Installing A Hard Drive – Step by Step


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Before Installation

Installing a hard drive is a medium level job. If you are confident in yourself and would like to save the money a computer guy would charge to do it, go ahead and do it yourself. It won’t be that bad. The physical installation is actually pretty easy. Getting it ready for use takes a little longer.

The worst part about installing hard drives is setting the jumpers on the drive so that it works correctly with your current hardware. You only need to worry about jumpers if you are using an IDE hard drive. IDE hard drives have settings for master, slave and cable select. This is because, for an IDE drive, it matters. For Serial ATA drives (SATA), you don’t need to worry about jumpers at all. Now that SATA is becoming much more prevalent than IDE, it is becoming a lot less likely that you will need to worry about jumpers during this process.

Before installation, inspect the inside of the computer’s case and determine where you want the drive to go. If you are using an IDE hard drive, you want to optimally connect the drive on a different IDE channel than your DVD/CD drives. Most motherboards have two IDE channel connectors. So you would put your disc drives on IDE2 and your hard drives on IDE1. For SATA drives, your life, again, got easier. SATA gets it’s own channel and, as of this date, SATA DVD drives are very uncommon.

Materials Required

  • Hard drive
  • Copy of the hard drive manual (if you need to set jumpers; this can be downloaded if your drive didn’t come with one)
  • Controller card (optional; use this if you don’t have a spare connector on the motherboard or space on an existing ribbon cable to connect your drive to. Make sure you get one that matches your drive – Serial ATA for an SATA drive; ATA/100 or ATA/133 for an IDE drive; SCSI for a SCSI drive.)
  • Data cable for the drive (if you aren’t installing the drive as a slave on an existing cable)
  • Power cable Y-splitter (if you don’t have a spare power connector)
  • Ultimate Boot CD (if you want to clone your old hard drive to your new one)

How will you be using your new drive?

If you are replacing your primary hard drive, make sure you back up any data you want to save before you start. If you don’t want to reinstall Windows, you can clone the contents of your old hard drive to your new one using the setup utilities that hard drive manufacturers provide, or you can use a specific cloning program like HDClone or PC Inspector Clone Maxx. All of the above-mentioned utilities are available on the Ultimate Boot CD, so you can download and burn that and then choose the utility that is easiest for you to understand. (If you don’t have access to a high-speed internet connection, you can order a CD for a small fee.)

If you are willing to reinstall Windows, make sure you have discs for Windows and all your programs. This will prevent frustrations about losing programs after you have already formatted your computer.

If you are simply installing a secondary hard drive for storage, you don’t have to make any changes to the configuration of your current hard drive. If, however, you are installing a second IDE drive, it is possible that you will need to alter the jumper configuration of your primary hard drive. If your current hard drive is set as “Cable Select” (meaning it is the only drive on the channel), then you may need to change it to “Master” which will allow you to add the second hard drive as a slave (see below).

Setting Jumpers: IDE Drives

IDE can accommodate two drives per channel, with most computers having two channels built in. The primary drive on a channel is called the Master, and the secondary one is called the Slave. The IDE channels are also labeled as Primary (or IDE1) and Secondary (or IDE2). The hard drive that the system boots from is usually the primary master. Generally, if you’re adding a second hard drive you would set it up as the primary slave. (The secondary master and slave are usually used for optical drives, although they can accommodate hard drives if needed.)

Most drives come set to be used as masters, so if you want to use one as a slave, you’ll have to change the jumpers, which are located between the power connector and the IDE connector. Each manufacturer has different jumper settings, so I can’t give you exact instructions here. However, there is often a diagram on the top of the drive telling you how to set the jumpers, and if not there will certainly be instructions in your hard drive’s manual (which you can download from the manufacturer’s website if your hard drive didn’t come with one).

Another jumper setting, which you can use if you have an 80-conductor ribbon cable, is Cable Select. 80-conductor cables can be identified by their much finer wires compared to 40-conductor cables and by their connector colors (the motherboard end will be blue, red, or green, and the drive connectors will be black for the one on the end and gray for the one on the middle). With both drives set to Cable Select, the computer will recognize the drive hooked up to the black end connector as the master and the one hooked up to the middle gray connector as the slave.

Setting Jumpers: SATA Drives

Good news! There are no jumpers to worry about on SATA drives. Some SATA drives do have a jumper which controls the speed of the SATA drive itself, but you do not need to worry about anything related to master, slave or cable select.

Physical Installation

Now’s when you actually take off the case and get your hands dirty. Let’s get started:

  1. Turn the computer off, unplug it, and take the case off. At this point, you may want to make some quick sketches of just how everything is in there: Which direction is everything facing? Where and how are the cables connected? For some people, such sketches help to put everything back when you are done.
  2. If you are replacing your old hard drive, remove the cables from the old drive. You will see both a ribbon cable and a small power plug. Do not force them out. The ribbon cable is usually quite easy to remove. Sometimes, though, the power connector can become stuck. Just rock it back and forth (lengthwise along the narrow side of the drive), taking care not to rip the connector off the drive. Then remove the mounting screws that hold the drive to the case frame. Sometimes, you may need to tip the case or get into some strange positions to reach all the screws; other times, the hard drive is mounted in a cage that you’ll be able to take out to get to the other side of the drives. Finally, remove the old drive from the case. Be sure not to bump anything too hard on the way out.
  3. If you are replacing the old drive, slide the new drive in right where the other one came out. If you are adding a second drive, just pick any empty drive bay – one a bit below the current drive might work best, because it will make it easier to route cables. If you are installing a 3.5″ drive into a 5.25″ drive bay, you may need to add rails or a mounting bracket to make it fit. Screw the drive into place, making sure the screws aren’t going in crooked. Don’t force them.
  4. If you need a separate controller card, install it now into any unused motherboard slot. Chances are that you don’t need to worry about this. It is usually only necessary if you want to add more IDE drives than your computer will support with it’s two built-in channels. If you are using SATA, your motherboard likely comes with enough SATA ports. If not, you can extend it using a controller card just the same way as with IDE.
  5. Attach the cables to the hard drive and to the motherboard or controller card if necessary. There are two cables: the ribbon cable (or SATA cable) and the power cable. The ribbon cable goes from the controller to the drive. Most cables are keyed to the connector so they only go in one way; if the cable isn’t going in, try flipping it over. Don’t force it. If you are adding a second drive, simply choose a connector on the same ribbon cable that is not used. Most IDE ribbon cables come with three connectors: one on the end (usually black) and one mid-way (usually gray), then one further away on the other end which connects to the motherboard (usually blue, green, or red). In general, the master drive should use the black connector on the end and the slave should use the gray connector in the middle, but if each drive is set either as master or slave, the position is not as important. On a SATA hard drive, position of the drives on the cable does not matter at all because a SATA cable only accomodates one drive.
  6. Plug the system in and turn it on. It is best to leave the case cover off for now in case you need to fiddle with something or troubleshoot the installation.
  7. If you did not use a controller card, enter the BIOS (usually by pressing the F1, F2, F10, F12, or Delete key when you see the Power-On Self-Test or the manufacturer logo). Check the BIOS to make sure that the drives are all being recognized. If you installed a drive on a connector that was not in use, you may have to set the corresponding drive to “Auto.” If your BIOS has an auto-detect feature, you can use that as well. If you did use a controller card, it will pop up a screen showing the name of the card and any drives it has detected.
  8. If the drives are not being recognized, check that both power and data cables are in tightly (including the motherboard end for the data cables), and that the jumpers are set correctly. If they are all recognized correctly, let’s move to the next section.

