A 10 GB Hard Drive Would Do

by Ming Chow

I used to have two hard drives on my desktop --a 60 GB, and an 80 GB. I used the 60 GB for Linux and the 80 GB for Windows. One problem I always had was utilizing all the disk space. It was much more than I need! I manage all my digital photos and music on my Apple iBook, and I do not write, nor save, many documents to my hard drive.

Several months ago, I switched to Linux (Fedora), and sold my 80 GB hard drive for petty cash. Yes, I securely "shredded" the data on the hard drive before I mailed it out, thank you very much. Life is going well on the Linux end, but there are some things that I really miss on Windows, particularly a quick fix of playing NHL 2004 and Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 for leisure.

Fortunately, I kept a 10 GB hard drive from my old PC that I disposed several years ago, as an emergency hard drive, just in case I ever needed it. I never used it for emergency purposes, and I considered using it as a doorstop on numerous occasions. Luckily, I didn't do that, and I decided to do a fresh install of Windows XP Home Edition (with Service Pack 2) onto the drive. I also decided to install all the programs that I need in Windows onto the hard drive. To be "secure," I decided that the system will not connect to the Internet.

Here is a list of all the important Windows applications I need:

  • Windows XP

  • WinXP Service Pack 2

  • DVD Software

  • Roxio

  • Ad-Aware

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader

  • Blender 3D

  • Cygwin

  • Eclipse

  • Firefox

  • GAIM

  • Java SDK

  • Microsoft Office XP

  • NHL 2004

  • Norton SystemWorks

  • nVidia GeForce2 Driver

  • RollerCoster Tycoon 2

  • SSH Secure Shell (non-commercial)

  • Winzip

  • ZoneAlarm

It didn't take too long to install everything listed above onto the 10 GB hard drive --considering most of applications listed are free: I downloaded and burned the latest version of them onto a CD beforehand.

Finally, I cleared out my temporary files folder(s), ran the routine spyware and virus checks just to be safe (even I am not connected to the Internet), and defraged my hard drive. All the applications were installed successfully onto the hard drive, and I had a good 4 GB left!

Now I can enjoy playing NHL 2004 and Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 again, as well as the peace of mind that I can fall-back or even resort back to Windows when I need to. What I learned: don't waste computer products, such as an old hard drive; and you really don't need a monster hard drive to do everything in the world that you want!


2005-04-17 23:07:08
With some programs now taking up more than 10GB on their own, there's a definite need for larger hard disks (though I concur that most people seem to use them only to store the mp3s and movies they download using Kazaa).

For example, I am a flight simulator fanatic. My installation of that program alone (with assorted plugins and ancillary programs) is currently running at around 25GB.

2005-04-18 06:13:32
Installed Apps..
Curious as to why you would need ad-aware, gaim etc installed if the PC's never going to connect to the internet?
2005-04-19 06:04:49
10GB is huge!
Maybe I'm dating myself, but I remember running I I had Solaris 2.7 on a 400MB drive. /usr/local/ and /home were NFS mounted though.

I currently have XP running on a 20GB drive to do DVD burning (TivoToGo). 15GB is space for videos.

I also have VMware guests at work with 2GB of space.

Compare your setup to a Knoppix CD (700MB) and it's not that impressive. Sorry.