How to set up Vista with multiple hard drives?


Baseband Member
I'm soon going to install windows vista home premium 64-bit on my computer and I am also getting a new hard drive for my system since my old one if pretty full.

How do I set up the computer with my program files on one drive, and the other drive just for storage of photos, music, ect.

I'm new to having multiple drive on my system. So sorry if this is a noob question. Also, my system is raid compatible but I'm not sure of the benefits/drawbacks of using raid and whether I should use it.

FWIW - the new drive will not be the same capacity as the older one, and may not be the same brand since i haven't ordered it yet. This is the hard drive I currently have and plan on using for storing the program files


Golden Master

It will not be a problem at all to do what you ask.
Since the drives will be seperate drives, you can simply install Windows on one; for example if it's C: (The other maybe being D), and it will not affect the other drive, leaving the other open to anything else you want it for.

Once Windows is up, and the other drive you want to place data on isn't formatted yet; if its for example new, you can easily right click the drive, and select to Format it in NTFS.
This will then make it accessible for any media you wish to place upon it.

It gets slightly more complicated if you wanted to use one drive, and split them into two partitions or parts, but the Windows setup makes this pretty easy too.
It'd simply give you different partition sizes to choose from to split the data/programs the way you want to and perform the install as normal.
To Windows, the one drive would then be seen as two theoretical drives. This still provides you with a split (or multiple splits), but without needing two drives.
Sorry if you already know that.

To answer the RAID question, there are many types. The most common types are RAID 0, and RAID 1.
This is a list of the other RAIDs, and what they do:

RAID 0 is a striped array, in which you need 2 drives for it to function, and works in such a way that access times are a lot faster, so programs/games load quicker.
On the offset however, it means that if one drive was ever to fail, you'd lose all the data, since both drives are needed to mantain the entire image.

RAID 1 however also needs 2 hard drives, but one is simply a mirror, or a copy of the other. Within Windows, the 2 drives will be seen as one, and anything that is copied onto one, will be copied to the other.
The offset of using this technique is that you basically lose the entire contents of one drive, due to it being used as backup, BUT gain the knowledge that if one drive failed, everything would be safe. All that you would need to do, is insert a drive of the same model/capacity preferably (for performance) and it'd rebuild the array.

Its the way mine run, and have had one hard drive fail, but the RAID 1 array saved all my data from destruction.

You should always backup anyway, but it gives you that little bit of extra confidence.

I hope this helps :)


Baseband Member
Yeah sounds good Kage

I would prefer to have one drive just for my installed programs, and another for all my data.

So install windows normally on the first drive, add the new drive to the system, then format to NTFS.

But how does windows automatically know that "my documents" "my photos" "my music" ect. should be on the second drive? Is there another step that I'm missing to get windows to accomplish this. Also is there a way to make windows save anything on the desktop to the second drive?


edit - do you guys have any input on HD's since i haven;t bought mine yet. I've had good luck western digital and seagate. newegg does have a good deal on a samsung 500 GB for $50 (

a seagate drive is about 10 bucks more (not much i know, but if samsung's are good why not save the money)

also, is it preferable to have drive from the same manufacturer so does it not matter?


Golden Master
You can insert both drives before installing Windows, and just select the one you want Windows to be installed to.

As for the second question, there is a way of doing this, but I'm not entirely sure how...

Windows will store data like that on the drive Windows is installed on, and the same for the Desktop data.

It is your decision however to place music in the My Music, and photos in the My Photo's folder however, and for example, if you rip music using Windows Media Player or similar, you can change the programs options to save in another location.

So you could create a folder called My Music on your other drive, and make all music you've ripped go there, instead of using the default My Music folder.

I just saw this though, that may make it very easy to change the Desktop default location:

"Go to and download the
TweakUI 1.1 powertoy. Make sure you get the separate version as at the time of this
writing the one in the powertoys kit was a different version.

Install it by double clicking on it to expand then find the .inf file and right click on it.
Select "install" from the menu and it will install. Now open control panel / tweakui and go
to the general tab. In the middle of the screen is the desktop folder and the change location button.
It should be pretty straight forward from there."