Software Installation/Cloning

Now that your new drive is installed, we can move on and get it set up with Windows. If you are replacing your current drive and cloning it to your new drive, you will need to connect both drives. Change any necessary jumpers (see “Setting Jumpers” above) so that both drives as well as a CD drive are recognized. At this stage it is not important to screw in your old drive; you can just rest it somewhere convenient, but don’t leave it hanging in midair. Boot from the Ultimate Boot CD, and select the utility you want to use to clone the drive. Go through the appropriate prompts, making sure to select your older drive as the source and your newer one as the destination (pay careful attention to the hard drive sizes indicated by the cloning program). You don’t want to clone your new drive with nothing on it to your old drive with all your data!

If you are replacing your current drive but not cloning its contents to the new drive, put your Windows CD in the drive and boot from it. You will be prompted during the first part of setup to partition and format your drive; if you are using Windows 2000, XP or Vista, make sure to use the NTFS file system.

If you are simply installing a secondary drive, boot into Windows. In Windows 2000/XP/Vista, your new drive will not appear at all in My Computer until you format it. In Windows 9x/ME, it will appear, but you will need to right-click on the new drive and choose “Format” from the menu. To format the drive in Windows 2000 or XP, right-click on My Computer and go to “Manage”. In the window that comes up, click Disk Management in the left pane. Once it loads, you should see an “Initialize Disk” wizard pop up. Partition and format the disk to your liking, but make sure not to convert it to a dynamic disk, as doing so will provide plenty of annoyances down the road.


Congratulations, your new drive is installed!  Now that you have installing your hard drive under your belt, you might be interested in partitioning your hard drive (that means dividing your space so you can separate data).

Next Step?

You’ll need to backup and restore your data to your new hard drive. This is VERY time-consuming usually. PCMech has long been a fan of Acronis True Image. This full-featured backup/restore utility from a trusted company will help you clone your PC and restore it to your new hard drive.


  1. For a step by step installation procedure, it would be nice if it was written in plain english instead on computer geek. By the four sentence, you are assuming that everyone reading this will understand what ‘jumpers’ are. By the fifth sentence, ‘Serial ATA’. By the sixth you are talking about ‘SATA ports’ and ‘SATA drives. Although one would expect that people attempting this would be somewhat computer savy, these instructions are meant more for the individual who can explain why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk. It just oozes computer geekiness out of every orifice. D+

    • Stefen Kaur says:

      I have a question. What about if you have a IDE hard drive and you upgraded it with a SATA adapter? So now the data connects by SATA instead of IDE. Do you still need to have a jumper on the hard drive or does the microboard in the adapter handle that like the new SATA drives do?

      I ask because here’s the setup I am faced with: Three hard drives, a new motherboard that can control up to six SATA drives, two of the drives are actual SATA drives, one is IDE with a jumper install. I upgraded the IDE with a SATA adapter(should I remove the jumper then?). So now I have three SATA drives. I connect the one with the operating system on it to SATA 1, the brnd new SATA drive to SATA 2, ad the IDE converted to SATA to SATA 3. Problem arises when the system is running the operating system boots. But in Windows one of the two drives doesn’t appear. If I disconnect the second drive the third one appears and vice versa. Suggestions?

    • for one if the NEWB reads this it will perk his interest. jumpers sata Hmmm i hear google works good… NOT to mention on box and back and paper instruction come with drive it clearly points out where and what the Jumpers are. sometimes learning new stuff is also learning how to say it. i guess he could terms for you guys like FLIP ON AND OFF SWITCHES ON BACK OF METAL HUMMING BOX…. the one you just bought at best buy.. and ur write he DIDNT start off with TAKE drive out of box… jeeees….

  2. Joshcore says:


    Ryan, this article is aimed at people who already know what jumpers are and the difference between SATA and IDE based hard drives, such as myself. You found this article on a website specialising in PC mechanics, aimed at it’s own users, who are already computer literate. They are not nerds, merely computer literate. If this article is too hard for you to understand, then perhaps you should look for another article somewhere else or wizen yourself up a little and come back for more.

    It’s not that hard.

  3. I don’t recall stating that it was too hard for myself to understand. What I did state was that it was intended more for individuals who were already computer savy. You could re-read my post or have someone read it to you.

    It’s not that hard.

  4. Joshcore says:

    ^ well if it’s not too hard for you to understand, why did you bother posting anything in the first place? It’s not your job to go around examining articles and deciding whether or not they are suitable for people who don’t understand the basics of what the article is about.

    Having said that, this is a great article, A+. I think anyone who is attempting to install a new hard drive themselves should embrace the inner geek and get the job done properly… Not that something like this even requires to be a geek to understand, but, according to Ryan, it does.

    • SkyPioneer says:

      This guide, though it may be accurate, is not newbie friendly. It uses jargon from start to finish, leaving someone who is new to computers dumbfounded. How would they know whether they have an IDE or SATA hard drive if they have never even heard of those abbreviations before? Some may argue that people like me who may find it easy to understand, why shouldn’t the newbies? Because of just that, they are NEWBIES. Someone who finds this page from Google who doesn’t the difference between a a computer and an X-Box would never know what on earth IDE or SATA is, let alone what it means.
      Why does it matter? Its simple:


      Therefore, the people who don’t know DO need a guide, but this guide is USELESS to them because THEY WON’T UNDERSTAND IT.
      Joshcore, if you are blindly defending your precious website PC Mech, then please, at least have a decent reason to do so.

      • If this guide was honestly too much for you or anyone with more than a room temp IQ to understand then you seriously have no business doing this yourself anyway.
        The guide you need is directions to your nearest PC repair shop and let that $6 per hour trainee do it for you.

        The only thing I think is lacking is to have some mention of people that are also changing operating systems at the same time they are changing their hard drive which is fairly common.
        Especially from WinXP 32bit to Vista 64bit.

    • Great Article. Helped me to successfully install a second drive to my Compaq SR2020 tower. I didnt know many of the terms either but took a few minutes to learn what they were and then followed the clear steps to install, config and run the two drive setup. Thanks for the instructions! Very helpful!!

  5. E.Thornton says:

    Hi David Risley at pcmech
    Have tried 3 times before to add an IDE hard drive, without success. Following your instructions, I have now successfully added a Samsung hard drive and Windows XP has recognised the primary slave.
    Thanks for the easy to follow instructions.

  6. Joshcore says:

    Well done, Ernie 🙂

  7. Hi Joshcore thanks for the advice,

    I am aware i can place two hard drives in the one PC but do i have to installtwo operating systems if i want to run certain tasks on one hard drive and other tasks on the secondry hardrive i also need to use the second hard drive to recognise s piece of hardware is this ability pheasable ?


  8. I installed a extra hard drive in my pc and would like to completely wipe all data from it. It had windows 2000 on it and i just want to save home movies on it. I formated the drive and then deleted the visible contents. It still has 2.79 GB of space used. How do i remove this data?

