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Hard Drive Replacement and Addition

Purchasing a Hard Drive

QBS PC Help regularly purchase computer software and hardware and know a number of UK companies supplying hard drives. Here are just a few:

Ebuyer -

Novatech -

Once you have purchased your new hard drive the next step is to install it.

IDE Hard Drive - General Points

Before you install a hard drive you need to understand how two drives can share a single ribbon cable and IDE controller. They manage it by making one drive the 'Master' and the other drive the 'Slave'. The 'Slave' takes its orders from the 'Master'.

Data from the IDE controller on the motherboard goes to both drives via the shared ribbon cable, but only the drive designated the 'Master' listens to it. This 'Master drive hears the message and then figures out who it's for. If it's for the 'Master' then it processes the instructions itself. If the message is for the 'Slave' it passes the message along.

So the 'Slave' only listens to data sent to it by the 'Master' drive.

The Master and Slave relationship is controlled by the use of jumpers. These are little plastic blocks that have a bit of copper inside and are designed so they can slide firmly over two of the posts on the rear of your hard drive. By placing a jumper block over two pins you create an electrical pathway between them, altering the flow of electricity through the IDE Drive so that the drive can act as either a 'Master' or a 'Slave'.

(You'll want tweezers or fine nosed pliers to slide the jumper out of a drive. Note that these pins are quite durable, but can be damaged if too much force is applied).

Master and Slave Choices

If you are installing a new IDE Hard Drive you have a few choices. For example you can choose to retain your old drive as 'Master', adding the new drive you have purchased as 'Slave' and then use a transfer utility to move your working operating system to the new drive.

Or you may decide to make your old drive the 'Slave' and install a fresh copy of your operating system to your new hard drive set as 'Master'.

You could of course just use the new drive as a 'Slave' for backing up parts or all of your C Drive.

Generally speaking, its best to use the newer and faster of the two drives as the 'Master' and the slower as the 'Slave'. That's because the 'Master' drive has more intensive processes to perform.

Ribbon Cables

Wherever there's a ribbon cable there's the potential for getting it connected the wrong way round. Ribbon cables have a coloured stripe running along one edge, usually red in colour. That striped end must go to pin 1. The pins on a connector are numbered, with 1 and 2 at one end and the highest numbers at the other end. When the red stripe is nearest to pin 1 the cable is correctly inserted.

If you carefully examine the motherboard (use a torch) on which the pins are mounted you may see a very small 1 at one end or the other. Alternatively there might be a small triangle or arrow pointing at one end or the other to indicate pin 1.

If you cannot see any clues about where pin 1 might be located here are a couple of ways of guessing.

On a motherboard - look at how the other cables that are plugged in are positioned (e.g. the floppy controller or the other IDE channel) and copy there orientation.

On the Hard Drive - the red stripe (pin 1) should usually be closest to the drives power connector, the opposite end to the jumper and audio connections.

How to Install a new IDE Hard Drive

Before you install the drive, inspect the inside of the computer’s case and determine where you want the drive to go. Make sure you turn the mains power off before you start installing your hard drive.

With most cases, removal is fairly easy. It's normally just a few bolts on the back side of the case that have to be unscrewed. With the screws removed either a side panel of the case or the whole case can be removed (depending on the case design). If the case or side of the case does not slide off with ease, there is likely another bolt or a plastic clip holding it in place.

The Inside of most PC's can be pretty messy with wires and cables all over the place. Most computers will have the hard drive in the front of the system, just beneath the floppy drive. It will be in a bay the same size as the floppy, but it won't have any access from the front.

If you are replacing the drive gently remove the 4-pin power connector and the ribbon cable. They may be difficult to remove. If they are, gently rocking them from side to side should loosen them without damaging any connectors. Once the cables are removed, unscrew the 4 bolts which will be holding the hard drive in place in its drive bay. Again accessing some of the screws can be difficult, especially the ones on the side of the drive, facing the inside of your PC. You may need to remove some other components to get at them.

With the screws removed, slide out the old drive from the bay.

