How to install additional hard drives in XP

Installing a second hard drive in Windows XP is not as easy as it should be. If you're accustomed to plug-n-play devices, it just seems logical that XP would detect the drive and take the steps to install it. But it doesn't. You have to manually install the hard drive in XP.

How to install a hard drive in Windows XP

  1. Follow the manufacturers instructions and install the physical disk in your computer.
  2. Boot your computer into Windows XP.
  3. Windows XP should recognize that you have added additional hardware and display a new hardware ballon near your system clock.
  4. Open Disk Management in Windows XP.
    From the Desktop or Start Menu, right click on My Computer and select Manage. This will open the Computer Management window. Click on Storage and select Disk Management. (image)
  5. Initialize the new drive.
    Windows XP may launch the Partition Wizard to initialize the new drive. If so, skip ahead to the Partition Wizard step below. If not, right click on the new drive (it will be detailed as 'Not Initialized' and show a black bar to the right of it's properties) and select Initialize. This will prepare the new drive to be used by Windows. A simple wizard will be displayed to confirm your selection.
  6. Right click on the drive's listing and select Partition. Follow the Partition wizard to finish the install process.
    The wizard will prompt you for several responses (image 1, image 2)prior to creating the partition.
  7. Finished! Once the drive has been initialized, partitioned, and formatted it will display as a healthy drive with the size and type of partition below the volume name and drive letter (image).

The trickiest part of the whole process is finding the Disk Management area. Once you get there, it's a piece of cake. Why is it hidden in XP? I have no idea. Hopefully the Service Release 2 will contain an update that will make installing a new hard drive easy in Windows XP.

  1. I never found it to be that hard. But then, when I first got XP, I had come from a couple years of Windows 2000 Professional installs, which are very similar and along the lines of NT4.

  2. Well, perhaps "hard" is the wrong term. I don't think installing a new drive is sufficiently…intuitive in XP. When you look at the product positioning of XP Home & XP Pro, the process for adding a hard drive (which is becoming more & more commonplace) ought to be very simple for user. I'm hopeful that it will be more intuitive in the future.

  3. Thank you for your most informative article on installing a second hard drive in windows xp.
    I was driven absolutely bonkers trying to do just that.I certainly would never have found the disk management area on my own.Once again thank you very much ! Everything is working just fine !
    T.Gardner
    Scotland