    • the data can not be deleated , its the cookies & certifacates from both drives in order to read and copy over to new drive, you can though move them into an new folder on new drive and name folder something like main files, master files etc etc . other then that its not able to without this the drive will not read and be able to transfer files

  9. Gary Hart says:

    Thanks guys! Solved all my problems putting my new S-ATA HDD in under Vista. Saved me a lot of ‘messing about’ time.
    Keep up the good work

  10. My 2nd EIDE (XP) drive installed with surprising ease — no BIOS or jumper changes (cable select). I only had to format the new drive. But having read this article in advance, I felt confident I could have overcome installation issues.

  11. I’m trying to add a second SATA hard drive to my Dell. I’ve hooked up all the cables and turned the drive to “On” in the Setup Utility. But, when I try to boot to Windows I just get a black screen that says “No Boot Device Available. F1 to retry boot. F2 to enter Setup Utility.”

    Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong?

  12. Thanks! Easy to understand! Even for a non-too compuer literate such as myself!


  13. Hi, I had two hard drives installed on my computer. The second one was for storage. I got a bug in my computer and had to reinstall XP on it. It is up and running but now my computer does not recognize my second drive. As it is full of data and pictures I do not want to reformat it. How do I get my computer to recognize it. They were both installed with cable select with an 80 conductor ribbon cable. I have them reconnected this same way.

    • Hi Did you sort out this issue as I have the same issue?

      • Would like to know the same answer of not format=ting the second (slave) hard drive. I have lots of data on there that I need to keep can I install it without formatting?

        • I know this is a while from original comment but couldnt you just remove the other hard drives and make the one with the important info the primary and then back it all up?

  14. I install a Sata WD drive into my w2k pc.
    The bios detected the drive and reboot. The W2K also detected the new drive when I try check in the ‘device manager’.

    However, there isn’t one WD SATA HD in the explorer. Is there anyway to solve this problem? thanks.

  15. I need to install a Sata 160GB to my 3″ external drive,
    The manual does not tell much about it so is there a way any 1 can help me. TX

  16. I was told that I fried my mother board from a local docal {dumb corner guy) 2nd hand computor store. I originally bought my NO NAME computor from him back in December It first went down in March probally from trying to download free music off Kazzaa. Then, after paying $70 bucks he restored it (with all files gone) he told me I had a virus and not to download free music anymore and always update my security and run it. Well, in June it went down again, this time I never downloaded anything and adult porn was out the question. It happen while I was surfing Digg, > off it went, and all I had was a black screen and a huge paper weight. As you can guess, I took it back to the docal and he said “you fried your mother board and a small fee ($170.00) he could restore my computor and re-install and operating system, when I asked what happed? he said I don’t know but you fried your set like a blackman handling chicken in a kitchen! ?!?!? So I asked could you save my lost data and I will spend more money with you and he said no?
    So my question to the world is can I put the harddrive into another computor to restore lost files and possibally benifit from 1 computor – 2 hard drives.
    angry in OHIO

    • I installed my original HD in the second bay as a slave and was able to access my files. I did a virus scan of the HD before transferring the files. When my daughter’s computer died, I put HER HD in an external enclosure and used it as an external HD. That’s another option.

      Hope this helps.

  17. I inherited my works old server computer and I want to convert it to a stand alone personal PC. The drive is a SCSI. Do I require any jumpers on these drives if I were to hook up 2 SCSI drives together? And/or can I use one SCSI drive and one EDI drive on this computer? (it does have the hook ups for both types of drives.

  18. Darklance says:

    Thankyou for the info David.. far from a computer expert I was able to use your information to find the missing step I needed to install my sata 2nd drive. Finding the manager and getting it to format so I could see it on my computer was the missing step. I knew the new drive was there and installed correct as I could find it in bios as well as the hardware manager.

    I did need to explore a little after using the wizard to find I had to right click on the new driver in the manager window to start the formating process and assign the drive a letter.

    But thankyou for the time you put into posting this info.. Much needed.

  19. Many thanks for the VERY SIMPLE step by step instructions for initializing a STA harddrive. Even I could understand it………… Once again, many thanks. xxx

  20. Hello, I’ve been tring to install a SATA hard drive with no luck. I am trying to replace my current hard drive and install WindowsXP on it. The Hard Drive only came with a CD, no floppy disk. So when I get to the prompt that ask to insert a disk in A:/ the only option I have is to insert the CD… I’ve tried to set my BIOS to read the CD-ROM 1st during the boot with no luck. Thanks for your time

  21. Thanks alot, THE BEST step by step tutorial that I have found. Clear and accurate, thanks heaps!

  22. thenson,
    the guy who told you your your computer was fried was probably a jerk and put the virus on himself.

  23. The instructions are great and have saved my sanity and hours of trying to start my computer in Dos when i do not have a floppy disk drive.

    It is definitely useful for those comfortable fiddling with their computers.

    Can i add that the wizard does not pop up automatically. You have to click the Action button. To use the new drive as a second drive, the primary partition option should still be selected, otherwise, Windows will not format the drive.

    Thank you again.

  24. How do I set up a slave hard drive in windows without formatting it as I have information on it. I have it hooked up and it is recognized in the bios but it does not show up in my computer.


  25. walter, you need to copy the drivers from the CD to a floppy and then use the floppy disk during installation

  26. Thenson,
    Yes you can put the drive into another computer. Need to make sure the jumpers on the drive are set to ‘slave’. If the hard drive is still OK then it should show up fine.

    If the hard drive is ‘bad’ then it will take some nicer tech guy to perform TRUE data recovery and not just NEW hardware. Have done this many times for hard drives that have a ‘bad spot’ that didn’t allow it to be recognized on boot-up.

  27. Bomberboy92 says:

    Wow thanks this tutorial really helped me with my new drive.

  28. I have a problem! I read your page on installing and cloning my hard drives. Well it sounded so simple but no matter what I do I cannot get the computer to recognize my old drive connected to the slave connecter on the cable. I’ve switched the jumpers, I’ve switched the drives, nothing will work.

  29. tommy ellis says:

    Your instructions must only apply to desktops.
    How about installing a new and different hard drive in a laptop?

  30. I must be missing a step.

    I cloned my 90GB IDE onto a 250GB IDE using a bootable HD Cloning CD.

    Everything appears to be ok except:
    1. Setup shows the 250GB drive for device “0”
    2. My computer – “C” drive properties still shows the 90GB

    I am running XP. – Sytem came right up and looks OK

    How do I get “My Computer” to recognize the 250 GB.

  31. David,

    When you clone a drive, it copies it exactly as it were before. It does not recognise the difference in size. You need to go into disk management to fix this problem.

    Please register on our forums and post a thread here for more specialized help. Thanks!

  32. Very helpful, thanks. Saved me a lot of messing around.

    Just the right amount of geekiness in my opinion for what it’s worth! If you don’t know the difference between ide & sata then you need to read up on that before trying to fit a new disk drive or you’ll end up buyiing the wrong one and breaking it trying to make it fit!

    Cheers, keep up the good work.

  33. Ravenwolfvoyager says:

    Great article, I really appreciate the simplicity involved and the easy to follow instructions. I did have just a couple of questions. If I’m replacing my hard drive I understand that in order to clone the hard drive I need to have the new hard drive act as the slave drive which I get, do I need to format the new hard drive after I do this? Also just out of curiosity, if you upgrade your hard drive beyond 120gb and say I had a 60gb prior I read somewhere that you would need to purchase a driver card in order to take full advantage of the entire hard drive capacity beyond the 120gb. Thanks all!

  34. I have no experience whatsoever and didnt even know the difference bewteen the cables but you have saved me 50.00 possibly more i know what pc people are like.

