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Fitting A New Hard Drive

By Ric Mercer


No responsibility is accepted by the author or website owner for any resultant state of hardware as a result of following these instructions.

You will first have to remove the case cover.
You will need to have straight edge and Phillips screwdrivers and inside the computer case a spare 3.5inch drive bay or maybe a mounting adapter if you plan to use a 5.25inch bay.

If your new drive will be the only drive in your computer, you do not have to change any jumper settings. (It should already be set to master.) In this case, skip ahead to "Attaching Cables and Mounting the Drive."

If you already have one hard drive in your computer and you are installing a second drive, you must configure one drive as a master and the other as a slave. The master drive will be the "boot" drive (drive C), from which the computer loads the operating system software when it first starts up.

To configure your new drive, look on the drive label, or contact the drive manufacturer for the jumper pin configuration for the drive.
Slide a jumper onto the master jumper pins to configure as the master. To configure the drive as a slave, move jumper onto pins designated as slave. You will need to change the jumpers on your existing hard drive if its settings are the same as your new drive and both drives are to share the same cable.

Attaching Cables

Attaching Cables

If you are installing a new ATA cable, (Ribbon Cable) attach one end of the cable to the connector on your computer motherboard or host adapter. Thread the interface cable through the drive bay and attach the connector at the end of the interface cable to your drive. If you have two drives, attach the second drive (slave) to the second (last) connector.
Caution make sure to align pin l on the computer socket or host adapter with pin 1 on your drive or drives. Pin 1 on the cable is usually indicated by a stripe along the edge of the cable. Usually the Pin 1 position of the cable is adjacent to the power connector on the hard drive.
Mounting the drive

Mounting the Drive

Slide the drive carefully into the drive bay. Secure the drive with four 6-32 UNC mounting screws in either side of the mounting holes or the bottom mounting holes Do not over tighten the screws, Do not use metric screws or screws more than ¼ inch long for mounting the drive.

Note. If you are mounting the drive in a 5,25-inch drive bay, you need a mounting adapter or frame kit. Contact a computer dealer. Some computers also require drive-mounting rails, which can be obtained from your distributor or computer manufacturer.
Attach a power cable to each drive; if your computer does not have an unused power connector, you can purchase a Y-shaped power cable from your computer dealer.
Check all cable connections and then replace your computer cover.

Configuring the computer

Before you format or partition your new drive, you must configure your computer's BIOS so that the computer can recognize your new drive.

Turn your computer on. As your computer starts up, watch the screen for a message describing how to run the system setup program (also called BIOS or CMOS setup). This is usually done by pressing a special key, such as DELETE, ESC or F1 during startup. See your computer manual for details. Press the appropriate key to run the system setup.

If your BIOS provides automatic drive detection (an "Auto" drive type), select this option. This allows your computer to configure itself automatically for your new drive,

If your BIOS does not provide automatic drive detection, select "User-defined" drive settings. Enable LBA mode if it is available. Many BIOS use logical block addressing (LBA) mode to access drives with capacities greater than 528 Mbytes.
If your computer supports LBA addressing, enter the LBA cylinder, head and sector values for your drive from the table on the drive's label If your computer does not support LBA addressing, enter the CHS values from the table.
Note. Set the write precomp or loading zone parameters to zero.


Partitioning or formatting a drive erases all data on it. Softcel assumes no
Liability if you erase your data.

Drive Partitioning

Partitioning a hard drive divides it into sections (partitions) that function as separate logical drives (labeled C, D, F, etc.). because earlier DOS computers could not access partitions larger than 2,1 Gbytes, it was a must to divide large-capacity hard drives into multiple partitions.

In creating partitions, the larger the partition, the more drive space is taken up in unused clusters. For this reason, if most of your files are smaller than 32 Kbytes, you could use partitions of 2 Gbyte or less. If you have a very large drive this may not be feasible.
To partition your new drive: Many people use one partition this is ok and makes the whole process simpler, especially if you are doing this for the first time.

Insert a bootable DOS diskette into your diskette drive "A" and restart your computer (a Win9x recovery disk will do.)
It has a DOS program that contains the FDISK.EXE and FORMAT.COM programs.
At the A: prompt, type FDISK and press ENTER.
If you have two hard drives installed. The FDISK menu displays five options. Option five allows you to select the drive you want to partition. Make sure that your new drive is selected.

Select Create DOS partition or logical DOS drive by pressing 1. Then press ENTER.
Select "Create primary DOS partition" by pressing 1 again then press ENTER. Create your first drive partition. If you are creating a partition that will be used to boot your computer (drive C), make sure the partition is marked active. You may be asked if you wish to make the entire drive bootable if you agree to this you will have one partitioned drive that's OK.

Skip this if you created one partition.
"Create an extended partition and additional logical drives, as necessary, until all the space on your new hard drive has been partitioned."

When the partitioning is complete, FDISK reboots your computer do this manually.

Drive Formatting

Caution. Make sure to use the correct drive letters so that you do not format a drive that already contains data this is very easy to do if you are not careful at this point.

At the A: prompt, type format x /s, where x is the letter of your first new partition. Repeat the format process for all the new partitions you have created.

After you format your drive, it is ready to use.

Installing the Operating System

You are now ready to install an operating system if you are using a Win recovery disk (Boot disk) you can opt for recovery with CD Rom support this should allow you to access your CD Rom drive from the Dos prompt. This process will create an extra temporary drive, so your normal CD Rom drive Letter will be pushed back one letter. Type this new letter it maybe now E: F: G: etc on your computer. You can then type setup. (make sure that your system CD is in the drive!)

