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Setup A Hard Disk Drive in the Media Bay

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You just purchased a hard drive media bay carrier for your notebook. You install the hard drive in the media bay and you think that you are done. The hard drive is recognized in the BIOS, the new hardware was installed and Windows XP's Device Manager sees the hard drive but your Windows Explorer does not see it.

To make the hard drive visible to Windows Explorer, you have to set it up. Here are the instructions on how to do it in Windows XP. The procedure is similar if you are using Windows 2000.

Note: To perform the following procedure, you must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group.

This following procedure was performed on an Inspiron 8000 running BIOS version A22. This same procedure can be applied to any notebook computer with a media bay hard drive. To see how to install the hard drive in the media bay carrier, go to How to Install a HDD in a "C" Series Media Bay Carrier or How to Install a HDD in a "D" Series Media Bay Carrier.

When I inserted the Media Bay Hard drive into the computer, Windows XP automatically recognized it.


Step 1:

Go to the Control Panel and open "Administrative Tools". Then double click on "Computer Management".

Step 2:

If the items under Storage are not showing, click on the (+) sign to expand the list. The list has already been expanded in this picture.

I installed a new IBM (Hitachi) Travelstar 7K60 60GB ATA-6 2.5 inch 7200RPM Mobile Hard Drive. As you can see, Windows is showing only 55.88 GB. Do not worry. You have not been ripped off. Refer to the Hard Drive FAQ to see why there is a difference.

Disk 1 is the new hard drive in the Media Bay. At this point, it has not been initialized.

Step 3:

Right click on Disk 1 and choose "Initialize Disk".

Step 4:

Make sure that "Disk 1" is checked and then click on the "OK" button.

Step 5:

Then right click on "Disk 1" again and choose "Properties".

Step 6:

Click on the "Policies" tab and uncheck "Enable write caching on the disk" if you plan on hot swapping media bay devices. If caching is enabled, Windows may not allow you to remove the hard drive safely because Windows will be accessing it.

I will be hot swapping my drives so I chose to uncheck caching.

Step 7:

At this point, all of the disk space is unallocated which means it has not been assigned a drive letter yet. This is why you can not see the new drive in Windows Explorer.

Right click on the "Unallocated" section and choose "New Partition".

Step 8:

The "New Partition Wizard" will start up.

Step 9:

If you are planning to boot from the media bay hard drive, you must choose "Primary partition". For these instructions, let's assume you want to boot from the HDD in the media bay.

Select "Primary partition" and click on the "Next" button.

Step 10:

On this screen, you will select the size of the partition. If you want to set up one large partition, just click the "Next" button.

I will split the disk into two equal partitions.

Step 11:

Since I want two equal partitions, I entered "28612" in the "Partition size in MB:". Enter the size of the partition that you prefer.

Step 12:

Now you can assign the drive letter. In my system, the next available drive is "J". The wizard will automatically select it but you can assign any drive letter that is not being used.

Once you have selected the drive letter, click on the "Next" button.

Step 13:

Here you can choose your "File system". Here, I have chosen NTFS and I left the "Allocation unit size" set to default. If you do not know what this is, just leave it set to "Default".

Now enter your "Volume label".

Once you have completed this, click on the "Next" button.

Step 14:

This Dialog box shows you the options that you have selected. Look at them. If they are wrong, click on the "Back" button and re-enter your selections.

Once you are satisfied that everything is correct, click on the "Finish" button.

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