    I feel great after installing my new drive and am not formatting it then i will be installing windows.


    thanks again


  35. very helpful you guys are legends

  36. I have a unique problem installing a new HD. I am literate,
    but not geek (all the way) …
    I have a Dell GX 240 Tower with 1GB ram,and its a 1.2.GHZ pentium 4 system. I did not install the belwo mentioned system…
    I have three HD’s installed currently two 20GB and a 10 GB.
    one of the 20 GB is Primary and the other two are slaves.
    I just bought a ATA 320GBHD. Read the partition posts, and figure I would need to “ghost” the OS, or would a clean install be better and ghost the rest of the programs?
    Then there is the BIOS It says A5. Do I need to change this,to another value?
    emails appreciated

  37. CHaz from Moscow says:

    I have been trying to install a drive and my computer says
    CHange from stand alone to master. I feel really stupid. I have changed the jumpers to master. Two hardrives are Western Digital and one is a Maxtor.

    They all are marked master slave etc.
    I tried to re-set boot priority and drive priority, but I get the same thing. Please help.
    By the way, I grew up in St. Pete and worked in Tampa “Seminole Heights” for a couple of years. Live in Moscow Russia now. NIce to see some floridians.


  38. steve scott says:

    hi i am having trouble installing my new sata harddrive i have pluged it in and wanted to use it as a second harddrive but it is not being reconised i went in to bios but im not sure what im looking for in there. there is power gettingto the drive and the conections are secure. could any one help.

  39. Steve – if all is connected then u must format – see above under ‘Software Installation/Cloning’

    I’ve just added a second and had no idea about formating which led me to being here.

  40. Well I just wanted to say that i have been struggling with my sata HD for over a week now. I had done everything i could think of. And your little guide here solved my problem.

    I had no idea that “disk management” section existed 😀

    Once i found it i initialized the HD and am currently formatting it.

    Thank you very much.
    I really appeciate it 😀

  41. Hi

    I’ve got a system with a 40gig drive which i want to ghost to a 250gig drive. How do i clone the 40gig drive onto the 250gig without formatting the 250gig. Is there a way that i can create an image of the 40gig and still have my 250 gig unammended?


  42. hey i have been trying to get this to work ok so this is what i am doing i have a shuttle computer and it was having probs so i bought an acer from school i tore the shuttle apart and replaced the acers harddrive with the one from the shuttle i also added in my ram but i got it all to pop up on the screen and i put the operating system disc windows xp home edition in and was trying to install that but i get a few steps in and it keeps saying setup didnt find any hard disk drives installed in your computer. and i cant figure out how to get past this and what is wrong? can some one please help me.

  43. Hi my problem is that my new replacement HD (my old one had a catastrophic failure) does not seem to be recognised – the sata cable is well planted in both the motherboard and hd and the power is connected – oddly in bios it is not seen, the only drives recognised are my two dvd drives (both ide) – when I use my Windows setup disc in one of these drives it seems to put some drivers info into the machine – the Windows setup then stops and says it cannot go further please press F3 to restart – when this is done the restart post then shows the HD as being present – why is the hd not recognised and then after the partial Windows setup then recognised ? From this point I have once had Windows work sucessfully but when powered down completely the machine reverted to not seeing the hard drive in bios and only the two dvd ide drives are seen in bios – any ideas – or any solutions would be greatly appreciated

    Asus K8V motherboard
    Sata Samsung HD 500gb

  44. Joshcore, Thank you for the help with my cable select pondry. I have My Pri Master and DVD burner on IDE0, and I needed to add 2 more HDD from my old computer to pull information off, and use them as more storage. I was trying to set the 2 HDD on IDE1 (Secondary) as Master and slave, and it wouldn’t work. Using cable select worked out great. Thank you!

  45. Joshcore, I purchased an external HDD caddy, and am trying to install and format an IDE 2.5″ hard drive (160GB, max partition 40GB) to it. This is my first time to get my hands dirty to install. Would you please kindly walk me thru?. My PC is running on 2000XP with FAT32. Please advise me physical installation, formatting and set partitions to the drive. Your help is greatly appreciated!


  46. Joshcore, can you reply me. Thanks!!


  47. I am installing a second hard drive (60 GB, to be used for data only) on my 2 year old computer. The computer bios recognizes the two hard drives, but Windows does not see the second hard drive.
    The first hard drive is SATA, the second which came from an older computer is IDE. I have changed the jumpers on the IDE hard drive, but Windows does not see the second HD.

    Any suggestions on how to successfully install the second HD.


  48. Fantastic!!! Took me hours of wading through other websites of gobbledygook to get nowhere. Once I found you I was just a few minutes from nirvana! I know just enough to be dangerous to myself and all computers around me. Your page sent me through the steps I needed and “I’m OK now” Thanks guys, I’ll be back!

  49. I am so not computer literate,so be easy on me. I have a dell and it was givng me a message that there was no boot drive installed, repeatedly for months. Sometimes it woudl boot up and sometimes it wouldn’t. Would this be my hard drive.

  50. My old hard drive crashed. I installed a 160GB hard drive and it appears to have installed correctly. However, when I loaded XP the icons did not appear and I no programs are on the hard drive. Could that be something wrong with my XP cd?

  51. Jon Amoncio says:

    My motherboard was crashed and need to be replaced. I have a spare one which i utilize as of time while awaiting for its replacement. however, when i installed the HDD, the system didn’t work? Is there any way to change the configuration of my System? My HDD has a Windows XP Pro Installed in it prior the crashed of motherboard. what do i need to do in order to make it work in different motherboard? i don’t want to reformat the HDD. please lat me know… Thanks

  52. Dumb question??… Since the “S” in SATA stands for “serial”, can 2 SATA drives be connected in serial? I only have 2 SATA ports on my motherboard. One is used by my system hard drive (the drive that came with my computer), and the other is used by my SATA CD/DVD drive. I would like to add a 2nd SATA hard drive and was wondering if it can be connected in serial with the existing hard drive. Otherwise I would have to get an IDE drive because I do have an extra IDE port. I would prefer to go SATA all the way.

  53. i have a SATA hard drive and their is a driver issue and ITS PISSIN ME OFF (sorry had to say that) turns out that this HD isn’t being reconised in try to figure out if its damaged and trying to use the internet divers but nothings working so far…..

  54. Hi there,

    I have a notebook with a Fujitsu MHT 2040AT, (40GB 4200rpm HD). I believe this is a ATA-6 model.
    I can pull it out by just removing 1 screw.
    Can I replace it with a Seagate Momentus 7200.2 ST9200420AS 200GB 7200 RPM, which is SATA?


  55. ———HELP PLEASE——-
    i am putting a unpartioned hard drive in my computer as my slave hard drive. i have windows xp so it is not showing up on my computer. so im following the steps to format it. but the “Initialize Disk” wizard pop up, wont show up. is there a place to download it or what should i do? please let me know. my email address is: [email protected] thanks

  56. hi,

    i hav just purchased a seagate 250GB sata drive. it is the only drive in the machine, i hav installed it and it is working but it only shows a 127GB capacity in windows xp. any ideas on why? or what i’v done wrong?

  57. Duane Price says:

    Thanks so much for your help. It had been a long time since I had changed a hard drive and I was a little concerned about doing it. After finding your article, written so I could understand it, I gained the confidence I needed to do it. It was so easy and now my son-in-law’s computer works great.

