How to Use two Hard Drives on the Same Computer

Adding a second hard drive to your computer can give you extra storage or the option of using a second, different operating system. Second hard drives can be either internal or external and both are easy to set up and use. No real knowledge of computers and how they work are needed and adding that second drive shouldn’t be overwhelming. Once installed, the second hard drive is available as a drive letter and visible when clicking on “My Computer."

Things You'll Need

  • Second hard drive
  • USB or Serial Port connector (for external)
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Instructions

    • 1

      Decide in advance if you want the second hard drive to be used internally or externally. An external hard drive gives you the option of unplugging it and moving it from computer to computer. An internal drive is fixed and remains in place at all times.

    • 2

      Plug in the second hard drive to either the USB or Serial Port before booting your computer if you have chosen an external hard drive. Once the computer has fully booted, the hard drive is ready for use.

    • 3

      Use the second hard drive in the same way you would use a zip or flash drive. Set up any software that allows automatic backups to use the second drive as the backup drive. You can also use the copy and paste command within any document or picture folders to make copies of folders on the second hard drive in the event of a crash on the main hard drive.

    • 4

      Set up regular backups of your main “C” drive to your second drive. This can be done easily by clicking the "Backup" option under "Program," "Accessories" and "System Tools" from your start menu. By doing this, you will never be at risk of losing important data or media files.

    • 5

      Store large media files such as videos and MP3’s on the second hard drive. These types of files take up needed space on the primary hard drive. By moving them to the second hard drive, you computer will run faster.

Tips & Warnings

  • A second hard drive can fail just as the primary hard drive can. Always back up important data to CD or DVD and store these disks in a safe place.

  • An external hard drive can be used to transfer files from one computer to another.

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