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Windows 7: New Hard Drive Question

31 Oct 2009   #1
GuruSteve

Winows 7
 
 
New Hard Drive Question

I will be purchasing a new SATA hard drive. Currently, I have a 120GB drive of which I've only used around 60GB. Most of the hard drives I see at my computer store are 320GB, 500GB, and 1T. This would be overkill for me.

I'm thinking about getting one of the 500GB hard drives and making two partitions: perhaps 120 and 380. I would like to install Windows 7 and all my programs and files on the C Drive (120GB), leaving the D Drive empty for now.

Question #1--Multiple partitions is new to me. In the past, I've just used a floppy boot disk to format and partition a drive (one partition) and then installed the operating system on it. Do I need to format and partition my new drive prior to installing Windows 7? Or, will Windows 7 do this for me?

Question #2--Will I end up with Windows 7 on both partitions automatically? Or do I have to choose which partition I want it on? Or, should I (or need to) put it on both partitions?

Question #3--Since I will have only one drive in my system, I will be using one SATA connector on the motherboard (Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H). The motherboard has five SATA connectors. Does it make any difference which connector I use? The M/B manual is unclear about this. It mentions a lot about RAID, but not much about those of us not using RAID.

Question #4--I understand that Windows 7 has native support for AHCI. So, after setting up the BIOS, is there any need to have any drivers available on a floppy during the Windows 7 install?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Oct 2009   #2
Qdos

 

You will find W7 will format your HDD during setup.

It can only install itself to one partition during the process.

Your motherboard SATA headers should be numbered on the PCB, it's a good idea to use the designated 01 header just to keep things tidy in the BIOS - however Windows Setup should find a drive connected to any of the five headers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2009   #3
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

You have to do the partitioning, but Windows will do the formatting without being asked. If you want to have 2 partitions, you will need to set up both of them during the install.

The first partition you make will be C. Choose that and that only to install to.

A bare install will probably be under 10 GB. After 15 years, I still have less than 10 GB of text files data--all the size is in pictures, mp3s, and video--particularly the latter.

If you have no plans to put anything on D, then why not just go with C only for the entire 500 GB? You can always make D at a later date by shrinking C to make room for it.

The choice of SATA connectors isn't critical as far as I know. If you are only going to have 1 drive, there won't be any confusion as to which it is.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Oct 2009   #4
GuruSteve

Winows 7
 
 

The only reason I decided to go with two partitions is that people keep telling me that putting everything on one partition would slow things down. I'm open to doing just one partition. Matter of fact, I'd rather do it that way.

What about SATA drivers with Windows 7? Was I correct in assuming that the OS has native support for AHCI and that I don't need to have any drivers available on a floppy or USB stick?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2009   #5
gregrocker

 

I haven't had to look for drivers in a year of working with Win7 betas to RC to RTM, except for a Linksys wireless G adapter I keep on a stick. But Windows Updates has a newer driver for that almost as soon as I start up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2009   #6
Dave76

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult x64 - SP1/ Windows 8 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GuruSteve View Post
The only reason I decided to go with two partitions is that people keep telling me that putting everything on one partition would slow things down. I'm open to doing just one partition. Matter of fact, I'd rather do it that way.

What about SATA drivers with Windows 7? Was I correct in assuming that the OS has native support for AHCI and that I don't need to have any drivers available on a floppy or USB stick?
The main reason it's recommended to have at least two partitions, one for the OS and programs and one for any data and personal files, is that it makes it easier to backup and much easier to re-install the OS if ever required.

I would recommend 60-80GB for the OS partition and the rest for personal files.

Question #1-
When your new HD is installed and you boot to the OS the first time it will be detected and you will be asked to initialize and partition it. Set your partitions as desired, make sure your OS partition is 'Primary' and mark as 'Active'. This will allow your boot files to be in the correct place.
For further reference this tutorial will explain everything: Partition or Volume - Create New
This can also be done during the installation, as explained in step #7 of this tutorial.
Clean Installation with Windows 7

Question #2-
Win7 will be installed on the partition you choose (see tutorial on Clean Install), you would have to install Win7 again to get it to install twice. It will not double install on both partitions.

Question #3-
As mentioned by Qdos, it's recommended to put your main OS drive in the Disk0 position, will depend on your MOBO numbering system. Will likely be the SATA port your previous HD was plugged into.

