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hi guys, I have a dell xps 17 and I am thinking to purchase an extra Hard Drive - as I have an extra slot available. Ideally I don't want less than 1TB, maybe even more (probably not solid state as they are still too expensive) so I was wondering:
-how do I know if there is a limit to the capacity of the HD? In that can I buy up to 1.5TB for the sake of argument?
-How is it going to work when I boot up? On the current HD I have installed Ubuntu and Windowd 7 and at boot time I can choose which OS to run. On the new HD I am planning to install Ubuntu again but with a virtual copy of windows 7 and if everything goes well, I will probably remove Ubuntu from the first one, resize it and leave the proper copy of WIndows 7
any idea?
thanks

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Last Post by Violet_82
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hi guys, I have a dell xps 17 and I am thinking to purchase an extra Hard Drive - as I have an extra slot available

Well how much does your first HD have? Do you have a lot of files? Why do you need the extra volume? I wouldn't recomend getting extra space until you actually think you'll need it (not to mention it drains battery life).

If you want to use the extra slot "because its there", then one (possibly better) approach to having 2 volumes is to have one smaller SSD and one larger HDD. The SSD would contain programs and the OS, while the HDD is used for documents and media. This will likely result in much better performance and better battery life. As long as you have enough room for all your stuff, then this is probably better then having extra unused space.

If you just need lots of space for whatever purpose though, then 2 big hdd's should work. Though, I would also consider using externals instead (again, better battery, possibly cheaper in some cases, lighter laptop, you wont loose all of your stuff if your laptop is destroyed or worse, stolen.) Also, it has the advantage of being transferrable to other devices.

Ideally I don't want less than 1TB, maybe even more

How much do you think you'll need? Extra space that is never used is useless. And not having enough space will also result in buying more storage. If you look at all of your documents and media, and you have only a few hundred gb, you might want to leave it be for a while. If it's growing slowly, figure out the rate it's growing at, and figure out how long you want to store all of your stuff on your laptop (and presumably you also have some kind of external backup as well).

how do I know if there is a limit to the capacity of the HD?

Simple: There is a limit. Or more accurately: "The currently understood laws of physics do not allow storage of an unlimited amount of information."

I think you might be asking "How do I know what the capacity of a HDD is?" though. The answer to that question is: "It's usually advertised with the hdd itself. Pay attention to units of measurement. If it's already installed in your computer, then your operating system should be away of it's maximum compacity."

If your asking what the maximum size for your laptop is: It's very very big. Don't worry about it.

If your asking what the maximum size for your operating system is: Most modern default file systems can handle at least a few hundred TB, and usually vastly more.

In that can I buy up to 1.5TB for the sake of argument?

You can buy a 1.5TB, unless your store doesn't sell them.

How is it going to work when I boot up? On the current HD I have installed Ubuntu and Windowd 7 and at boot time I can choose which OS to run. On the new HD I am planning to install Ubuntu again but with a virtual copy of windows 7 and if everything goes well, I will probably remove Ubuntu from the first one, resize it and leave the proper copy of WIndows 7

It works in anyway you set it up to work. I would suggest you put your OS's on the faster HDD, and use the other for a shared space (with your big media and documents). Keep it simple.

Edited by Hiroshe

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The answer to that question is: "It's usually advertised with the hdd itself.

Advertised poorly. Manufacturers tend to advertise in increments of 1000 rather than 1024, so a 1GB drive is smaller than a binary minded person would expect. Throw in necessary formatting and system reserved space, and the advertised size is woefully misleading. As drives grow, so does the amount of apparent loss.

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Thanks, I have to say I didn't consider all these things. My current HD is 250GB and as I said I have two OS's installed on it. Part of the problem with the upgrade is that ideally I want to keep my current settings (the 2 OS's on the same HD) and then in addition to have another virtual OS (windows 7) installed on ubuntu so I can run Windows 7 without rebooting. Now, if the settings you've described (having a ssd with the 2 OS's and the HDD with the media files) allows me to achieve the above, then I am more than happy to do that, but - and my understanding of virtualizazion are very poor - I thought that the OS to be virtualized had to be on the same HD of the OS from where the virtualization is done, in other words the virtual WIndows7 has to be on the same HD (or SSD) where Ubuntu is on: this I presume means that if I want to install software on the virtual OS, it has to go on the same disc or can it go onto the other HD with the media files etc?