  58. Andypandy says:

    Thanks for this great info, it made my job soooo much easier. I’m now up to 1TB for more films!! All clean of course. Cheers!

  59. Great! It worked, thank you!

  60. John Oliver says:

    Excellent article. I’ve moved a lot of existing drives around but I guess the one I just installed was the first new out of the box drive I’ve installed and I didn’t realize you had to format them. Makes sense, but I just didn’t think about it. Thanks for getting me back on the right track.

  61. David D says:

    I’m planning a hard drive replacement. What are the pro’s and con’s of cloning the old drive versus a Windows reinstall? If I put the old drive in an external drive case, can I clone from this location versus the internal cable?


  62. G’day David Risley,

    Great help from your website! I tried going to Dell & to XP help sites but there are too many related instructions & not really what I needed. To others out there who are stumped by techy terminology, I suggest browsing a little bit more sites & things will fall into place. Heck, I’ve even had to go to Wikipedia to understand what SATA is!

    Great website! I’ve saved this to my useful websites list for easy reference!

    Thanks, matey!

  63. Michael Negranol says:

    A very helpful article, really. Helped me over that last hurdle in getting my new drive up and running. The physical installation was easy – I just needed that last bit of help getting through the Windows XP disk management stage.

    As I write this, 500gb of new hard disk space is slowly formating into existence, and soon my now dwarfish primary disk will have space to spare. The cramped 3gb left on my drive will no longer bog me down or limit my media.

    Thank you Mr. Risley – it’s not easy finding good tech support at 10:30, but I’ve been waiting too long to get this up new drive up and running to wait, and this little guide did the trick.

  64. Alejandro says:

    I Have A Compaq Presario SR5130NX with a Western Digital Caviar SE (SATA) Hard Drive (Vista). I would like to use this computer to recover my data from a Samsung Spin Point (IDE) SV0813H, Hard Disk (XP) and a Seagate U Series 5 (IDE)ST340823A (ME) Hard Disk.

    How I do this?????

    p.s. I already know about master and slave.

    • Hi I bought this on Ebay, it works realy well, you can connect any hard drive to a usb socket. it’s as easy as using a memory stick.

      See Item number: 400008690027 on ebay


  65. Thank you very much for this… I was stuck until I read the section regarding using the hard drive as a secondary drive… Bloody windows. Thank you.

  66. great article, it helps to send something to my dad while i’m at college so that i don’t have to explain everything over the phone.

  67. thanks for the help!
    i have a question tho,,
    i want to add a second drive simply for photo work.
    can i still format the new drive and then install my photo editing tools on it , without any problems? while windows xp runs on the original drive?
    my photos take up all my space and this would help alot.

  68. I have a gateway computer and I added an extra hard drive to the computer and its not showing up on my you have any suggetsions its a Sata Drive..

  69. Hi,
    Just read your article and i’m sure i’ve done all the physical installation correctly of my second/slave IDE. However it is not appearing in ‘My Computer’, even though I’m using Windows ME? I have checked Set-up/BIOS- it is all there (but ghosted? and set to Auto. It’s there in the device manager too, saying it is working properly but it has no letter allocated to it. Thhe only way it will let me allocate a letter is if i select it as removable drive- then it appears in ‘My Computer’ and asks if i want to format it when i click on it. Should i just go ahead with formatting it as a removable drive?
    Hope you can help, so far this has been a longwinded exploraton of my computer. I’m sure i must be overlooking something really simple, but what?!?!?!?

  70. You saved my ass man! Thanks a lot!

  71. At last!! Someone that explains so even I can do it. Thanks

  72. Great Article. Helped me to successfully install a second drive to my HP A1647C tower. I knew some of the terms, but it took a few minutes to learn what they were and then followed the clear steps to install, config and run the two drive setup. Thanks for the instructions! Very helpful!!

    • Thanks,
      I was having an issue initializing my second SATA hard drive. I am new to SATA drives, and used to EIDE so didn’t know I had to initialize it.

      Thanks for the help.

  73. Not sure what all the fuss was about in some of your earlier posts, but you made this post easy to understand. I read it yesterday and was able to install a new (additional) drive with out any issues. This was a very easy task. I suggest that if readers are willing to search for this topic, then they should also to be able to take a few risks. I do have a suggestion though, could you add a few pics here and there so that we can see what you are talking about. Just a suggestion. Thanks alot. I’ll be back for more later.

  74. Dave,
    Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to publish these instructions. However, I am still stumped.
    I have a Windows XP system. My HD crashed so I purchased a new SATA drive. In addition I had to purchase a PCI serial ATA host controller card with a cable to connect the new HD. I was able to use the existing power cable.
    When I try to boot up the new HD using my Windows boot/installation disk, I get a message that Setup could not find any HD installed on my PC. The HD is powered on and I think it is properly connected. I am at a dead end and need help.
    Thank you!

    • Sue Harris says:

      Hi Cliff

      Did you ever find a solution to your problem installing a new sata hard drive – we’re having exactly the same difficulty?

  75. working on a computer with two hard drives. I’m familiar with computers but this is the first dual setup I have seen. Computer recognizes both drives. System runs windows xp.If I look at the drives in computer management, both drives show up as healthy, but one is labeled “system” and the other is labeled “page files” There are no jumpers on the ide drives. Problem is , that there is very little space left on the system drive. You constantly get a message that space on drive c is dangerously low, which it is. What I am not sure about is if the second hard drive should automatically store overflow data from the first drive same just as if the first drive were twice as large.Also the drive does not show up in my computer. Should I simply add jumpers and format the second drive? Thanks

  76. Without getting involved in a conversation about whether or not myself or anyone else can understand the lingo here…I’m simply attempting my first HD replacement due to a crash. The system is old but loved so can you tell me the difference between an IDE and SATA HD? Assuming I have an IDE now, can it simply be replaced by a SATA drive or is the motherboard specific to each? Sorry for the dumb question but is there really such a thing anyway??

  77. hi, nice step by step, but can you tell me how can i locate the slave hard drive when it is not shown in the Disk Management. The Drive is found under the device manager under mass storage but not in disk manager. the drive is working properly. i want to format it… thanx

  78. All the Bickering that I read in the begging of this is absolutly POINTLESS!!!! Every one knows what they are capable of!!! This was more than enough to help even the Lowest level of expearance Swap or add a hard drive!!!

    I want to say Thank YOU!!! I am in the happy Medium of the geek world. I toruble shoot circuits for a living and use computers every day for work. BUT I do NOT repair. This was more than Helpfull in my Latest Conquest!!! Rebuilding a Relic for my Kids. Your step by step made the Job so much better!!

    Thank You!! Not one problem with your directions!!!

    Any Idea if I can have a Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista 64 all in the same wireless network? My next Challange!!!

    Cheers Tim

  79. Fantastic article!! I just installed a new SATA drive but couldn’t figure out how to get Windows XP to recognize it and assign it a dive letter. Thanks for the info.

  80. RepairGal says:

    Anyone who doesn’t understand what a “jumper” is shouldn’t be trying to change out their hard drive. What they need is to study “Computers for Dummies” first -then- read this article. That said, this article was a real help for my reinstall. The tip on setting the jumper properly is what got my drive up and running. Thanks!

  81. Nice guide, but you tell vista doesnt show the HD till you format it.
    How do you format a HD that you cant see then?