Question #4-
If the BIOS is set to AHCI or RAID when you install Win7, the correct drivers will be installed.
It wouldn't be a bad idea to have the AHCI and/or RAID driver loaded onto a USB stick, just in case.

If your BIOS is not set to AHCI or RAID now, it is best to switch it just before installing the new OS. If you switch it from, for example, IDE to AHCI or RAID and continue to boot to the OS, you will get a Blue Screen error. This is because the AHCI/RAID drivers have not been loaded. This can be resolved (if done accidently) by restarting the computer go directly to BIOS and change it back to IDE or the original setting, then continue to boot OS.

Your general steps would be:
Install your new HD, plug into any available SATA port, keeping the old HD plugged in.
Boot to OS, initialize new HD and format new partitions as mentioned above.
Shut down computer.
Un-plug SATA/power connections on old HD (remove if desired), put new HD SATA cable in the old HD SATA port (or DIsk0 position).
Start computer, go to BIOS and switch SATA mode to AHCI or RAID (if not set already), save and exit.
Boot to installation media (DVD or USB) continue installation as described in the Clean Install tutorial.

If you have any questions, just reply here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2009   #7
GuruSteve

Winows 7
 
 

To follow-up, I will also be installing a SATA DVD Rewriter.

My motherboard has five SATA connectors, 0-4. In the BIOS, the OnChip IDE Channel and OnChip SATA Controller are both enabled by default.

1. Should I disable the OnChip IDE Channel or just leave it enabled? I will not be using a IDE floppy (I don't think)...probably a USB floppy if I really need one.

2. Under OnChip SATA Type (0-3 connectors), my choices are Native IDE, Raid, AHCI. Well, I'm not using RAID since I will have only the one SATA hard drive. What about the other two choices? Which one should I choose, assuming that I will be using the above hard drive and DVD Rewriter?

3. Does it make any difference what SATA connectors I use for the hard drive and DVD Rewriter? Should I just go with 0 and 1?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2009   #8
Dave76

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult x64 - SP1/ Windows 8 Pro x64
 
 

Let us know if you want the steps to change your SATA settings in BIOS just before starting your installation. If your BIOS is set to RAID or AHCI when you install or re-install an OS it will add the appropriate drivers.

Is your old 120GB HD IDE or SATA?
If it's IDE and your planning on using it, this will change the below suggestions.

1. If you don't think you'll ever use the OnChip IDE Channel you can disable it.

2. What is the SATA setting now Native IDE, Raid or AHCI?
If you switch from IDE to Raid or AHCI you will get a blue screen error, because the drivers are not loaded.
This is best done when installing the OS.
You can use RAID even if your not going to have two or more HDs in a RAID setup, the HD(s) will be listed as non-RAID. I am running mine as RAID with both HDs as non-RAID, this way I can hot swap my eSATA external HD.

If your BIOS is set to RAID or AHCI you can take advantage of increased HD performance "Performance - Serial ATA technology supports both 1.5 Gbps (150 MB/sec) and 3.0 Gbps (300MB/sec) of performance to each drive within a disk drive array."

RAID will have the same functionality as AHCI, actually RAID is ACHI with additional features for different ways to use two or more HDs to act as one HD.

Your best choice is AHCI, you will get the benefits of increased performance and will be able to hot swap an eSATA external HD.

If it's already set to RAID, I would just leave it.

3. Generally accepted method is to put your main OS HD in the SATA port Disk0 position and your SATA DVD Rewriter in the SATA port Disk1 position.

Let us know if you have any more questions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2009   #9
GuruSteve

Winows 7
 
 

Thanks for the help, Dave. Much appreciated!

Just to clarify...this is a new motherboard, new hard drive, new DVD Rewriter, and new DDR3 memory (4GB). I will be doing the build tomorrow night and then installing the Windows 7 Upgrade, probably using the double install technique.

I noticed in reading the manual for my M/B that, during first POST, a message will pop up..."SATA is found running at IDE MODE!" I am then asked if I want to change to AHCI mode, Yes or No? So, it would appear that I can make the change there, or just go into Integrated Peripherals and make the needed changes (disable IDE controller, enable SATA Controller, and choose AHCI for type.

However, I just read somewhere on the internet that I should set the OnChip SATA type to "native IDE since this will enable the SATA chip. As long native IDE is enabled, you won't need to make a SATA driver diskette" to install Windows 7. Now I'm really confused!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2009   #10
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

I don't think you are likely to have to do the double install thing, although it is available. Could well be that you will just be able to activate----that's how it worked for me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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