Installing IDE hard drives - PCWiki
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Installing IDE hard drives

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As requested from another topic, I am converting my post into a Wiki Document. I'll be changing a few things around, so that I can attempt to cover more situations, and not just the ones in the aforementioned topic.

How to tell if you have an IDE drive

IDE is the old interface standard for hard drives and optical drives. It is easily recognized by a wide row of pins on the back of the drive, a second set of pins for jumper settings, and a molex plug for power. A SATA drive has much smaller connectors with no visible pins, for both data and power. Some SATA drives come with a molex plug as well. Here are some examples:





IDE drives use a ribbon cable to connect to the motherboard. They are easily recognized by their flat, ribbon shape. They usually come with 3 connectors, although some older cables may only come with 2.


Here you can see an IDE cable that adheres to the standard coloring of connectors. The blue end connects to your motherboard, the black end connects to the master drive, and the gray connects to the slave drive. More on master and slave drives later. One other thing you need to connect a new IDE drive is a spare molex connector from your power supply. More often than not, you should have at least one extra of these inside your case. <span id="fck_dom_range_temp_1287502565205_643" />


The last thing you need before installing a drive is the space to put it in. Inside your case, note where your current hard drive is located. It should be screwed into a cage assembly, or slid in with drive rails. Is there another space just like it nearby? Are the screwholes in the same positioning? Some cages put lettering beside the holes, telling you what they are meant for. HDD stands for Hard Disk Drive (your hard drive), ODD stands for Optical Disk Drive (your CD/DVD drive), and FDD stands for Floppy Disk Drive. Here is an example of what a drive cage looks like:


If you have the correct space for another hard drive, then you're set. On a side note, sometimes the FDD space has holes for the hard drive as well. So if you don't have an internal floppy drive, you can put a hard drive in there instead.

Now, if you have all of that, there are still some questions that need answering before we can continue. Do you have a CD or DVD drive in your computer? Is it IDE or SATA? If it's IDE, is it connected to the same cable as the hard drive? This is important, since if your CD/DVD drive is an IDE drive, it may be taking up the space you need to install a new IDE hard drive.

If you have an IDE CD/DVD drive, and it is on the same cable as your hard drive: You will need another cable for your new hard drive. This can be a problem, because many motherboards out there today only have one connection for an IDE cable. This is because IDE is slowly being phased out in favor of SATA. Check where your IDE cable is connected to your motherboard. Is there another port just like it nearby? Disregard the floppy connection, since it's smaller, and most likely a different color. Here is an example of 2 IDE ports right next to each other:


(Note the notch in both the plug and motherboard connection. This tells you that it is plugged in correctly. Your hard drive should also have a notch in it to assist in proper cable insertion)

If you have another port, and spare cable, you can go ahead and connect your new drive. Before you do though, make sure you set your jumper settings correctly. If you don't know how, I'll explain further down the page. Also, I'm assuming your case chassis has room for another hard drive. If it doesn't, then you'll either have to mod your case or buy an external enclosure. I would suggest removing your CD/DVD drive from the old cable, and putting the new hard drive on the same cable as the old hard drive, so the CD/DVD drive is on the new cable by itself. It should help keep things more organized in your case.

If you have an IDE CD/DVD drive, and it is on a separate cable from your hard drive, or you have a SATA CD/DVD drive: This is your best case scenario. You can install your new hard drive as a slave to your master hard drive, assuming your current ribbon cable has 3 connectors. Be sure to change the jumper settings on both drives, if necessary. Some older drives have a jumper setting called "single;" if your old hard drive has this, it needs to be changed to "master" or "cable select." The new drive needs to be set as "slave" or "cable select." <span id="fck_dom_range_temp_1287502620344_357" />

Jumper settings: On the connection side of an IDE hard drive, there are several sets of pins. The wide set is where the ribbon cable goes. There is then a smaller set, which has a small plastic jumper connecting two pins together.


This is what tells your hard drive if it's a master or slave. On the top of the drive, where all the lettering is, there should be a diagram that explains how to set the jumper for each setting. In some cases, a setting is determined by the jumper not being connected at all. You can remove the jumper altogether, but put it in a place where you won't lose it. There are normally 3 different settings: master, slave, and cable select. Master is usually reserved for a boot device, your old hard drive for example, and slave is for any other IDE device. Master doesn't have to be a boot device, in case you are using more than one IDE cable. Cable select means that the hard drive will automatically configure itself to master or slave depending on where it is plugged in. If you plug it into the master plug, it will automatically set itself to master. The last type is single, but it is not very common anymore. It's basically the same thing as master, but it assumes there aren't any slave drives. If you want to use a slave drive, you cannot have the master drive set on single. Note, if you cannot remove the jumper by hand, you may need a set of tweezers.

Connecting your drive: You'll need a screwdriver if your case does not use drive rails. Ensure that you have the proper jumper settings. If your hard drive cage is removable, it is easier to install when you remove it from the case. Insert the hard drive into the slot carefully. Push it in until the holes in the cage are lined up with the holes on the drive. Use the screws provided with your hard drive or case to install the drive. If you don't have any, then make sure you use short screws. If the screws are too long, they can end up contacting the hardware of the hard drive, and cause serious damage. Most hard drives install with 4 screws. If you removed your cage, and it normally faces the back of the case, you can keep it out for installing the cables. Insert the IDE ribbon cable end into drive (remember, black for master, gray for slave), making sure that the notch in the cable matches the notch in the hard drive. Make sure it is plugged in completely, since failure to do so can cause problems. Connect the molex connector, making sure that the notched ends of the plug match the notched ends of the connector. Reinstall the cage if necessary. Insert the blue end of the cable into the motherboard if you removed it, again looking at proper notch alignment. If everything is connected properly, then you're set!

If this is a brand new drive, you may need to create a partition on it. Once you boot up your computer, go to the Control Panel. Double-click on Administrative Tools, then on Computer Management. A new window will appear, listing many options. In the tree on the left hand side, click on Disk Management. this will list all of your drives. You should see your main drive (usually C), and your new drive you just installed should appear. The letter it is depends on what other devices you have installed on your computer.


Look at what comes after it (Healthy, in the example above). Each block is a partition on your hard drive, which is basically just dividing it into separate sections for organization of data. If your new drive says "Unallocated space," then you need to create a partition. Right click on the space, and select "Create partition." A window will appear, guiding you through the process. Select Primary Partition. If this drive is just for extra storage, then select the maximum amount of data for the partition size. Select the NTFS option for formatting. When you're done, the window will close, and the Disk Management window will reappear. On your new drive, it will say "Formatting," and list the percentage completed. This can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes, so feel free to leave, or just surf the internet for a while until it is done. When it is complete (the drive says Healthy instead of Formatting) the drive is ready for use. Sometimes, the computer must be restarted after formatting a drive. It will tell you if it needs it.

I hope this helps anyone who's curious about installing IDE drives. Thanks for reading!

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