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Hard Drive Installation and Troubleshooting


This guide is for installing an IDE drive. SCSI is quite a bit different and I might just cover that some other day. If you're opening up something an OEM machine you could be voiding your warranty so check first. If you just user your head a lil this can also be used for installing/troubleshooting any other IDE devices.

There's still a lot of people out there that don't know what we call the "basics of PC hardware". Today I'm starting the first of my series along this line. Starting with the hard drive. Not only am I going to show you how to install the hard drive but at the end of this article are some basic troubleshooting tips that I'll add to as I'm asked more questions.

With 200Gb hard drives coming in at around $130 these days most people change hard drive's like they change their underwear. Everybody wants to add more storage space for their DVD rips, music and of course porn.

When you try to install a really big hard drive into a lot of older systems you'll find that the BIOS is only capable of seeing 137Gb. On even older boards you'll find a 32Gb limit. To get around this you'll want to use that install disk that came with the hard drive or if you're a relatively advanced user a BIOS update should be available. The install disk comes on a floppy so if you don't have one then you'd better be able to do a BIOS update ;)

Before you start:

Make sure that you have an 80 pin cable for your hard drive! I use them for my CD Drives also, but the older 40 pin cables are good enough for CD drives.

DO NOT put a CD Drive on the same channel as your hard drive! Most modern CD drives are ATA33 while the modern hard drives are ATA133. A drive can only transfer as fast as the slowest device on the channel.

Written By: Martin Krohn
Date: 4-2-04
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