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How to install your new hard drive
Not $omething you want to me$$ up on
By Red Squirrel


If you never did this before, it is good to know what you are doing before starting.  Installing a hard drive is very easy, and this how-to will go into as much details as possible.

Actually, it will show what steps we went trough when we moved the server's hard drive from the temporarily server to the new server.  Of course, if you buy a new hard drive, you don't need to go trough the first part of removing it from the temporarily server.

Ok, on with the article...

Our mission: to move our 10 gig data hard drive from it's temporarily computer to the server.

First, we had to pull out the computer to get the hard drive, so we did so and opened it up.  This is a sad computer.  Pentium3 450MHz, 128MB of ram, 40gig (which only shows up as a 32 gig) and now we are removing the 10 gig which was temporarily there during our server's death (bad motherboard), until we got a new one.

So, here's how it looked like:




The red circles are the screws holding the hard drive.  Hard drives are usually stored in a bay area that is the same size as a floppy drive, and sometimes even use the same bay that a floppy drive would use, as most pc's have room for 2 floppy drives, but only 1 bay is used.  Most cases have room for 2 or even 3 hard drives and 1 floppy drive.  In this case, the main drive (we're not touching that one!) is on the bottom, and the one we are removing is on top and the floppy drive is on top of that drive.  The problem with this case, it is VERY hard to work in.  For example (good thing we don't have to go up there) look on top.  The big box is the power supply, which is sideways and the slot CPU is directly behind it!  So when it comes to cleaning out dust, I can't reach the CPU at all.  On the other side to your right it's the CD-ROM drive bays, which are about as wide as the case, and in this pic there's a burner and a CD-ROM drive and you can noticed that not more then 3 inches separate the drives and the power supply.

Back to hard drives.  So we need to unscrew those screws, and also two more on the other side, which are hard to get at in this case.  I had to open the other panel and I was happy to have a long screw driver otherwise it would not reach!

Oh, before unscrewing, we need to unplug it!  Unless you want the whole motherboard out of there too with the power supply! 

All drives, whether it's a hard drive, CD-ROM drive or floppy drive (floppies are different but still the same concept) have 2 cables.  One, which is small and has 4 wires, is what feeds power to the drive.  The other which is a ribbon connector which has 40 internal wires.  This connects to the motherboard and is used to communicate with the drive to read/write data to it.

This is how a typical hard drive looks like:


Top


bottom

What makes it tricky is the fact that most hard drives have their circuit board completely exposed, which can in fact put a risk when sliding it trough a stubborn bay drive, or on top of something else, which could have a chance that the circuit board contacts other components such as an other hard drive or a floppy drive.

Usually, the circuit board is less then flush with the sides which makes the chance of unwanted contact a little smaller.  I've put drives on top of each other often which never caused problems, other then heat issues, which is a different story, for another article.

Ok, the easy part done, anyone can take out something right?  Here's our current situation.  Looks like fun eh?

It's not as hard as it looks.  You are probably looking at those two screw drivers and the panels and saying "is he crazy?  That's the easy part?" but it's not scary, the flat screw driver was simply used to pry out the bay cover as it was stubborn!  When working with computers, the tools you need are: star screw driver and a flat screw driver.  With those two you will get far in the computer industry. :-)  As long as you don't have a hammer handy, you should be ok when it comes to stubborn parts.  You must always be gentle.



If you bought a new hard drive and want to install it, this is the exact spot you should start concentrating on.  In my situation, you should of been concentrating from the start. ;-)


To try to use less bandwidth for you poor 56Kers, I decided to end it with all the pics.
This pic will explain the rest.  They do say 1 pic = 1000 words!

First, here are the numbers:

1 - The IDE cable, which is the ribbon cable mentioned a while ago
2 - The power cable, which feeds the power to the hard drive
3 - The hard drive itself, installed in the bay.

Before we get even this far, we need to actually put the hard drive in the bay!

It's fairly easy.  First, you open up your computer (if you have trouble with that part, I urge that you get a qualified technician to install your new hard drive!)
Then, find an empty bay and if you are lucky, it corresponds to a visible bay under or on top of your floppy drive, which you can remove to slide in the hard drive from outside of the PC.  If not, you will need to slide it in from inside, which can be hard if there's lots of cables in the way, like in the picture above!

Once you have it sided in, simply position it so the holes of the hard drive are aligned with the holes on the "bay box", if you want to call it that.  Then, take a standard computer screw or if it's a new hard drive there should be some that came with it, and screw in the hard drive.  This usually goes better by tipping the case over, and flipping it to do the other side.

Once the hard drive is in, it's time to connect it.  Oh, did I mention about master and slave?

Since you probably already have a hard drive in that computer, you can't just shove another one in and hope it works!  The computer won't know which one is C which one is D!  You must set your hard drive to slave, or set your old one as slave and that one as master.  Read the documentation of your hard drive to learn how, as they are mostly different, but usually involve switching a little piece of plastic from pin to pin, which is also known as a jumper.