  82. this guide is … what can I say? EXCELLENT!!!!

    thanks guys for creating this it sure is a help for newbies out there 🙂
    as Kyle said waaaaaay back, “I did’nt know that disk management exist” hehehe

  83. I read in a magazine recently how to install a drive. In the article, it mentioned that the PC should not be plugged into the internet until XP SP3 is installed; they then provided the link to d/l the SP3 patch.

    However, when I read the Microsoft website, it said that SP 3 should not be installed until SP 1.a (I believe this was correct) or SP 2 are installed.

    Does anyone know if this is correct? Thanks in advance!

  84. Hi

    I am trying to install a new sata drive onto my pc. Im very sure I have it connected correctly, but when I boot up and try to enter the setup it takes a very long time and eventually goes black bar a cursor. When it runs a self test the drive is detected but only when I press f1 to enter setup and then it will not enter setup. Any idea on what i might be doing wrong?


  85. Great, thank you! One problem though – after setting up the new drive and using Norton Ghost 10.0 to clone the old drive, I can’t boot from the new drive. Booting from the old drive allows recognition of the new drive no problem, just can’t boot from the new one. Any suggestions?

  86. Thanks for taking the time to write this guide, it was just the manage part i forgot about 🙂

  87. Thank you, thank you for posting this helpful tip on how to install a hard drive. I managed the installation of the hardware on my own, but was at a loss on how to assign the drive letter. I was told by computer support group that I can only assign a letter once I installed the startup disk (which unfortunatley I couldn’t find). Your website got me passed this and told me how to do it without that. I’m so happy I found your website.

  88. If my current hard drive is corrupted with a virus and I transfer the content to a new hard drive, will it transfer the virus to the new hard drive?

  89. i have a 6g hard drive, but i have a 40 g new hard drive. Can I replace the 6g with the 40 safely.

  90. Dear Sir, I am using windows xp 2003 operatin g system. Now I want to remove this and install Ubuntu. When I insert the CD on the drive I am getting a dialog box that I require 256MB memory. I a senior citizen with only a little computer knowledge. Can u please guide me/help me to install the new system. Thanking you,
    Yours truly,

  91. Michael says:

    Thanks. Sorted things out.

  92. Michelle says:

    My computer was infected with a Virus so a friend of mine reformatted my computer. All is good except for the fact that my hard drive has a “C” and an “I”. Now, the C drive only has 550 mb on it & the “I” drive has 159 GB on it. My problem is that it thinks the “C” drive is the main drive & when I try to update my windows or drivers, it is not giving me the option to say save to the “I” drive & just shoots me an error message saying I don’t have enough room. Can someone please tell me how to change that?? PLEASE?!? Thank you so much in advance for your help!

  93. I recently puchased completely new parts to build a new computer. I bought an Uber Chakra case and a WD Caviar Blue Hard Drive. Here is my problem, the drive rails that came with my case do not fit on the hard drive. The metal the case is built from is thicker than average so the screws I have do not reach to try and install it that way. What do people recommend to safely install my hard drive?

  94. nice article! I’m somewhat of a techie and i do understand all the jargon. however, if you’re one that does not understand any of this info, or part of this awesome info…then go google it elsewhere…speaking of google…great tool to “look-up” info about this you don’t know about!!! hello!!! help yourself before you can be helped!!! A+ on the info! thanks

  95. Okay… here is my issue and I am at whits end.

    My hard drive crashed, but I had a back up one. In the process of removing my backup files and converting to use the back up as the main drive, I got the message “hard drive failure is eminent”. I bought a new hard drive and used the Restore CD to format it. With the new drive as the only HD hooked up, it won’t boot and has a disk read error. Using the old drive to boot and connecting the new one as a slave, I see all of the files created by the restore disk.

    Did I get a bad drive or is there something that I need to do to get the new drive to be recognized as the boot drive?

    Thanks for any advice that you guys give…

  96. I just installed a new HD and followed all the steps, but while it was formatting the drive i got a afraid to try formatting again until someone can give me some advice

  97. Jonathon says:

    Hey I have been trying to put in a third hard drive in don’t ask why because I just like the extra space. I plugged all three in and my computer screeched at me!!!! Then i remembered that one is set to slave the other to master what do i set the third one to i tried slave but still screeched at me! Should I try Cable select?

  98. I would first try cable select though I cannot verify the results. The best solution is to go into your setup menu and format the third hard drive to correspond to the primary hard drive.

  99. David,

    Thank You for the above web site that help me install the hard disk and and on formatting the second half of the disk.

    Thanks David Risley

  100. I am installing a new drive that I need to restore an image to. This drive will be the main drive, but not until I load the image from the old drive. I can’t just clone the drive or transfer files as the old drive is corrupted. However, it does still boot up and run windows. I need the old drive in order to run the image software, as I don’t have a boot CD or the windows disks on hand. Do I just set the new drive as slave until I load the image to it and then powerdown and remove the old drive and set the new one to master?

  101. Thanks so much for this post.

    I installed a 1TB SATA drive and it showed up fine in the BIOS but XP acted like it didn’t exist.

    Once I initiated it and partioned it all, was well.

    I had not idea any of this was necessary any more as the last upgrade I did was on a Win98 machine and it was all automatic. Great step backwards MS.

  102. Hi, I have a drive mounted in an external enclosure, on which the power supply has gone dead. The power supply of the enclosure that is, not the drive. For a couple of reasons, I have decided to mount the drive inside my PC. I opened up the case, following your instructions. My SATA cable is now connected to both my internal HD and the new HD I have just put in, and it then goes to the motherboard. I do not, however, have a long enough power cable for the new HD. What are these cables called so I can purchase one? Also, you mentioned something that concerned me; formatting the drive. Well, thing is, I have 900GB of data on the drive that I cannot lose. From reading your article, it sounds like I will have to format all data off the drive if I want it to be recognised by Windows? If this is the case, would I simply be better off mounting it in a new external enclosure? Using Windows XP Pro SP3, Intel E8400 processor (dual core at 3.00GHZ), 4GB of RAM, custom built system. Thanks, hope to hear from you or another one of the commenters soon.

    • You probably already figured it out…. Your drive already has been seen by the computer and your just putting it inside. They sell all kinds od power cable extentions and adapters. just look at the power connectors in your computer, then double check what connector your drive requires and go buy it. example large four prong plug in the computer vs. small four prong or SATA connection on the drive. Your computer should see and read your drivejust fine. It did before.

  103. My husband is trying to install his new hard drive into the laptop….. however it states no operating system when he boots it. He tried using his Windows backup disks that he made when he bought the laptop but it goes through the disks, has him restart and then still just states no operating system. Does he need an actual Windows Vista disk instead of the ones you make when you first get the computer? Or is there another way around this?

  104. LUIS RESTO says:


    I want say Thanks so much for this post

    this post help me alot

    thanks again DAVID RISLEY

  105. The professor has been schooled. Thanks a bunch David, I was really in a pickle. Your blog saved the day. I owe you one.

  106. Thanks to your excellent instructions I was able to install a new hard drive with only minor pain. I needed to replace the one that crashed a couple of weeks ago, but I thought it would be too hard a job until I found your site. Since I’m an old geezer and not tech savvy, I need the kind of help you provide. Many thanks.

