Installing and Replacing a Hard Disk or CD-ROM drive

Discussion in 'Storage Devices' started by RHochstenbach, Mar 5, 2009.

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  1. RHochstenbach

    RHochstenbach Administrator

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    In this tutorial I will show you how to install and replace a hard disk. I'll give instructions about IDE and SATA hard drives. If there's a need to show instructions about SCSI drives, just PM me :)

    First of all, we take some preparations:

    Replacing a drive
    The first thing you need to know about the old drive, is the type of interface that it uses. Unplug the cables in the drive, and look at the back.

    If it looks like this, you have an IDE drive:

    If it looks like this, you have an SATA drive:

    Note that an SATA drive can also have the same 4 pins for power as an IDE drive.

    If you're going to replace an IDE hard disk, I'd suggest to see if you can use an SATA drive on your motherboard, as it has faster performance. For that, look at the next section (Adding a drive).

    Adding a drive
    If you want to add a drive, you first need to know what data interface is supported by your motherboard.

    90% of all motherboards these days stll have at least one IDE connection. Older ones always have two or more IDE connections. SATA is getting more popular, and you won't find a motherboard without SATA anymore these days.

    While I always suggest to use SATA hard drives because that interface is faster, you first need to know if you can connect it to your motherboard.

    If your motherboard supports SATA, it should have connectors that look like this:

    Note that they can have different colors like red, black, orange and even green.

    If your motherboard doesn't have these, it should have two IDE connections like this:

    Installing an IDE drive
    Most motherboards have an IDE connection on the motherboard, and sometimes even two (like older boards). There is a primary connection (blue) and a Secondary connection (black). It doesn't really matter which one you use, but if you like to do everything properly, you should first use the Primary (blue) connection.

    An IDE drive requires 2 things:

    IDE Cable:

    Power cable (molex):

    If you don't have any unconnected power plugs, you could buy a Molex splitter to convert a molex cable into multiple plugs.

    Every IDE cable has two, three or four plugs. This means that you can install up to three drives on each IDE connection on the motherboard. If you have even more plugs on the cable, please mind you that you're not allowed to install more than three devices on each cable.

    1. If your IDE cable hasn't exceeded the three devices-limit or you're building a computer, connect the IDE cable to the motherboard. The correct connection is in most cases blue. If not, use the plus on the end that is the furthest distance away from the other plugs, like in this image:

    Make sure that the cable is seated in the correct position.

    2. Next to the IDE connector on the drive are a group of pins (2 rows of 3 for CD-ROM, or 2 rows of 4 for a hard disk) with one or more caps on them. These caps are called 'Jumpers', and are required for device specific settings. One of these are used to set the position on the cable. You can choose between these:
    - Master
    - Slave
    - Cable Select

    Refer to the manual of the drive, or the attached label.

    A Hard Disk should usually have these settings:

    A CD-ROM drive usually has these settings:

    When using more than one drive on a cable, then one drive should be set to Master. All the other drives on that cable should be set to Slave. When using more than one Master or only Slaves without a Master, then one or more drives won't get detected or the computer will crash. If you don't want to change jumpers all the time, then set the jumpers of all drives to Cable Select. The position of the cable will then specify if a drive is a Master or Slave.

    3. Install the drive. In most cases you just need to insert the drive into the drive bay. Hard Disks need to be inserted in the direction from the back of the drive bracket. A CD-ROM drive should be inserted from the front (outside of the case) into the computer. Then use screws to hold the drive in place. Most drives should be included with a bag of screws.

    If you have a case without screw holes, refer to the manual of the case itself.

    4. Attach the IDE cable (in the correct direction) and the Molex Power cable to the drive.

    Useful information:
    - If you have a CD/DVD writer in your system, and also an IDE hard disk, put both devices on the same cable to improve the performance between both devices.
    - Be careful when plugging in or removing an IDE cable. If one or more pins are broken, you need to replace either the drive or the entire motherboard (depending on the place where the pins are broken.
    - Don't confuse the Floppy Drive Connector with the IDE Connector. An IDE plug is much wider than a Floppy Drive Plug.

    Installing an SATA drive

    Installing an SATA drive is quite easy. You need two cables:

    SATA cable:

    SATA power cable:

    If you're computer doesn't have an SATA power cable, you can use an extension plug to connect the white 4-pin Molex Power Plug to an SATA drive. Most SATA drives have such an extention plug included, and looks like this:

    1. Connect the SATA cable to an SATA connector on the motherboard.
    2. If necessary, connect the SATA power extension plug into a Molex Power plug.
    3. Install the drive using the included screws. If your case doesn't have screws, then refer to the manual of the case.
    4. Connect both the SATA and SAtA power cable to the drive:

    Useful information:

    - If your operating system doesn't detect your drive, make sure that RAID is turned off in the BIOS.
    - You can set your SATA controller to act like an IDE controller. If you ever need to do this for compatibility reasons, note that the original IDE controller on the motherboard gets disabled.
    - SATA drives don't need a Master or Slave setting. Any jumpers there are used for advanced device settings, and not required for most users.
    allisonsmith and Samit like this.
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