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· Your Neighborhood Liasion
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been staunchly running win98se now on my htpc for 6 months, but I now have run into a problem that can only be solved by upgrading to either WinME or WinXP. I'm sure not going to go the ME route, so XP here I come...

I have a 2GB (that's TWO, not 20 :)) drive that I use for my OS partition currently. The other 2 80GB drives that I have are purely for HD storage. Is a 2GB drive big enough to install XP on?

Does XP let me span multiple disks with 1 partition? I need the 2 80GB drives one 160GB partition. If so, I'll be able to get rid of my ide raid controller.

Any significant differences in XP that I should be aware of? I'm running win2k at work here, and am pretty familiar with it now.
 

· God Bless America!
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WinXP can be installed quite happily on 2GB. My grandma's 3GB has XP and all her software and files (not much...) XP itself is about 1.5GB. I believe NTFS CAN recognize the 2 drives as one using software RAID, but your IDE RAID controller is a much better choice. REFORMAT (due to cluster size issues (small clusters and a slow drive) - but DO NOT CONVERT - all drives to NTFS (so, DO make them NTFS, DO reformat, DO NOT run the fat-ntfs converter). NTFS provides better real-world performace, and a more stable system.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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I've had zero trouble with the converter... In 8 years of administering/using NT, I've never lost 1 bit of data when I have needed to convert from a fat variant to NTFS.

All that said, I'd keep the raid controller.... XP Pro will only allow you to "volume set" drives, which isn't raid bay any means. If you can set those 2 drives up as a raid 5 set (you would need a third disk) or at least a stripe set, you will have one mean disk system for your HTPC.
 

· Your Neighborhood Liasion
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Neil - I currently have the 2 80GB drives set up as a striped set - 1 big 160gb partition for recording high definition. Is a volume set be the same kind of thing? And what about adding disks later to it - that is 6 months from now I want to add another 100GB to that partition. Would XP let me add it to the volume set without reformatting the current set?
 

· God Bless America!
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James and Neil, you won't lose data - no. But you will have reduced drive performance for two reasons:

1.) CONVERT results in 512byte clusters (too small to be efficiently handled), whereas format results in 4k clusters (enough larger to mean upto 50% faster in some cases)

2.) CONVERT places the MFT wherever it finds easiest, and it is often more fragmented. This FURTHER reduces drive performance compared to a clean format.

So no, you won't lose data. But it will be slower (and experiece has proven this to me several times) than a clean format. Even Microsoft admits this on their website (I forgot the page, but if I remember I'll try to find it)
 

· Damn you woman!
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Yea, I've read about that. Most of the time it isn't cost effective to reformat the drive. While the converted drive won't be as fast as a new formated drive, its still much faster than FAT or FAT32. Sometimes reformating a drive isn't always the answer. You just made it sound like it was dangerous to do the CONVERT.

IMHO its easier to just run CONVERT, unless the computer is a Pentium IV or Athlon XP it probably doesn't matter since the compter would be too slow anyway... :shrug:
 

· Founder
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I agree with James. In some cases, it's MUCH easier just to run the convert. Unless you do some heavy duty gaming or use hard drive intensive applications (like video editing), it's not worth doing a clean install.

Mark L,

It's hard to say if you will be safe upgrading to XP using only a 2GB hard drive. During the upgrade process, XP may require more space than 2GB. You must remember that XP is fundamentally different than WIN 9X. What happens during the upgrade process is that all settings and some files are stored in another part of the HD and then the HD is cleaned and re-loaded with XP. After, all of the settings and files are returned to where they belong. So you see, you may require more than 2GB.

My recommendation is to pick up a cheap larger hard drive just to be safe and do a clean install. If that's not possible, use a hard drive ghosting program like DriveImage or Ghost and transfer what's on your 2GB drive to the larger drive before the upgrade.
 

· Icon/Supporter
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XP is a good upgrade because it's a nice stable system, but when I upgraded I ran into alot of compatibility problems. The printer, CD burning software, and some Dell keyboard functions were not compatible with XP. It was a pain in the ass at first but the stability of the system makes up for the compatibility blunders. Go for it!
 

· God Bless America!
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"While the converted drive won't be as fast as a new formated drive, its still much faster than FAT or FAT32"


You've gotta be kidding me, right? While, due to NTFS optimizations application loading will be faster, drive read/write speeds will still be slower than FAT32, especially if the drive is at all fragmented (smaller clusters = fragmentation has a larger affect). For video recording, I'd say it's very important to reformat if he wants NTFS.

Chris has a point that an upgrade install may not work on a 2GB drive. But upgrade installs don't work well anyways. A clean install is the ONLY way to go from 9x/Me to XP. I've tried ONE upgrade install (I've tried clean installs and then convert several times, but only one upgrade install) It made me never want to go through that again. Half my programs wouldn't work right, the system was VVVEEERRRYYY slow, and the whole thing was a disaster. Sure, that's not typical. But it's better to just clean install.
 

· Damn you woman!
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Originally posted by Mark
"While the converted drive won't be as fast as a new formated drive, its still much faster than FAT or FAT32"

You've gotta be kidding me, right? While, due to NTFS optimizations application loading will be faster, drive read/write speeds will still be slower than FAT32, especially if the drive is at all fragmented (smaller clusters = fragmentation has a larger affect). For video recording, I'd say it's very important to reformat if he wants NTFS.

Chris has a point that an upgrade install may not work on a 2GB drive. But upgrade installs don't work well anyways. A clean install is the ONLY way to go from 9x/Me to XP. I've tried ONE upgrade install (I've tried clean installs and then convert several times, but only one upgrade install) It made me never want to go through that again. Half my programs wouldn't work right, the system was VVVEEERRRYYY slow, and the whole thing was a disaster. Sure, that's not typical. But it's better to just clean install.
I've NEVER had a problem converting a drive from FAT32 or FAT to NTFS. Its works well every time. Upgrading any Microsoft product is a scary proposition though and I'm sure that many people have had problems with it. I upgraded my brother WinME to XP this weekend and have had no problems with it. It runs much faster than ME did. Now since we are talking about Microsoft here, I'm sure you have had problems with it. I've read about people converting their drives and then on reboot the computer asks to put a system disk in the drive to continue. I would rather just give it a shot to see how it works, then decide if its worth the time and effort to reformat. If there is time and someone wants to take the effort to install their programs again, a clean install is obviously better, its just my time is too valuable to sit and reinstall all the programs that I have. I guess its just a personal opinion. Can't argue with you Mark.... :p
 

· Your Neighborhood Liasion
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm definitely planning on doing a clean install - I've been burned too many times trying to "upgrade" MS products. Sounds like I'd be a bunch better off picking up a new 40GB drive for $50 or so and do a clean install on that. That way I'd get another 4 hours of HD storage out the deal as well.
 

· Your Neighborhood Liasion
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I know almost nothing about raid - what's the advantage of raid 5 over raid 0, or just an XP volume set? Right now, I have the 2 drives as a raid 0 set, but I don't really know what that means, beyond they are seen as 1 partition.
 

· Damn you woman!
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Here is the levels of RAID and what they are...

Level 0: Provides data striping (spreading out blocks of each file across multiple disks) but no redundancy. This improves performance but does not deliver fault tolerance.
Level 1: Provides disk mirroring.
Level 3: Same as Level 0, but also reserves one dedicated disk for error correction data. It provides good performance and some level of fault tolerance.
Level 5: Provides data striping at the byte level and also stripe error correction information. This results in excellent performance and good fault tolerance.
 
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