Adding second drive to Optiplex 360

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Disk Drives (Floppy, USB, HDD, CD/DVD/BD) discussion

Adding second drive to Optiplex 360

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I have a second SATA h.d. that I'd like to install for backing up the primary drive. I see that the primary drive has another connector at the end of the cable. The second hard drive has a blue cable already attached to it. I am assuming that the primary drive connector is a power cable and the blue cable on the second hard drive is a data connector that connects to the system board SATA 1. Am I correct? Once the hard drive connectors are in place I think I go into the BIOS and set up the second drive. But I'm not sure how to do that? Please advise. Thanks.

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  • Hi MEB99P,

    I assume you have the mini tower. Here are the instructions for installing a hard drive, including instructions on how to set up the BIOS.

  • Didn't see anything about setting up the BIOS. Is this the sequence:

    1. install second drive, connecting power connector from primary drive into second drive and connecting data cable from second drive on to SATA 1 on system board.

    2. Reboot - F2 - and configure BIOS to recognize second drive. (My BIOS shows both primary drive and second drive as "ON". Is that the correct configuration?

  • If both hard drives are shown as "on", then you should be all set. Just boot to Windows and partition the drive using disk management.

  • Don't know how to partition drive. Which drive, how and why? The second drive is 80gb. It probably has data on it. It was removed from another Optiplex that Dell replaced due to many, many problems. I want to use it as to backup the primary drive. How do I prepare it to do that? Thanks.

  • Ok, then it's already partitioned and should be good to go. In some cases, accessing a drive moved to a new machine will lock you out of files on that drive. If you run into that problem, do a search for "take ownership", which explains what you need to do.

  • Did a little reading on takeownership and it looks like it could be confusing. I'm still concerned when I try to change the properties in a file or folder in Vista. Seems like I have to screw around to have permission to do it even though I'm listed as an administrator.

    Do you know anything about this hack: If it works it makes life a lot less difficult. 

  • Yes, that appears to be a simple way to go. But what I would do is see what you can and cannot access on the added drive first, then use the take ownership procedure only if needed.

  • Thanks. Now that you've walked me through installing the slave, perhaps you can help on how to proceed to backup my computer...The slave is the old drive out of my Optiplex 320 which was replaced by Dell because it was "defective". The drive was fine. When I install it as a slave, it will have all my old programs included the XP operating system. I'd like to get rid of everything on it and, as I've said, use it as for backup. How do I clean off everything from it and then backup the primary drive on the Optiplex 360?

  • If you want to clean everything off, then simply open My Computer, right click the drive and select format. Use the quick format.

  • Put in the drive and everything seems to be OK.  It is showing up in My Computer under System as Local Disk (F). Drive C is listed as OS. There is a drive D which is Rocovery and E is the DVD/CD. Is this as it should be? I don't want to format F until I'm absolutely sure of what I'm doing. Formating will erase everything off the disk, correct? It should then be ready as the drive for a complete backup of my system. I'm running Vista Home edition.


  • Yes, F is the drive to format.

  • Done! Thanks for all your help. Everything went smoothly...Now, I downloaded Macrium Reflect and EaseUS Todo as backup software (free). Both confused me. Are you familiar with either or both? What I essentially want is a image of the software (including the operating system and the registry) in case the primary HD or the computer dies. I've had both happen with earlier Dells that were not very old at all.

    I used both programs and got files that I didn't understand. The Macrium compressed the "image" and from a 35GB drive I would up with a 9GB backup. That seems odd. I had read it would compress the backup by ~60% of the original. The EaseUS did a back up but also duplicated the whole C-Drive. I don't know why. Both help files were difficult to understand.

    Can you help out on this or suggest another backup program (free, if possible)? VISTA includes a backup program but I'm not really clear on what it does. I want something for worst case scenario. Computer dies and I can use the slave drive to restore everything...Thanks.

  • I haven't used either of those. The only imaging software I've used personally are Ghost and Acronis, neither of which is free.

    My suggestion would be to make sure you have a print-out of the procedure for restoring the image you have. This usually involves booting with a CD that can read the image and restore it to a new hard drive.

  • Both of the free programs screwed up, but I won't get into that here...Strangely, VISTA has an imaging backup for the whole system, but no instructions as to how to access that if the computer goes down. Microsoft has a System Recovery CD but Dell didn't include it with my system, nor any other disc to boot from if a problem occurs. So we have the extra drive but as of this date no way of using it if I don't purchase a program - which I might have to do. I was hoping not to but unless you know of a way of using the VISTA recovery system I may have to. Interestingly, I spoke with Dell Technical services twice about the Recovery DVD-CD. One tech said I don't have VISTA on my computer! Another said she would set me up for a conference call to get the CD for me, put me on hold and never came back.

    Methinks Dell is not what it used to be. If I need another computer, it won't be from Dell...

  • Dell technical services giving confusing information? I'm SHOCKED!! Big Smile

    Anyway, go here to order replacement discs for your computer.

    Yes, Vista does have its own backup and restore utility. Here is a nice tutorial. For a complete backup of the system image, that would be the best thing to use.