Basic Troubleshooting
If you have more than one hard drive and perhaps one or two CD Roms you will need to use both IED controller sockets on the motherboard often numbered 0 and 1 or 1and 2 the first controller would be described as primary and the other as secondary. Each of these has a master and slave connection often the best configuration for a setup for say two hard drives and two CDs could be each hard drive set as master and each CD Rom set as slave.
So you would have on each cable a hard drive and a CD Rom the hard drive connected on the first connecter and the CD on the last.
You will need to enable both IDE controller channels for the sockets on the motherboard in the BIOS set-up if only one is available.
If you have installed your drive and it does not function properly, perform the following basic checks:

Always turn off the computer before changing jumpers or unplugging cables and cards.
Wear a ground strap or use other antistatic precautions while working on your computer or handling your drive.

Check all cards.
Verify that all cards are seated in their slots on the motherboard and secured with mounting screws.

Check all connectors and cables.
Make sure all ribbon and power cables are securely connected. Ribbon cables are easily damaged, especially at the connector. Try a another cable known to be good, try an older style ATA cable maybe your drive doesn't support the newer ATA 66 type. (You may be trying to share a new drive and an older one on a new cable). Make sure no connector pins are bent. Verify that pin 1 on the interface cable is aligned with pin 1 on the drive and motherboard socket.
!Hell this gets complicated don't it!

Verify jumper settings
Review the instructions on this sheet and in your host adapter installation guide. Make sure all appropriate jumpers are installed or removed as necessary.

Check your power-supply specifications.
Each time you add a new device to your computer, make sure your computer's internal power supply can support the total power demand. If necessary, consult your dealer for a new power supply.

Verify the drive-type settings in the system set-up program.
The drive-type settings in the system BIOS must not exceed the physical specifications of your drive. Also, the settings must not exceed the limitations set by the operating system and BIOS.

Check for viruses.
Before you use someone else's diskette in your system for the first time, scan the diskette for viruses.

Advanced Troubleshooting
If you have performed the preceding basic checks but the problem persists, follow these guidelines for troubleshooting specific cases:

No power to system
Note "if you removed the Floppy drive or its cable" check that the power cable plug to the drive is on correctly and not crossed or missing a pin.

The screen remains blank when you power up the system.
If the steps listed previously do not remedy this problem, try the following:

Make sure the monitor is plugged in and turned on.
Check all cards.
Make sure the video card is seated in its slot and secured with mounting screws.
Turn off the computer and remove the drive host adapter if you are using one.
If the screen turns on after you reboot, the host adapter may be incompatible or defective. If so, see your dealer.

The system does not recognize the drive.
Check all cables.
Make sure the power supply is adequate for system needs.
Reboot the computer and listen to make sure the drive motor starts up. the drive could be very quiet, it may be difficult to hear if disc reaches operating speed. If the drive motor does not start up, recheck all drive cables.
Verify that for each drive, a drive-type is listed in the system set-up program.

Try rebooting your computer by pressing the CTRL, ALT and DELETE keys simultaneously. If the drive is recognized after you reboot the system, the computer BIOS test may be completing before the drive is ready. One solution is to slow the processor speed during start-up you may be able to do this in the BIOS. If your computer has a turbo switch, set it to slow speed before turning the computer on. If there is no turbo switch, you may be able to use keyboard commands; see your computer manual for details. After the computer is up and running, return the processor to the fast speed.
Another solution is to warm-boot your computer after every power up.

Check for I/O address conflicts. Turn off the computer and remove all the peripheral adapter cards except for the video card. If the computer recognizes the drive when you reboot the computer, turn off the computer. Reinstall
other peripheral cards, one at a time, until the conflict recurs. After you have isolated the source of the address conflict, you can resolve the conflict by changing the I/O address of the peripheral that appears to cause the conflict.

The dealer partitioned and formatted the drive for you in the store,
but the drive does not respond when you install it.

Reboot the computer and make sure the drive spins up. Check all cables.
Make sure the power supply is adequate for system needs.
Check for I/O address conflicts between peripheral cards.
Check for viruses.

The system hangs in FDISK or fails to create or save the partition record.
Check all cables.
Your DOS diskette may be corrupted. Try using a backup DOS diskette.
Make the partitions smaller.
Change the interrupt jumper setting on the host adapter if using one.
Some BIOS have a Track 0 protection feature that protects Track 0 from viruses (boot sector Virus checker). This may cause FDISK to hang the system. You must disable this feature in the system set-up program before you can use FDISK. See your computer reference guide for assistance. Be sure to re-enable this feature when FDISK is done.

The system error message, "Drive not Ready, "appears.
Check all cable connections. Make sure pin 1 of the drive is connected to pin 1 of the hard-disc controller or host adapter.
Make sure the power supply is adequate for system needs.
Reboot the computer and make sure the drive spins up.

The FDISK error message, "No Fixed Disk Present, "appears.
Make sure the power supply is adequate for system needs.
Verify the drive-type values in the system set-up program.
Check for I/O address conflicts.

The drive does not format to full capacity.
Verify the drive-type values in the system set-up program. One of the
following problems may have occurred:
The values may be set with an incorrect translation characteristic.
You may have entered a parameter value that exceeds the physical capacity of the drive.
You entered a translation characteristic that does not take full advantage of the drive's capacity.
The drive's physical specifications exceed the translation limits imposed by the BIOS.

Faulty Drive
At least 10% of new product can be faulty so it is worth getting it checked. Even cables can be suspect so don't trust
something just because its new.

Copyright © 2001-2006 © Copyright Karl Davis.

No part of this site may be reproduced in any format.All documents author acknowledged are copyright retained by the author.

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