply to Currently I can not find ...

That the 600M used a PATA drive. Admittedly I am not the best hardware Guy at least when it comes to that kind of stuff.

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PATA and IDE are the same thing

by OH Smeg In reply to huh... i thought I read

Just a different name that was adopted after the Serial ATA Drive was made popular.


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by jimmy-jam In reply to PATA and IDE are the same ...

I did not know that but now I do.


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Need IDE Drive

by willcomp In reply to Upgrading to a bigger har ...

An 80 or 160GB drive should work without problems. Drive must be an IDE drive and not a newer SATA drive. IDE drives are more expensive than SATA drives since production is either limited or discontinued due to decreased demand. There is little difference between prices of 80GB and 160GB 2.5" IDE drives.

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Rather than

by boxfiddler Moderator In reply to Upgrading to a bigger har ...

replacing (which is what I'm admittedly assuming you mean), why not add? Use the small drive for software, and the larger one for data. I've been doing this for years, and it pays off in that if my OS goes corrupt, I don't lose data if I have to redo the OS drive. I like that one.

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Boxy this is a NB not a Desktop NT

by OH Smeg In reply to Rather than
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by boxfiddler Moderator In reply to Boxy this is a NB not a D ...

I do the same with my lappies, in a roundabout way. Large external drives with the data on them. But I have to keep the data on the hard drive, too, so's I don't always have to carry the external.

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Bad Boxy

by OH Smeg In reply to Ack!

External Drives are not for full time use.

They get way too hot and much more importantly they suffer a lot of Vibration Damage. Great for Backup and so on but they should only be used when needed not a lot of the time.

Even with an actively cooled enclosure the Drives in External Cases still don't last anywhere near as long as they do inside a computer.


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