If you are only installing a new hard drive slide it into the vacated bay and attach the screws, power cable and ribbon cable. The jumper should already be set to 'Master'. Reassemble the case and power up. Now you can install Windows XP or Vista as they will automatically partition and format your hard drive for you.

Installing a second IDE Hard Drive

If you intend to use both your old and new drive you will need to set up the 'Master' and 'Slave' relationship.

After removing your existing hard drive turn the old hard drive over so that you can see all of its connectors. Look for a small set of six to ten pins, generally located between the power connector and the 40-pin connector. Look around on the hard drive to find a small table which will tell you how to set the jumper. On your existing hard drive, the jumper should already be set so the drive acts as a 'Master' drive. Change the jumper so that this drive becomes the 'Slave'.Set Jumper

Now change the jumper on your new IDE Hard Drive to the "Master" setting.

Slide both the drives carefully into the bays with the connector end of the drives facing into the body of the computer, and screw them in tightly on both sides. (Hard drives generally use larger-threaded case screws which are identical to the screws used to secure the body panels of most computer cases.)

When you reattach your hard drives, make sure they are not touching one another as hard drives can get rather hot while operating, especially 7200 RPM drives, and this can affect their life span. A small gap will normally be fine for them.

If you are nervous about heat, or you do not have a free 3.5" bay, you can purchase a 5 ¼" adaptor kit at any computer store. This is simply a pair of metal plates that screw on to the sides of the drive and widen it to fit into a larger bay size.

Attach the top connector on the ribbon cable to your 'Master' drive, and the middle connector to the 'Slave' drive. (If your ribbon cable does not come with two connectors, you will need to buy a new cable.) Now attach one power connector to each hard drive.

You now need to partition and format your new 'Master' hard drive. As the drive is new you will need to install an operating system, and if this is Windows XP or Vista the install programs will automatically create a partition and format it (or you may have cloned your old Windows System and can just set this up again). Now you can format your 'Slave' drive for reuse.

You can use the Partitioning and Formatting tool within Windows XP and a similar tool within Windows Vista.

Of course you can reverse the 'Master' and 'Slave' relationship at any time.

Installing a New/Additional Serial ATA Drive

The process of installing a new or additional Serial ATA Drive (SATA) is very similar to the installation of an IDE Hard Drive except that the SATA drive uses different cables and connectors and does not need to be set to 'Master' or 'Slave'. As a consequence, SATA drives have no jumpers to set. And each SATA Drive has its own separate cable and its own Sata HD ConnectionSATA port on the motherboard.

Once you new SATA drive is installed into its bay you should plug in the SATA power and data cables.

Connect either end of your SATA data cable to the corresponding plug on the back of your new drive. The cable is keyed to only fit one way.

Plug the other end of the SATA data cable into one of the Sata MB ConnectorSATA connectors on your motherboard.

Now connect your power connector to the back of the drive. Again, the power cable is keyed to only fit only one way.

If you only have 4-pin power connectors available (as shown in the top picture) you may find your new SATA drive uses a 15 pin power connector. Fortunately you can buy the LINDY 2 x SATA Power Adapter Cable, 0.15m which has a 4-pin power connector at one end and two 15 pin SATA power connectors at the other end. The perfect solution for PC's without the new SATA Power connectors.

With the new SATA hard drive installed, reboot the computer and partition and format your SATA hard drive for use with your operating system.

Partitioning and Formatting a Second drive in Windows XP

To partition and format a second hard drive (not the 'Master' C Drive) in a Windows XP system, right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage.' Once you are in the management screen, select 'disk management'.

Disk ManagementA screen showing your existing drives, including the newly installed second hard drive, will appear. At this point Windows should open a wizard to help you partition and format this drive. If it does not, right click the second hard drive in the lower pane and select 'initialise drive.'

Now you must partition the drive. To do this, right click on the second hard drive and select 'new partition' to launch the partition wizard. It will then prompt you for how much drive space you wish to allocate to the new partition. If you opt not to use the full amount of space for the first partition, you can create additional ones in the same way up to a maximum of four partitions per disk. You will then be asked for a drive letter which Windows will use to represent the partition you just created.

