Storage, Drives & Media

Last reply by 10-29-2018 Unsolved
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3 Silver

How to upgrade Studio 540 to a 1 or 2 TB drive, and add original drive as a second drive

 I'm currently using a Dell Studio 540 with a 500gb drive. It's almost full after doing a good clean up, so I've decided to go ahead a get a 1 or 2 gb drive. (1)first, would WD Caviar Black be the best way to go? (2) second,  I'm assuming that I'd have to format and partition the new one so I have the C drive with the E drive partition ( for recovery) on it as I'd like to keep the Recovery E drive with the Recovery info on it the way Dell designed it but double the E drive over the current one, so I'd have to format and partition for that in mind, what's best way to partition it? (3) third can I transfer all the info from my old drive to my new one easily, or would it be easier just to back up all my necessary files and just reload the Dell Win 7 on the new drive? (4) four, I'd like to use the old drive as my second drive, ( after formatting it... what's the easiest way to do that and how will the jumpers have to be set on both drives to be able to do that? Will my power supply be able to handle it and the cooling fans too, or perhaps would a WD Green drive be better? Anything else I should know in making the conversion. I though of taking it to Microcenter to have it all done, but am thinking I can probably do it. Any suggestion on a new "good" fan that would fit without being too noisy and perhaps cool a little better?

Replies (5)
5 Rhenium

Hi tjbarn,

Ideally it should not cause any issue when upgrading the system with the second HDD and changing the original HDD as a second HDD. You can install the operating system on the new HDD.  Make sure you change the Boot sequence in BIOS if needed. However recovery partition cannot be created as it is done at the factory.

The Data from the old HDD can be transferred the new HDD. After installing the Operating system on the new one and once both the drives are detected by the system , you can just copy and paste the data from one drive to another.

Thanks and Regards,
DELL-Sujatha K
Dell Social Media and Community Professional

6 Thallium

The 540s uses special shoulder screws  to mount the hard drive; I'm not sure about the 540.

Acronis TrueImage (retail version) comes with a bootable DVD that will "image" over the old hard drive to the new one so that nothing needs to be installed. My preferred solution, however, is to use an SSD as a boot drive and a traditional hard drive for applications and data.

10 Diamond


The Inspiron 540 Mini Tower requires either four 6-32x3/16 Pan Head, or 6-32X1/4, Phillips Head screws, to mount a second hard drive.



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4 Tellurium

Follow the directions above and you should be fine.  Cooling is fine and the stock PSU should be sufficient to install any drive you decide on.  I used a WD Black 1TB drive without any partitions, updated the BIOS to the latest revision and installed Windows 7 ultimate on a Studio 540 and in my case,  the OS was a significant improvement to the Vista Home Premium that came with the machine.  

The HD mounts next to the OEM drive that is already there as it lays flat against the side of the case and would slide into a bracket marked HD.   Might need an additional SATA cable.  Pretty easy install.   The new drive will probably be set to auto-select so you shouldn't have to change any jumpers.  

I'd do a clean install onto the new drive without the old drive being connected, just boot from the CD/DVD when that prompt comes up and Windows will take care of the rest.,   You would have the other drive as your data drive, and there wouldn't be any need to back anything up since the data is already there.   Once you get it up and running with the new OS, just connect the old drive and you are set.  

As far as the recovery partion, did your Studio 540 come with a CD/DVD with the OS, or do you have a new W7 install CD/DVD?  if so, then I wouldn't worry about keeping the recovery partition.    The disk from Dell has all the drivers you would need, and if there are missing drivers on the W7 disc (and I didn't think there were any) they can be downloaded off Dell Support.

If you want to reformat and clean the old drive to use as a data drive, then copy over those old files to your new drive and once you are 100% sure you have everything, you can reformat the old drive to wipe it clean using Disk Management under Storage under Computer Management in the Administrative tools in the Control Panel.  Just make sure you have those files you deem important safely copied to your new 1TB drive first!


This is now several years AFTER this thread.  I am about to add for extra storage (not for OS) a 3 TB WD internal drive.  Will see how it goes!

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