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new HDD

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Brrrr. Pretty cold these days.

My friends, I have spent an inordinate, exorbitant amount of time setting up my new hard disk drive. My computer, from which I blog and do all things digital, has been a one-drive system from the day I bought it almost two years ago. I have gleefully acquired for myself another drive (hereon referred to as "HDD") and plunged into unfamiliar territory of setting it up; hence the crazy amount of time it took. In my case, I want the new drive to be my main, or "system" drive with a clean install including clean install of applications.

If you would like the full details, please e-mail me. In fact, if you ever have questions, please e-mail me. In brief, the tasks for setting up were:
(1) Decide how to partition the drive -- I opted for two partitions, a 30GB for the operating system and programs, and the remainder of the HDD for data. Both NTFS.
(2) Enable AHCI in the BIOS.
(3) Perform clean install of Vista. During installation, there is an opportunity to partition the HDD; that's when the partitioning happens. No need to pre-partition the HDD.
(4) Install Vista updates and drivers, especially for your motherboard, monitor, and graphics card. Also any drivers that will help your internet connection gain optimum speed. In my case, I had forgotten the password to the modem and had to get that reset ... it ended up being among the last things that got accomplished. Regarding Vista updates, if you have service pack 1 (SP1) alread downloaded, it probably would help speed things up. I had SP1, but couldn't find it when I needed it.
(5) Edit registry so that Vista will create user directories in the data partition, not the system partition. There may be other ways, I don't know.
(6) Create user accounts.
(7) Install applications.
(8) Copy files from the "old" user accounts to the user accounts on the new HDD. Very important that folder options be used to enable viewing of hidden files ... e-mails are under those. If you copy files into each folder under each user, then the Vista folder icons will remain intact. If you copy the whole user folder over, the folder icons will be just the plain ones.
(9) Perform any other set-ups for other applications. In my case, I set up Windows Media Center so that I can watch and record TV, where to save the recording, and also tell it where to find the recordings already in the older HDD. E-mail was already set up when I copied the e-mail folders over. However, it will require that you confirm your password on first login if you have the "remember password" option enabled.
update: (9b) If you have collected fonts over time, copy the fonts over to the new drive.
(10) Use the back up feature in Vista to back up the system partition onto DVD's so that you won't have to go through this craziness again. (I have Vista Ultimate ... other editions might not have this feature.)

After a month or so, I may delete the old files. Alternatively, I can back up the data files onto DVD and go ahead and wipe clean the old drive.

The details of hunting and searching for "how to's," of false starts, wrong paths, and "grumbling" (putting it nicely) are not included in the list.

Now that it's done, I can go back to being busy about other things. Happy computing to all!