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INSTALLING A HARD DRIVE

Anthony Olszewski
GRAVE ROBBER Computer Repair

COPYRIGHT 2006

This material is presented only as a description of how I go about working on a system. It is not meant to encourage unqualified personnel to attempt computer repair. In any event, you assume all responsibility and liability for injury or damage.

Last modified:

If you're assembling a new system or adding a second drive, bite the bullet and go SATA. The only reason to NOT get a SATA drive is if your motherboard doesn't support SATA. Even if this is so, you can still use a SATA card. SATA is the most current hard drive technology. EIDE basically belongs to the past.

Unless you're building a server, there's not really all that much reason to use RAID. RAID definitely does not eliminate the need for backups. As hard drives are mechanical devices, all can (and eventually will) fail. Data loss from problems with the electrical current, a failing power supply, viruses, flood, fire, and theft will affect all drives in a RAID

SCSI is a mature and powerful interface technology. SCSI drives are available in a range of capacities from huge to unbelievable, and tend to be faster than IDE or EIDE devices. Since modern SCSI adapters possess their own BIOS, you don't have to worry if any particular hard drive will fit into or be compatible with your system's SETUP. You can connect up to six other devices in a SCSI chain. The hardware in a SCSI chain is numbered from 0 to 7. CD drives, tape backups and lots of other neat peripherals can all be attached to the same SCSI interface card to form a chain. SCSI adapters do more work (are smarter). SCSI cards offload tasks from the CPU, a MAJOR PLUS in a mutli-tasking environment.

There are drawbacks. You'll have to buy a SCSI adapter, which can be a significant expense. If you have an existing IDE drive in the system, it will not be easy to get the SCSI drive to work as the C: (boot) drive. If you wanted the new SCSI hard disk to be D: or E:, then this is no problem at all. The SCSI BIOS itself takes up memory and adds an intermediary step to data transfer.

BTW, SCSI stands for Small Computer System Interface and is pronounced "scuzzy!"

A SCSI chain must have the first and last device specifically defined. The series must have a beginning and an end. This is done by the installation of terminators. The SCSI interface card itself counts as a SCSI device. In most cases, the card is considered as the beginning of the chain. This is generally the default. The SCSI interface adapter is terminated, most often, by a DIP switch, jumper, or through the INSTALL software. The hard drive will usually come terminated. On any SCSI device besides the card, termination is, as a rule, accomplished by a hardware "terminator pack."

You don't define ANY SCSI devices, including hard drives, in the computer's CMOS SETUP. If the SCSI drive is to be the C: drive, just leave the setting for C: in the CMOS as NOT INSTALLED.

All you have to do is (with POWER OFF!) install the SCSI card into the motherboard. Carefully screw in the hard drive to the bracket in the case. Connect the ribbon cable to the adapter card. Put a power cord to the hard drive. Power up the system. The SCSI BIOS should load and scan the bus for devices. You'll see a message saying that the hard drive is recognized, or not. If all has gone well, run the DOS FDISK to define the partitions. Make sure that you define the first partition (C:) as ACTIVE. Then run FORMAT.

If the drive is not recognized, with rare exceptions, either the card is flakey, not compatible with your motherboard, or the hard drive is defective. Sometimes a memory or interrupt conflict is the culprit, but SCSI cards today make pretty good neighbours!

To install an IDE hard drive as C:, just leave the jumpers on the drive alone. Install the drive and hook up the ribbon cable to the IDE card, or to the motherboard.

Interfaces ALWAYS have a number one pin. The red (sometimes blue) edge of the ribbon cable must line up with this pin. Some cables have plastic molding that fits, jigsaw puzzle fashion, into notches of the pin slot. With these designs, it's not possible to make a mistake. If you put the red edge (the more usual) cables in backwards, nothing will work, and the indicator lights will stay lit. I've yet to see any permanent damage, but, certainly, no benefit will be seen!

IDE drives must be defined in the CMOS SETUP. Modern motherboards have an AUTO-DETECT feature. The system does all the work. On older computers, you must manually define the hard drive in SETUP. Most of the time it will go in as TYPE 47 or USER DEFINED. The important settings are CYLINDERS, HEADS, and SECTORS. Just fill this in the blanks. This information can often be found printed on the drive, or the accompanying literature. ALL hard drive manufacturers have tech-support, automated info, an fax back phone numbers to provide this SETUP information.

After the system BIOS recognizes the drive, as with the SCSI, you will run the DOS FDISK to define partitions. Then the unit is formatted.

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EIDE drives are installed in the same way as IDE, if your system BIOS supports EIDE. If it doesn't, they you run the SETUP disk that comes with the drive, generall a version of ONTRACK's DISK MANAGER written for each drive manufacturer. This program will define the partitions and format the disk automatically.

If you wish to add a second IDE or EIDE hard drive to a system that already has a hard drive installed, then jumpers or DIP switches on both units. The C: drive needs to be defined as MASTER (or MASTER WITH SLAVE). The D: drive will be SLAVE. Very often, but not always, the settings for SINGLE DRIVE and MASTER WITH SLAVE are the same. This will mean that, in many cases, the settings on the C: drive will not need adjustment. Of course if you want your present C: drive to become the D: (slave), then the jumpers or DIP switches will need to be checked.

Remember, if you set your original C: drive to become the secondary unit the software -- the WIndows Operating System and Windows programs -- all will have to be installed to the new C: drive.

Your new IDE or EIDE will, pretty likely, come configured as SINGLE DRIVE (which may be the same as MASTER WITH SLAVE). In an event, once in a blue moon the jumper definition is silk- screened on the hard drive's circuit board. Even when this is done, the lettering is often so small, or cryptic, as to be useless. Jumper info is always available at the drive manufacturer's Web Site.

After you get the MASTER and SLAVE situation configured the IDE and EIDE installation remains the same.

Terminators are not used in IDE or EIDE as they are in SCSI, or the old MFM and RLL drives.

For a new drive, after the physical installation is complete, you need to go to CONTROL PANEL > ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS > COMPUTER MANAGEMENT > DISK MANAGEMENT. From there, establish a new partitition. Windows will then format the drive. My suggestion is not to choose QUICK FORMAT.

It's nearly always better to make the new hard drive your C: drive. Drive technology is always rapidly and constantly advancing. And hard drives have a lifespan. Your old hard drive is already so many miles down the road towards the junk yard. With the new drive as C:, you'll have to set the old drive as D:.

Windows XP application install files are scattered all over the place. Directory by directory backups and/or copies, haven't been an option since the days of DOS. Even if you don't die of exhaustion and boredom, you'll find that nothing works! Using the CD, install Windows XP on the new drive. After you activate and update Windows, the install your application from the CDs or downloaded install files.

Now get over to alt.binaries.godonlyknowswhat and do some heavy downloads to fill up all that empty hard drive space!

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