Switching out an old HDD for a new one

Right now I have two harddrives in my PC, a 20gig and an 80gig, both each have two NTFS partitions on them, and the 20gig has a third partition, believe it or not, a 5gig ext3 (I think) Linux partition. C:\ (Windows) is installed on the master partition of the 80gig.

I’m buying a 160gig IDE HDD (when I upgrade later this year I’ll grab a 400gig+ SATA HDD), and I don’t know if it’s because of the motherboard or what, but I can only have two harddrives in the PC at once. I have no problem giving the 20gig to a friend, or dropping it in my ps2, so that’s not a big deal.

But due to the way I’ve split the drives up, and due to how full they are, I’m not sure how to go about emptying the 20gig entirely, backing up whatever is on it, back up everything on the 80 gig, put in the 160gig, format them both, install Windows to the new HDD. I don’t really have access to another big harddrive, and I’ve never had to do this before. Is there a way I can shuffle things onto the 80 gig, format the linux partition, fix the MBR, install the new HDD as slave, create a few partitions on it, move everything onto it, leaving on partition blank, switching the HDDs’ roles, install Windows in the shuffle everything through the partitions, formatting each one as I go to try an get everything as clean as possible? I mean, really, I’d prefer to dump everything onto a massive external drive, format the two drives, and go through an OCD sufferer’s dream of moving the stuff back on into their proper places, deleting old crap as I go. But as I said, I don’t have access to one, so is the HDD-shuffle possible, if I want to get these things clean as I can?

Thanks, and I apologize for the grammar and general confusion, I shouldn’t have pulled an all-nighter after getting sick.

How much actual data do you have between the two old drives?

Also, one of these $24 adapters can help save your knuckles from a few of the required drive swaps:

Well, they’re basically full. C: is 30gig, and full, but most of it is install apps and games, which I don’t care about, I have all the installers and setup discs, so that’s not a big deal. So only about 70gigs. Only.

Awesome! I was wondering if something like this existed, since I really didn’t want to buy an external case yet. BTW, what is the difference between an external case and this? The external can do things like make the HDD spin down and stuff right?

Of course, newegg doesn’t ship to Canada, but maybe one of the stores around here has one of these. I’d still be shuffling files, but you’re right about not skinning my knuckles. Thanks.

Here is the exact same product from a local PC store, at a decent price.

Thing is, I didn’t realize HDD enclosures were so damn cheap now. Considering that when I do upgrade, I’ll need an enclosure for this 160gig IDE, is there any reason I should by the adapter over the enclosure?

You can get an external enclosure if you’d prefer. I like that particular adapter because it supports all 3 common drive types, and I tend to only use it for short recovery/backup stints.

EDIT:

I deleted an overly complex process. Just put in the new drive, and install windows. Then copy data back to it from your old drives w/ the external adapter. You can also use the Windows partitioning tool to nuke the partitions and format the old drives once you’ve backed up their data.

Thanks, bought the HDD and a decent enclosure, and I’m currently dumping mass quantities of data.