  107. awesome. I have no idea about computers and never opened up the box. successfully installed second hard drive thanks to this post 🙂

  108. I have a 320 gig IDE hard drive .Im trying to install it in a dell 4600 that had a sata drive, when i installed it i couldnt get passed start up mode. i changed the primary drive in the bios to the ide hard drive , still couldnt get passed start up mode.

  109. Mark barbee says:

    Here’s one for ya. I pulled old IDE drive out of old box. Wanted to install in new box. New box HD is SATA. The IDE ribbon comes off of optical drive. I have set the jumpers on old HD to slave, master, cable select. All three settings blue screen on me. I have to start at “start windows normally” and then tries to boot further but then blue screens and says disc drive is not configured properly. It does the same with all three settings. What else can I do. All I want to do is get the info off the drive and toss it.

  110. Oh My God! Thank you so much for this information… I was going in to my computer and to no avail didnt see the second hard drive. So, I would re-check the SATA cables and moving it to other SATA connections and still no second Hard Drive. I forgot about formatting it. Wow again thank you

  111. Great instructions. I should be good, but here is my dilemma. I just installed a 1TB HD via sata controller card, to my Dell pc. Don’t know if it’s important, but i’m running XP. The intent was just a secondary drive for extra space. I installed just as you said. I got as far as the pop up page showing me the controller card, and the new drive added to the controller card. But then it just freezes up. It won’t let me do anything. “I’m pulling out my hair here!” Please help. It sounds like i’m at least on the right path……Here is the exact log…

    Phoenix ROM BIOS PLUS Version 1.10 A05
    Copyright 19854-1988 Phoenix Techmologies LTD.
    Copyright 1990-2003 Dell Computer Corp.
    All rights reserved

    Dell Systems Dimension 2400 Series
    BIOS version A05

    Keyboard failure

    Sil 3114 SATARaid BIOS Version 5.0.39
    Copyright (c) 1997-2004 Silicon Image, Inc.

    Press or F4 to enter RAID utility
    1 WDC WD10EADS-00L5B1

    WDC being the new drive on Port 1 of the SATA controller of course.
    But all I get is a flashing cursor. Cant do nothing else.


  112. GREAT THANKS!!!!!!!

  113. Hello

    i wanted to ask, i’m trying to connect a previous sata hard drive onto friends computer to access some files so i can back them up. If i were to plug it in, would it be able to recgonise it? as i do not want to partition / reformat it. or would i have to clone it?

    Please reply, greatly appreciate your time.


  114. i have done everything you have mentioned, when i enter the bios screen it sees my new drive had to replace the old one stopped working but when i try to install windows xp pro or windows 7 it says there is no hard drive and to check the connections and retry. any suggestions.

  115. travis gibbs says:

    ok i have a old computer may me 4 years or more. ok the c drive does not have that much memary i took the c drive out and tryed to put a new one in but the hook ups on the drive are diffrent. both came from a dell computer. i have all the hook ups but the mother bord is missing the small little blue cord plug. what do i have to do to get the new c drive to work. or can you help me with is one to. the c drive that im using now as like no memary some one told me to stick them in my d/cd or my e/dvd/cd drive to keep them out of my c drive but everytime i put something in my d or e drive my c drive is telling me it is full. i need help plzz

  116. Hello,

    I am trying to add another internal SATA 250G harddrive to my system,I have 4 plugs on my mother board to plug into.
    I have hooked everything up correctly as you described but when I boot up my computer it freezes on computer screen,when I disconnect the wires and restart it boots up normally?I haven’t gone into the bios yet,should I?

  117. well you say vista cant read the drive from ‘my computer’ but you dont say how to start a format process… do i have to do this from the bios ?

  118. Ron. Roberts says:

    I run with windows 7 and use SATA HD When I installed a hard drive ( a have a couple of drives installed ) I check my computer and most tell me the used capacity and indicate it in green This one drive indicates the capacity in Red. Do I have a problem or is this normal if it’s not normal what can I do about it ?

  119. Alan Munro says:

    I am trying to replace my existing hard Drive with a Samsung 1Tb unit. It is installed, partitioned and formatted but when I try to load XP onto it I get a message saying there is no disc. I am trying to do this with the original Hard Drive removed and the CD-Rom drive selected as the on from which to boot up. I then place my XP disc in the CD-Rom but get the above message……

    Any help will be appreciated by this Senior Gentleman!

  120. thnx man ur detailed xplanation has really helped to solve my problem..thanxxxxx

  121. Any vista advise please,

  122. my newer pc with xp is having problems so i took out the HDD and put into my older pc also with xp. but i think the older one is IDE and the newer one a sata! cant figure out how to set it so that it boots. i want to copy files from the slave drive to an external drive til i get my recovery cd’s. the HDD is error free but the recovery console on that pc is corrupt. right now when it tries to boot i get the safe mode, etc menu. no matter what i chose i get stuck on the HP blue start up screen. any ideas on what to do? thx

  123. Ok my computer got messed up and I have a old computer with a decent hard drive and I have enough experiance to exchange it when I put the new hard drive in do I have to reinstall windows?

  124. Awesome job man, helped me out a ton, thnx a bunch!

  125. Lee Robinson says:

    Thanks very much for the advice. Easy to follow and did exactly what it was meant to do.

  126. This looks like a great site. I liked this posting, but I am installing (one at a time) TWO formatted *IDE* HDDs *with* data on them. I want to transfer the data onto one of the SATA drives I already have inside the PC.

    I tried doing this using a “USB converter kit” but it didn’t work.

    I now have one of the HDDs connected to the mobo with an 80-pin IDE ribbon cable. The HDDs *DO* power up and “spin” ….. they DO show up in Device Manager, but do NOT show up in My Computer or Windows explorer.

    I have left both HDDs unjumpered, which puts them in Slave status.

    Any ideas? Thank you in advance !

  127. Great!! Thanks for the help. JUst used HDClone to upgrade my Hard Drive.

  128. Thanks, this really came in handy considering the drive instructions (Hitachi) said nothing of how to install and even their online info was pretty lacking.

  129. ray devine says:

    thank you for your help i will need this soon for cctv.

  130. mansoor says:

    thanks this is very easy to work and i want to know that i want to put two hard drives in my machine but i want only one hard drive work what should i do

  131. Dhuricane says:

    Hello, I installed a 2t hard drive but know mt computer don't turn on and just is doing a beep.
    What do I need to do to get it to work?

  132. JohnnyBoyClub says:

    You should know that in order to keep your HDD alive as long as possible you should use a backup software like , is free and you can store online on their servers , and also you should format from time to time , because every format is fixing like 85-90% of all problems

  133. I followed your advice step by step and installed and formatted a new slave drive. Everything works fine! Thank You very much!

  134. When you purchase a hard drive for a computer, one of the choices you may need to make is if the hard drive will be a 7200rpm hard drive or a 5400rpm hard drive. As you may have already guessed, the rpm of a hard drive is one of the factors that is considered in assessing a hard drive’s speed, and a 7200rpm hard drive spins faster than a 5400rpm hard drive and therefore can access data faster.

    One of the problems with 7200rpm and faster hard drives is heat. When it comes to computers and their components, heat is a killer. A 7200rpm hard drive (and even a machine with two 7200rpm hard drives) should do quite well in terms of heat. Once you start moving to hard drive that run at 10,000rpm or more, however (e.g. Seagate Cheetah drives), then you need to consider special cooling for the drives to keep the temperature of the computer down to a safe level.

