Adding a New Hard Disk to a Windows System Using PQ Drive Copy

Have you ever considered adding a new hard disk to your Windows 95 computer, because your old one is running out of room? Well, then how were you going to transfer your existing system from your old hard drive onto your new one?

Jon Hart contributed this very nice set of instructions on how to use the PowerQuest DriveCopy program to do just that. This is a commercial program that is widely available for under $30.

Note that this procedure assumes that you are already familiar with low-level things like setting drive parameters in the computer's CMOS memory, and other general DOS type wrangling. If you aren't familiar with these low-level procedures, then PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS YOURSELF!

It is the most painless way to upgrade your hard drive that I have ever run across. Note, the only requirement is that the drive being set up as the new drive C: be larger than your current drive C:, as well as both drives being EIDE drives.

  1. If you are using DOS 6.22 or WIN95, you will want to run SCANDISK and DEFRAG on your current drive C: prior to upgrading. This will eliminate DRIVE COPY from aborting should an error be encountered. Never mind what Windows 95's DEFRAG program says about your drive only being 3% fragmented and does not need it. Do it anyway because if DRIVE COPY detects an error, it will dump you out and recommend that you run SCANDISK and DEFRAG prior to restarting. Might as well do it in the first place and be done with it.

  2. You do NOT have to FDISK or FORMAT the new drive C: prior to installing it. All you NEED to do is to set up your original drive C: as drive D: in CMOS and jumper it for slave. The new drive needs to be set up in CMOS as drive C: and jumpered as master. When you are sure the parameters are correct for each drive, save the CMOS settings and exit. [Make SURE that you understand the preceding paragraph. ed.]

  3. Power down and reboot from a clean boot floppy. When you get to the A: prompt, insert your DRIVE COPY diskette and type PQDC (which is a batch file to start the program.) DRIVE COPY will load and go out and do some preliminary research on your drives, then it will start and do its magic.

  4. If your original C: drive had, say, four 250 meg partitions on it, then your new drive will have four equal size (not 250 mb) partitions as well. The size being determined by the size of the new drive and not by the size of the original partitions. If your original C: drive had only one partition, then your new drive will have only one partition as well.

  5. All system files and data files will be copied to the new drive C: and or subsequent partitions just as it would appear on the original drive. No need to run tape backup or anything like that. When you're done, you must power down and decide whether to keep your original drive as drive D: (slave) or remove it from the system entirely. Should you remove it, consider that it's contents are an exact copy to date of what has just gone onto your new hard drive. If you should encounter an INFANTILE failure in your new hard drive, you're still left with the option on reinstalling the original C: drive and getting back in operation. Not a bad insurance policy...just remember that should you need to reinstall it, you must jumper it back to master and reset the CMOS configuration. If you remove the slave drive, now D:, you must get into the Setup program and delete the CMOS entry for DRIVE D: and save the settings.

  6. Once you have made your decision as to remove the D: drive or keep it as a slave, you must power down and reboot the system. Make sure to remove the boot disk from the floppy drive first. Once you reboot, your system should start from the new drive C: regardless of the operating system that you are using. Once you get to see that everything is ok, I would recommend that you run SCANDISK and DEFRAG on the new drive C: just to make sure everything is ok and to identify any future problems that may be lurking around the corner.

  7. WIth the exception of running SCANDISK and DEFRAG, this entire procedure should take you less than 20 minutes, depending upon the size of your drive that needs to be copied. The hardest part is getting the submini jumper on the hard drive into the correct position for being a slave. It's pretty fast, very thorough, and you don't have to fool with FDISK or FORMAT, which to the novice can bring some comical results. [Ahem! ed.]

One try and you'll be hooked. Drive Copy should be at the top of everyone's list of utility programs to have on hand.

Jon Hart