DSLR's can really chew through your hard drives, especially with the new codec on the Canon 5D Mark III.

DSLR’s can really chew through your hard drives, especially with the new codec on the Canon 5D Mark III.

In this tutorial I show you how I swap out my 1TB hard drive I use for video with a 3TB version.

I mostly made this video for myself years from now when I have forgotten how I did it before.


  • Also, take a look at my site. I’ve posted a couple of blog posts about my new computer build: Aragorn! SSD C: drive, 4T RAID, etc. Let me know what you think!

  • Dave you should really look at upgrading the C drive to an SSD. You will notice a massive difference, it really is one of the best upgrades you can make for the money.

  • Dave, all this seems too labour intensive. We just use multiple external hard drives. Speed is not much an issue and so much easier to store off site. We thought about raid drives but external is just much more easier and pay as you go kind of concept. We’ve got about 12 x 2tb drives now. Also easy to review with client when showing them reviews and also travelling. For example, we did tourism production, 10 days straight, and at the end of each day we would transfer via laptop and 2 external hard disks (double backup). One with producers luggage, one with cameraman hand luggage. Then when we got back to the office, we could start post production straight away.

    External drives are much safer to transport.

    Did you ever consider portable drives? With usb3 it will be even faster to edit in post.

  • Dave,

    I am an IT guy who has been inspired by your blog to do my own as I learn how to use my 60D I got Christmas of 2011. Anyway, being an IT guy I know a lot about how to do this hard drive stuff, and there is a better way to do the swap. It is a little more technical, but when you do it this way your computer won’t actually even realize you switched your “D:” drive. I know you are already done with yours, but if you do decide to switch your “C” out for an SSD (downsizing because of cost in the process) then this would be VERY helpful then so that you don’t have to re-install Windows.

    You use a couple of open source tools. One is called clonezilla and it will clone your drives – even when the target is not the same size as the source. The second is gparted and it allows you to change the size of the partitions. Here is how you could have done your swap and not had to make any drive letter changes:

    1) Power off the computer, hook up both your D drive and the new 3TB drive in the computer
    2) Put in the clonezilla CD and boot from it, choosing the options to clone your drive. Pick the 1TB D drive as the source and the 3TB drive as the target. Will take a few hours, but it will copy sector by sector.
    3) Take out the old 1TB drive, save it until you are sure you have everything working, then you can format it and use it how ever you like. Make sure the new 3TB drive is plugged into the same IO port (SATA I believe you said in this case) as the 1TB drive had been.
    4) Reboot the computer and boot up from the gparted CD. This will bring up a linux based graphical tool that will let you resize that partition from 1GB to 3GB.
    5) Boot up windows normally. Since you changed the size of the partition Windows will tell you that something looks wrong with the disk and it needs to do a checkdisk, you let it do that. After it is done you get all booted up and your D drive is now 3TB and looks EXACTLY like it did before.

    The process is similar when you do something like downsize from a 1TB drive to a 512GB SSD as was suggested in another comment. By the way, I very recently did that and will be producing a video that demonstrates the performance effect on my own blog at simplifydslr.wordpress.com. Swapping out a magnetic disk for an SSD brough a rather old PC back from the dead for me, it is very usable again now. Anyway, the challenge with downsizing is the partition sizes. You can’t put a 1TB partition on a 512GB drive. But if you can manage to get the data used on the 1TB drive down to be less than 512GB (use your now free 1TB drive that was the D) then you can use gparted to reduce the size of the partition so that it will fit on the SSD and have it all work. This is exactly what I did when I put the SSD in my old computer.

    Hope that helps, thanks for the inspiration, I follow all of your stuff so that I can learn to do better video.

  • I’d “keep” your current computer (old computer) once the new one arrives. Use the old computer for photo/video file storage and backup purposes. Use your new computer solely for video editing.

    Keep the new computer free for video editing …which takes a lot of processor time. External drives could be used to go back and forth …or use a router or switch to transfer files from one machine to the other.

    Switches, HDMI and CAT5/6 cables can be found dirt cheap at http://www.monoprice.com

    Personally, if you’re just going to use a machine for file storage, then I would install Linux on it. Linux is free and tends to do a better job concerning network file storage.

  • You’d be better off building a shelf for your table top. Move your computer, scanner and other equipment to the top shelf. Leave the keyboard and monitor on the table top. The computer won’t collect as much dust or get kicked, if placed up high. You will have more leg room and possibly table top space by moving items above …onto a shelf. Just a thought.

    You could even buy an HD monitor adjustable/swivel/wall mount for your HD computer monitor. Attach it to the bottom side of the top shelf. This would enable you to move the monitor around freely and create more table top space. You can find these cheap at monoprice.com …and ‘no’ I don’t work for monoprice.com

    Good luck with your new computer!

  • Wow thanks everyone for all the comments and emails you have sent me on this topic. I am learning more about RAID systems, USB3 and SSD and much more.

    @Jeff nice site, I read your post on SSD’s. Thanks for the comment.

  • I just started the site, have a lot of plans for it. I am working on a new post that outlines the things I have learned about what the important things are in a PC for doing digital photography and video. Suggestions on most cost effective approach to getting enough power to do the job.

  • Hi Dave,

    I am always enjoyimg your stuff and has learned a lot from you 🙂

    Im the HD swap tutorial what kind of software did you use for the screen captures?

    Best regards,


  • Hi Dave.

    Just wanted to mention…

    At Addonics … they have an inexpensive 3-port eSata card that plugs into the motherboard – works on a PC and Mac.

    It supplies 3 eSata external ports that support Port Multiplication (useful for Addonics 5 Port Multiplier – if needed.)

    This way most of the big files can be stored on external 7K-plus-spinning eSatas.

    And then, for the main drive … a speedy SSD for booting and running programs.

  • I was googling for Canon SX50 review and came across a youtube video (yours :-)) and from there to your website. I am impressed! I like your videos and unbiased reviews. I am a software developer by trade and do build and configure all the time for the fun involved. But that prevents me from other hobbies such as photography. Love your videos and website. Keep up the good work!

    Why don’t you review other manufacture such as Pentax? I just ordered Pentax K-30. Not sure if that was the right decision, but some of the sample shots I saw online really impressed me.


  • I tend to echo the comments made by mediaspark on the subject. It’s much more streamlined to use externals. If that’s not in the cards for you, you could check out what are called “toasters”. Basically, you can back up your internal hard drives via various outputs to bare hard drives that you can store in magnetic sleeves and put on your bookshelf. The only cost after buying the toaster would be the hard drives, so it’s comparable in expense to buying external hard drives; maybe even cheaper.

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