  135. Dazwelder says:

    can i change my hard drive and use the recovery disc that came with my compter to install programs

  136. Fvaldez63 says:

    i had vista before changed the hard drive and install xp now i have problems to conect wireless to internet

  137. Dazwelder says:

    does any have the answer to the last post

  138. Thanks for giving a step by step guide. this is a very useful post for all beginners out there. cheers!

  139. Can I mix IDE & SATA? That is master IDE and slave SATA.

  140. Welmarie Verano says:

    helo! can u help me of how to set jumper as slave and primary?//

  141. Rubie Mae Tabura says:

    Each IDE/ATA channel can support either one or two devices. IDE/ATA devices of course each contain their own integrated controllers, and so in order to maintain order on the channel, it is necessary to have some way of differentiating between the two devices. This is done by giving each device a designation as either master or slave, and then having the controller address commands and data to either one or the other. The drive that is the target of the command responds to it, and the other one ignores the command, remaining silent.

    Note that despite the hierarchical-sounding names of “master” and “slave”, the master drive does not have any special status compared to the slave one; they are really equals in most respects. The slave drive doesn’t rely on the master drive for its operation or anything like that, despite the names (which are poorly-chosen–in the standards the master is usually just “drive 0” and the slave “drive 1”). The only practical difference between master and slave is that the PC considers the master “first” and the slave “second” in general terms. For example, DOS/Windows will assign drive letters to the master drive before the slave drive. If you have a master and slave on the primary IDE channel and each has only one regular, primary partition, the master will be “C:” and the slave “D:”. This means that the master drive (on the primary channel) is the one that is booted, and not the slave.

    Devices are designated as master or slave using jumpers, small connectors that fit over pairs of pins to program the drive through hardware. Each manufacturer uses a different combination of jumpers for specifying whether its drive is master or slave on the channel, though they are all similar. Some manufacturers put this information right on the top label of the drive itself, while many do not; it sometimes takes some hunting around to find where the jumper pins are on the drive even once you know how the jumpers are supposed to go. The manufacturers are better about this now than they have been in the past, and jumpering information is always available in the manual of the hard disk, or by checking the manufacturer’s web site and searching for the model number. I describe (and illustrate) the jumpers on IDE/ATA disks in detail in the section on hard disk construction. For a fundamental description of what jumpers are, see here.

    ATAPI devices such as optical, Zip and tape drives are jumpered in pretty much the same way as hard disks. They have the advantage of often having their jumpers much more clearly labeled than their hard disk counterparts. Most optical drives, for example, have three jumper blocks at the back, labeled “MA” (master), “SL” (slave) or “CS” (cable select).

    If you are using two drives on a channel, it is important to ensure that they are jumpered correctly. Making both drives the master, or both the slave, will likely result in a very confused system. Note that in terms of configuration, it makes no difference which connector on the standard IDE cable is used in a standard IDE setup, because it is the jumpers that control master and slave, not the cable. This does not apply when cable select is being used, however. Also, there can be electrical signaling issues if one connects a single drive to only the middle connector on a cable, leaving the end connector unattached. In particular, the use of Ultra DMA is not supported in such a configuration; see the discussion of the 80-conductor Ultra DMA cable for more information.

    As long as one drive is jumpered as master and the other as slave, any two IDE/ATA/ATAPI devices should work together on a single channel. Unfortunately, some older hard disks will fail to work properly when they are placed on a channel with another manufacturer’s disk. One of the reasons why drives don’t always “play nicely together” has to do with the Drive Active / Signal Present (/DASP) signal. This is an IDE/ATA interface signal carried on pin #39, which is used for two functions: indicating that a drive is active (during operation), and also indicating that a slave drive is present on the channel (at startup). Some early drives don’t handle this signal properly, a residue of poor adherence to ATA standards many years ago. If an older slave drive won’t work with a newer master, see if your master drive has an “SP” (slave present) jumper, and if so, enable it. This may allow the slave drive to be detected.

    Drive compatibility problems can be extremely frustrating, and beyond the suggestion above, there usually is no solution, other than separating the drives onto different channels. Sometimes brand X won’t work as a slave when brand Y is the master, but X will work as a master when Y is the slave! Modern drives adhere to the formal ATA standards and so as time goes on and more of these older “problem” drives fall out of the market, making all of this less and less of a concern. Any hard disk bought in the last five years should work just fine with any other of the same vintage or newer.

    When using only a single drive on a channel, there are some considerations to be aware of. Some hard disks have only a jumper for master or slave; when the drive is being used solo on a channel it should be set to master. Other manufacturers, notably Western Digital, actually have three settings for their drives: master, slave, and single. The last setting is intended for use when the drive is alone on the channel. This type of disk should be set to single, and not master, when being used alone.

    Also, a single device on an IDE channel “officially” should not be jumpered as a slave. In practice, this will often work despite being formally “illegal”. Many ATAPI

  142. Just replaced my old IDE 20G hard drive with new 160G Western Ditigal. Reinstalled Windows XP HOme Edition using NTSF. But when I look at properties it only shows 10G. Now I know I’m a novice but what’s up and how do I get my missing space? – Mac in a PC world.

  143. Allanjones2009 says:

    l had my hard drive wiped now l cannot get internet connection

  144. Judith Murphy says:

    you probably have setup set to use the new harddrive to boot from – go into setup and change which harddrive to boot off of

  145. Max Campos - Peru says:

    Thanks a lot!!

  146. HI, thanks for this, ive never really done anything to my computer before the insides anyway, and despite getting lost alot wityh jargon i still dont quite understand, thanks to this article i have a shiny new E:// on the my computer tab, so nice one

  147. My laptop hard drive went bad, and I bought another internal hard drive to replace it. I had windows 7 on the hard drive. After installing the new hard drive, how do I install windows 7 if my computer didn’t come with windows 7 CD?

  148. i try to do my and i put my Cd’s and by the end no internet and no audio the internet appear with X and speaker too with X please help thanks

  149. Toshiba/ windows 7
    any help please !

  150. Great article, I am nervous about doing stuff like this but this article just helped me install a new IDE slave drive into my aging dell pc. Formatting right now!

  151. Thanks a lot! You just reduced hours of head scratching down to 30 seconds.

  152. Rick Sosnowski says:

    Good info. What NOT TO DO saved my butt.. I’m sure I would have converted it to a Dynamic disc and would have had all kinds of troubles. Thanks for taking the time to put up such a good article.

  153. I recently installed a second hard drive (for more storage) and ever since for some reason my system date and time keeps resetting every time I turn my pc on. (it stays set correctly if it’s just a restart)

  154. Sanjeev Karki Romiyo says:

    C:> Means what??

  155. onwuka kalu says:

    i have a 40GB sata hard disk running in my hp desktop, now i replaced it with 500GB sata hard disk but its only displaying a blinking cursor on the screen and can not booth. please i need you help the curse and solution. thank

    • you have a Nadlr error or your operating system is not installed. your drive works fine but you os isnt updated.

  156. OldWoman says:

    Hello all…We are replacing the hd on laptop, which is dimple and no problem. We were not able to save or copy anything because the restore discs would not work and since it is out of warranty, Toshiba was of no help. My question is, do the drivers need to all be re-installed? If so, after the new OS? I understand about the boot order in the bios and how to do all of that for the media. Oh, and one more thing..does the HD come with it’s own driver?

  157. OldWoman says:

    oops, simple. LOL

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