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xRichard Baugh

Concise Guide Series

How to install a new hard drive (Part Two)

Part One | Part Two

The next step involves telling your computer about it's newest addition.

Configuring the CMOS

Once you have physically installed the drive you have to set the new drive up in the computer's
BIOS. To access this part of the computer, look at what it says when it first starts up; usually pressing the DEL key will gain you access. Consult the manual for your computer or motherboard for specific directions for your machine.

One of the first options you will see will say
CMOS setup. This section is where you will set up your new drive's parameters. Here you can setup your new drive manually by entering the amount of cylinders and heads or you can choose another part of the BIOS setup called auto detection of HDD (hard disk drives) I always prefer this method!

This will automatically detect a series of drives, with options asking if this is the right drive. Enter what it asks (i.e. 'Y' or 'N') for the right drives. This will automatically update the CMOS and tell the computer that there is a new drive present.
Finally, we must configure the file system so your operating system can use your new drive.

Partitioning and High Level Format

All modern hard drives come from the factory with a low level formatting structure set on them but you will have to do another kind of format yourself. You will need to do a high level format and set up any partitions you want on the drive.

To partition the new drive, select it's drive letter (e.g. C:) and type "fdisk" at the prompt. This will bring up the fdisk menu. Make sure you are on the right drive via option 5 "change current fixed disk drive". Once you are working on the right drive letter you can create a DOS partition via option 1. Press 1 and enter to get to this section. There will be a message asking whether or not you want the whole drive to be a single partition. If that is the case, press 'Y' to this prompt or 'N' if you want to have other partitions. Once the primary DOS partition has been created, the computer will be rebooted.

In order to use the new drive it needs to be formatted. This is done by typing in the dos prompt "format C:" (or whatever the letter of the drive is). Your drive is now ready for use.

If you want to create other partitions after the primary one, then you have to go into fdisk again after the reboot and create an extended DOS partition. This is done by pressing option 1 then option 2. The extended partition will be created but it can't be used until you have created a logical part of this extended partition. To create a logical partition press 1 and the 3 from the main menu of fdisk. You will be asked to define the size of the logical partition. This can be the whole of the extended partition or a size smaller (e.g. half of it); then the logical partition is created. Choose option 4 from the main menu to see the drive letters of the new partitions and then reboot your computer. Again, like the primary partition, the new part needs to be formatted before it can be used.



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