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Well, if you only have 250GB a primary; then that changes things. I didn't think the xps 17 came with such a small hard-disk (my first generation xps 15 came with a 7200rpm 500gb, and that was the smallest option).

Assuming you only want to buy one hard disk, you might want to pick up a nTB hdd or external (as opposed to an ssd since I think you might need the space). Figure out how much space you think you'll use first though.

I thought that the OS to be virtualized had to be on the same HD of the OS from where the virtualization is done

VM's are very simple. The "hard drive" of a VM is just a normal file accessable from the host operating system. You are free to put the file wherever you wish as long as it's reachable from the host. I would suggest that you keep the "actual" OS's all on 1 hard disk for the sake of simplicity (and for the sake of your boot manager, and configuration). The "virtual" OS's can go where ever you wish (including on the filesystem being used by another OS).

I presume means that if I want to install software on the virtual OS, it has to go on the same disc or can it go onto the other HD with the media files etc?

For the sake of organization, if you install software on a virtual OS, I recommend keeping it in the guests virtual hard disk. This makes the virtual hard disk more portable and avoids confusion. Plus it's a lot easier to set up.

Edited by Hiroshe

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Cool, thanks. Now, I have to say I am not that knowledgeable when it comes to HD etc, so maybe you can tell me whether this is possible or not. Considering what we discussed above I will go with a big HD (let's call it disk B) and put it into the second slot available. On this HD I will install Ubuntu and then Windows 7 as a virtual OS. I would like to keep the old 250HD (let's call it disk A) where it currently is though, with all its content (and the 2 OS's) and I was wondering if I will be able to keep using it the way I do now if I want to: in other words will I be able to have 2 HD and still boot from disk A when I feel like, and use one of the two OS's in there, or boot from disk B and use one of the two OS's there, or is this complete heresy? There is of course a logic behind that, which is that I have so much software installed under Windows and Ubuntu on disk A that I can't possibly face a wipe out and reinstall - maybe I will in the long run but not straightaway.
thanks

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For the sake of simplicity, let's just ignore the VM for a moment, since it's just a program that runs on a host OS and we know it's flexible enough to do what you want.

You say on disk A you have Ubuntu and Windows installed. Now you say you want to install Ubuntu and Windows on disk B, and keep Ubuntu and Windows on disk A. This raises two questions. "Why and how". First, since your interested in knowing if it's possible, let's answer "how", and then I'll look into "why".

The problem with having multiple bootable disks is that you first need to configure the bios to boot into the correct disk, then you need to configure that boot manager on that disk to be aware of operating systems on other disks. I beleive grub can do this without too much problem (I haven't played with grub too much though). Or alternatively, you can just tell your bios what disk to boot off of first, and let each boot manager just manage it's own operating systems for the disk. Another approach would be to write a quick boot sector (I did this about 7 years ago, probably only 50 LoC). So there are a few ways to go about this, and it is definately "possible".

Thr next question is "why"? Why not just continue to use the operating systems on disk A, and use disk B to store your stuff? That way, once all of your stuff is saved on disk B, you can erase disk A and re-install the operating systems while your stuff is safe whenever you're ready to. This also has the advantage of when you get a new computer, the second hdd can just be transferred onto it, or it can be converted into an external if it doesn't have an extra hdd bay. Also, it saves space.

Edited by Hiroshe

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forgot to ask though, when I insert the second HD, the one where I will store all my documents etc, do I have to configure it somehow, or will it work out of the box?
thanks

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If it's just a data drive, it should work straight away. Depending on the OS, you may have to mount it first, but Windows will detect the drive automatically. Depending on the drive, you may need to format it, but I think most drives these days come preformatted with NTFS.

Edited by deceptikon

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OK cool, thanks, I will have to use for both windows and linux though, so I probably need to partition it

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