Once you have chosen a drive letter or directory, you will be prompted to format the drive. Generally it's best to format with the NTFS file system at this point, unless the PC uses an earlier Windows operating system such as Windows 98 SE. If that is the case, you will need to format the drive in FAT32. Once formatting is complete, your new drive is ready for use.

Partitioning and Formatting a Second drive in Windows 95, 98SE

With Windows 95, 98SE you will have to boot to the "Start Up disk" that you created when you installed your operating system.

At the command prompt, type FDISK and press enter. It may ask a few questions when beginning; answer them carefully, though usually your answer will be yes. Press "5" at the first menu. This will show your two hard drives. Press "2" at the second menu. Doing this will cause FDISK to look at your new hard drive. This is important, because you don't get second chances.

From the main menu, choose "Create a New DOS Partition or Logical Drive." In that menu, choose "Create an Extended DOS Partition."

Once the extended partition has been created, you have to go to "Create a New DOS partition or logical drive" menu again. This time, choose "Create a New Logical Drive". With a new logical drive created to make use of your new hard drive. Ensure you remember what letter has been assigned to your new logical drive.

If you are unsure of the letter of your new drive, at the main menu select "View All Partition and Logical Drive Information". That will show your two partitions, then press Enter; the drive letter will be present, most likely E or F.

Exit FDISK and restart your system, but make sure you boot to the startup disk again. Once at the command line again, remember that letter from earlier. Type FORMAT E (or the appropriate drive letter F, G etc): and press Enter. Make sure you replace E with the letter of your new blank hard drive. When prompted, press Y to begin formatting. This can take quite a while.

After formatting your new logical drive, remove the floppy and restart your system. You will then be able to make use of your new hard drive.

Make Your New Drive Bootable

If you are adding a new hard disk to an already setup and bootable hard disk, there is a program you can install in windows to configure the other drive. The program is called DiskWizard and is found on Seagate's website. It can convert the new drive to the new C: drive (bootable) or simply add it as a second hard disk, it partitions and formats in one go.

In fact, almost all hard drives ship with installation software that takes care of formatting and partitioning. Some even help you transfer data from your old disk to the new one. You must run most installation software before you physically install the new drive, but check the drive's manual or installation poster. You'll either install and run the software from within Windows, or boot from a floppy disk. Program details vary by drive manufacturer, so read the directions carefully.

You shouldn't have any problems with these tools especially if your PC's BIOS system supports AUTO detection which most newer systems do.

Note - when either Windows XP and Vista are installed your new drive will automatically be formatted and partitioned. Both these operating systems can also transfer your files.

Troubleshooting Hard Drive Installations

If your new hard drive is not recognised try going through the following steps to find out what the problem might be.

1. Boot the system and see if your new drive is mentioned in the text that's scrolling by.

2. If your drive does not show up in the list when you boot your computer, the first thing to do is power off the computer. Now recheck the drives jumper settings (if applicable) and make sure that all the various cables and connectors are properly attached. In particular, if the is an IDE drive installation recheck the ribbon cable connections and make sure that the red stripe lines up with pin 1 on both ends of all the cables.

3. In the BIOS make sure the IDE channel (primary or secondary) is enabled and make sure that the position in which that drive is installed (primary or secondary on that channel) is set to Auto. Reboot the PC and see if the new IDE Drive is detected.

Note re SATA Drives - Even if they are installed correctly, SATA drives may not appear at all in the BIOS depending on the manufacturer of the motherboard and the way that SATA support is implemented. This doesn't mean that they won't work, just that you can't confirm their existence without using Windows. There's nothing you can really do except proceed with booting or installing Windows.

4. Check that all the power cables are properly plugged in.

5. Lastly you can try another ribbon cable or SATA cable and check to see if the drive is spinning. If the drive does not seem to be working, having checked everything above, it may be bad and should be returned to your supplier for replacement.

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