How To Prepare A Second Hard Disk Drive For Use In Windows XP

In this guide you will learn… 

• How to prepare a second hard disk drive for use in Windows XP. 

Real world application… 

• The need for larger hard disk drives for more storage space requires the installation of a new hard disk drive. To make full use of your hard disk drive you need to prepare the drive in a number of ways. 


So you’ve just installed a second hard disk drive to give you more storage space and you now need to use the new hard disk drive. As you have probably done on numerous occasions you click on My Computer hoping to find the icon of the second drive sitting next to the first one. However you will more than likely find that this is not the case. The reason for this is because the new hard disk drive has to be initialized. Then you will have to create a partition [when a partition has been created it should be seen in My Computer] and finally you will have to format the partition. 


Whilst this guide will not deal with the installation of a hard disk drive, this guide will cover the ways on how to prepare a hard disk drive for use in Windows XP. 

To prepare a hard disk drive involves the following…

• Initialize
• Create A Partition
• Format A Partition

Note: This guide is only applicable to IDE type hard disk drives and Windows XP Home Edition.

Assuming you have installed your second hard disk drive this is how you prepare a second hard disk drive for use in Windows XP.
By viewing My Computer you can see that only the first hard disk drive is recognised and there appears to be no sign of the second hard disk drive.

To see all of the disks [whether a hard disk or optical drive] that Windows XP recognises, you will have to open Disk Management and to do this click on Start and choose Run.

Now Type: diskmgmt.msc

Then click OK or press Enter and Disk Management will open.

Initialize Disk

Within Disk Management you should see your second hard disk drive recognised as Disk 1 and if you right click on disk 1 you will then have to choose Initialize Disk.

Simply click OK for Disk Management to initialize Disk 1. If you have more hard disk drives that need to be initialized then they will be once you click OK. If for any reason you do not want a hard disk drive to be initialized then deselect that particular drive.

New Partition…

You will now have to create a New Partition and to do this right click on Disk 1 and choose New Partition.

New Partition Wizard

You should now see the New Partition Wizard and this is a very easy way to create a new partition.

Click Next to continue.

Partition Types Explained 

You will now have three partition types that you can choose to use. Generally you can choose either if you have nothing specific for the partition that you will be creating. By reading the descriptions of each type you can understand which to choose.

A Primary Partition: can be used when you need to install another operating system to the hard disk drive as operating systems need a primary partition from which to start from. However you can also use this type of partition for simple data storage. You can have up to a maximum of 4 Primary partitions.

An Extended Partition: must be created so that you can create Logical drives. You cannot format an extended partition you can only create Logical Drives from it. You are only limited on size of the extended partition with regards to how many logical drives you can have. Choosing an extended partition is ideal if you wish to have many volumes.

A Logical Drive: can be created from an extended partition. If you want several volumes then creating logical drives is the only way to go about this.