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I have a desktop PC already set up, containing a small SSD drive which is currently running Windows 7 64-bit Enterprise Edition.

It has been running for several months now, and it is now time to add a second drive for the purposes of bumping up storage capacity dramatically. I do not want to add a second SSD or do any sort of RAID configuration (either 0 or 1) with the existing SSD drive. I want to add a regular, relatively cheap hard drive.

How can I add a second drive to my existing setup and without having to reinstall Windows? What are my options?

My existing SSD drive is fine for running Windows itself, plus a few big apps, (ex. Office). But for installing more apps or simply storing data (ex. MP3s, PDFs) I will need a second, large capacity storage drive.

I am assuming I will be forced to create a new partition on the new hard drive, in that I will not be able to extend the existing partition on the SSD across the new hard drive. My only experience with working with multiple drives on the same machine has been with RAID configurations in which the two (or more) hard drives in question were of the exact same capacity and type. In that specific case, having one partition spread across multiple drives has been possible.

To be clear, I cannot get away with simply using the new hard drive to store basic files (MP3s, PDFs). I will actually need to install applications on to that drive as well (ex. iTunes, Firefox).

I do not know if there is a difference between these two concepts, considering there will be two different physical drives and (I'm assuming) two different partitions -- only one of which contains Windows.

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I'd encourage you to touch base with your IT department on this, since it's possible that some group policies or somesuch might actually affect how you can handle this. (I assume this is a corporate system due to Enterprise Edition, which is only available in large-volume licensing.) – Shinrai Apr 26 '12 at 21:22
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Installing Firefox on a second HDD instead of a SSD is taking a step backwards. You will probably want to keep all the applications you use frequently on your SSD so that you don't lose the benefits it gives you.

As for multiple HDDs.

Typically you will install a HDD into the case. Then when Windows boots up next it will pick up the drive, and show it in "My Computer". Double-Clicking on the icon will typically present you with the option to format it. You will need to format it to work with it, NTFS is the better format to use, make sure you set it to quick, a full format is completely unecessary in 99% of the cases.

After this Windows will typically mount the drive to the next available drive letter, it goes in alphabetical order. C: is the first drive letter you can use, then D, etc. No two devices can use the same drive letter, and work properly.

Now that you have your HDD formatted and mounted to a drive letter, it's as easy as installing applications to that folder. Do not copy applications straight over as this will break registry links and the applications probably won't work. It's better to install fresh onto the new drive.

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Good advice, except that the part about Firefox on a second hard drive isn't really helpful. Once it's in memory the performance is moot. Cache files will be saved to the SSD anyway, in the user profile. – user3463 Apr 27 '12 at 1:02
Randolph you could say this for any app, so why have an SSD in the first place, people want it for overall performance, even when launching applications quickly, not just fast boots. – Moab Apr 27 '12 at 1:41
Firefox was not a good example of an app I would put on the second hard drive--it is just an example of an app. Unfortunately, though, with something like 64 GB which I have on my SSD, installing Windows 64-bit with all of the service packs--after partitioning the 64 GB--leaves about half of the drive usable for installing apps. Throw big apps into the mix like Office or WOW, and you really are going to have to install many (probably the majority) of your apps on the hard drive, not the SSD. – nairware Apr 27 '12 at 2:18
I'm happy to remove my comment, if Firefox was a bad example. I'd agree in the context of larger applications, certainly. – user3463 Apr 27 '12 at 3:53
@Randolph, Firefox is actually a good example because some people tend to save all their tabs when they close. Re-opening Firefox with so many tabs on an SSD is much faster than a spinning disk HDD. – BloodyIron Apr 27 '12 at 13:41

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