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Please Help - Need to add a 2nd Hardrive in dell optiplex 745 (small desktop version)

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Please Help - Need to add a 2nd Hardrive in dell optiplex 745 (small desktop version)

  • I just bought a new Dell OPtiplex 745 (XP Pro

    w/a duo core 3.4ghz, 180gb harddrive)


    I am shocked that the pdf specs sheet says that

    I cannot add a second hard drive to this machine.

    (as this was never aproblem in the past I did not even think to check it)


    I would have no problem removing the A drive (why is that even in there)

    but I see the connectors are now different

    Can I buy a different cable to support this?

    I really need to add a second harddrive

    and there is plenty of room in there.


    Thank YOU







  • Under the specs of the small form factor desktop, it says the system has 2 SATA ports; one for 1 harddrive and another for the CD-ROM (DVD, or whatever).

    There are no ATA ports.

    So if you can live without the optical drive, you could try to put a harddrive in the floppy drive bay and then disconnect the optical drive to put that SATA cable in the 2nd harddrive. You may still need a converter for power, unless the optical drive has a regular SATA power cable and can reach the floppy bay.

    Otherwise I'd suggest to buy a USB enclosure and put your 2nd drive in there, or just replace the factory drive with a single larger drive.

    If you have to have 2 harddrives and an optical drive, return the system and buy a tower version of the 745.

    Member since 2003

  • Thank you for your reply - I have the 'desktop' version. (I call it small desktop bc most people take desktop to mean tower or mini-tower)



    I need the dvd driuve but not the A drive, does it make any difference because of the pc case?

  • The desktop also seems to have just 2 SATA ports (see specs here<ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>).

    Only the tower model has 4 SATA ports (and room for 2 harddrives, 2 optical drives and a floppy drive).

    Manufacturers design computers based on what the majority of users would want from the computer. Those customers needing a small case will generally not need 2 harddrives, so why implement extra SATA ports when you can save a bit on that if probably 99% of the users will never even use it?


    Edit: here<ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell> are the tower specs

    Message Edited by Dev Mgr on 09-24-2008 01:27 PM

    Member since 2003

  • Thank You, yes makes sense.

    SO I guess I will got for the former suggesiton of using my new 250 gb harddrive. The quesiton is, This drive had only been a 'slave' or secondary drive prior. I know I would need to switch the little selector/connector to primary drive but how do I get it with the same version of windows XP Pro. I do have the dell disk that came with the pc, I am just worried about how to get it to the boot-up menu with the new drive in there.. and btw. thanks for All your help! awesome.

    Message Edited by albert2007 on 09-24-2008 02:01 PM
  • This isn't a 'pretty' solution (you may or may not feel 100% comfortable with some of this, but if you do it 'smart' (just use common sense) it's pretty safe), but here are some possible steps:

    I assume you have fully tested backups of your data (don't blame me if something goes wrong and you lose important data :-)).

    - buy something like Acronis Disk Director
    - install this
    - make a rescue disk for Disk Director
    - power off the system and open the computer case
    - put the bigger drive somewhere safe near/in the system
    - disconnect the cdrom and hook the SATA cable to the 2nd harddrive
    - power up the system

    Now you go into the Disk Director.

    - Go to the 2nd drive and if you have existing partitions on this drive, shrink them to the back of the drive leaving the same space as the total size of the first drive
    - now you copy the partitions from the first drive to the free space on 2nd drive
    - shut down the system
    - disconnect the first drive and put the 2nd drive in it's place (cabling wise and physical location)
    - reconnect the cdrom
    - boot the system
    - if the system won't boot, boot to the rescue media and see if the windows boot partition is active, if not, make it active and reboot again

    Member since 2003

  • Hi Albert,

    Why not do what I did?

    I set up a Dell 745 for a friend and found I could not easily add their old IDE drive (40Gb) as a slave.

    So I used a USB external drive and Macrium Reflect (free) imaging software to take an image of the old drive.

    I then re-partitioned the new drive (300GB) so it had a second logical drive(40GB) that I could put the image on using Macrium Reflect.

    I used Partition Magic on the new drive but there are plenty of free utilities that will do it...even GParted on a Linux Live Boot distro CD.

    Just use the external USB drive as the source and restore the image to the new partition.

    Now the old drive is sitting on the new physical drive and I can access all the files there easily.

    It takes a little time but it is easy.