Installing a second hard drive

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Installing a second hard drive is easy if you know how. I needed to do this on my server and below is the steps I followed.

Page Migration

This page first appeared on the original Debian Wiki which was created over a decade ago.

  • Originally Published: 29 January 2007


  • I assume that you have installed the hard drive in your PC, and
  • That you have rebooted your machine
  • In this example our primary hard drive is located at /dev/hda and our second, new hard drive is located at /dev/hdc (replace according to your system)


The first step is to check to see that your new hard drive is installed and picked up by Debian. You do this by running the following command in a shell:

$ fdisk -l

This will give you an output that should look something like this:

Disk /dev/hda: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *           1        9354    75135973   83  Linux
/dev/hda2            9355        9729     3012187    5  Extended
/dev/hda5            9355        9729     3012156   82  Linux swap / Solaris

Disk /dev/hdc: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

You can see that the 500GB disk at /dev/hdc is being picked up but there are no partitions yet for this drive.

Partitioning your new drive

Next up we need to partition our drive with the following:

$ cfdisk /dev/hdc

The cfdisk controller will load up and here you can create a new partition on your drive. From the menus at the bottom I selected the following:

1. New >> Primary >> Size in MB
2. Once done select Write
3. Select Quit
Your new partition has been created at /dev/hdc1

Format the new disk

Now that we have a new partition at /dev/hdc1 we need to format it for usage by the system. From a Linux shell type:

$ mkfs.ext3 /dev/hdc1

This will now format our partition with the ext3 filesystem which should work fine for your Debian system.

Mount your new drive

Now that we have partitioned the drive and formatted it we can now mount the drive to begin using it. From a shell run:

$ mkdir /new-disk
$ mount -t ext3 /dev/hdc1 /new-disk

The above commands create a new directory for the drive to be mounted in and then we mount the drive to this directory. To check that the drive has been mounted run the following:

$ ls -lsa /new-disk

You should see the following:

$ ls -lsa /new-disk
total 24
 4 drwxrwxrwt  3 root root  4096 2007-01-29 01:57 .
 4 drwxr-xr-x 22 root root  4096 2007-01-29 01:58 ..
16 drwx------  2 root root 16384 2007-01-29 01:57 lost found

Adding to fstab

Everything is now up and running however we need to add our new drive to /etc/fstab so that it will be mounted automatically when we reboot the machine.

First let’s edit fstab:

$ vim /etc/fstab

At the end of the file add the following line:

/dev/hdc1       /new-disk            ext3    defaults,errors=remount-ro 0       1 

Save the file and you’re done.