Once you have your master/slave all setup, all you need to do is connect the cables.
For the power, it's easy, just take any spare power connector and plug it in, try to find one that hardly has anything connected to it, but it does not really matter that much, especially with a good power supply.  Now, the IDE cable gets tricky, sometimes it's hard to get it to reach, and there's no way of telling if it's on the right side or not.  Usually there's a red strip, which indicates pin 0, but some hard drives don't indicate pin 0 on them, so it's kind of a hit and miss situation.  If you plug it in the wrong way, nothing will explode, but your computer will rudely tell you it's wrong, by not booting very far and sometimes beeping and not even showing nothing on the screen.  If this happens, switch it around and you will be fine!  No you did not burn out your brand new $199 hard drive!

Also, you will notice that IDE cables have 2 connectors, one is probably already on your other hard drive, and the other is spare, use the spare one, it is ok to have more then one device on it, as IDE is made in to work that way, so that "spare" connector is not just in case the other one breaks. :-)

Ok, now, at this point you should have everything connected and should have booted to a hard drive failure error of some sort, depending on your computer.  Not to worry, there's one step to go before it works.  You must reboot your computer, and when you see the text "Press Del to enter setup" or similar, press the shown key, and you will get into your bios/cmos settings.  You can look but you can't touch, unless told so.

Now, there should be an option that looks like "IDE detection" or similar, depending on your PC.  Chose that option and it will detect your hard drives, or you might have to press further options before getting there, again, it all depends on your PC.  Watch for your new hard drive, you should see the size of your hard drive show up as drive C where it says cylinders, tracks etc.  You should have 2 hard drive detections showing, unless you removed your old hard drive of course.

Once that is ok, save the settings and exit.  Let your computer reboot and if everything is all setup right, it should boot into Windows, from there, you will be able to format your new drive and start storing stuff on it!  

Or, before getting to Windows, you might get an "invalid media type" error, which means the drive is not formatted/partitioned.  You might have to create a partition if it's not already done.  Simply pop in a win98 boot disk and type fdisk in the a:\> prompt, you should have the choice between two drives.  Chose the drive that is empty, which should be indicated trough fdisk and be noticeable by going to drive information.

Simply follow the on-screen instructions of fdisk to create a primary dos partition.  A partition is a drive letter, for example, you can have one hard drive, and have drive C and drive D.  In this case we can keep it simple and fill the new drive with one partition.  Or if you want to conquer more, go ahead and make as many as you wish.  Note: try not to use the delete partition option in this case, especially if you are not experienced with fdisk. Deleting the wrong partition could lead to serious data loss if you do it on your old hard drive, as you can lose it's content.  Your best bet is to create a primary dos partition, if it says you already have one, you are probably on the wrong drive, so switch it with the option in fdisk, and try again.

Everything you do to this point is simply done by reading the on screen instructions.  As this article is typed, I have not used fdisk in a very long time, and this is why it is not explained that well as I can't remember the exact options without going in it, and I'm not going to delete my entire drive just to see the steps needed to restore it!  Once you created a partition, you will also have to format it after rebooting, this can also be done from your boot disk, and be extra careful to not format the wrong drive as you will lose all data on it!  Do a dir command to see if there's any files, if it says "invalid media type reading drive D", where D can be any letter, then you know you are on the correct drive, and go ahead with the format.

Once your drive is formatted, you should be able to boot in windows like any normal session, and you will have a brand new empty drive to store more warez , pictures and other stuff on!  What a nice feeling to have all that new space to yourself!
If you want to have more fun, get a program such as Partition Magic.  When I first got that program, I kept repartitioning my PC just for fun!

The next section will talk about how data is stored on a hard drive and what all those numbers mean.  Firstly, we need to know what a byte is.  A byte is 8 bits, and a bit is a 1 or a 0.  For example, the letter 'a' is represented as 01100001.  That is the letter 'a', in binary form.  In "byte" form, it's simply 'a', which is the way we read characters normally.

Hard drives these days are rated in GB, which is simply like saying Km, there's 1000 meters in a Km, where meter is the base unit for lengths.  For computers, bytes are the base of storage capacity.  However, KB does not mean 1000 bytes, but rather 1024 bytes.  Even hard drive manufacturers will get mixed up with that and rate a hard drive 40GB but it's really 40 billion bytes.  This table indicates how much bytes each rating is, from KB to TB:

Rating Actual size False
KB 1024 bytes 1000 bytes
MB 1024 KB, or 1048576 bytes 1000 KB or 1000000 bytes
GB 1024MB or 1073741824 bytes 1000MB or 1000000000 bytes
TB 1024GB or 1099511627776 bytes
(very rarely seen in today's hard drives)
1000GB or 1000000000000 bytes

As you probably noticed from what was mentioned before the table, 1 byte = 1 character, and that is true.  So if you have a 1MB file, there's actually 1048576 characters in it!
You can notice this by typing a short sentence in a text editor and checking it's size.  Also note that the carriage return is looked as two characters.  This is due to the way ascii works and is a more complicated aspect which may be discussed in other articles, but not this one.


This is about it as for installing a new hard drive and I hope this article was helpful to you!
Don't forget that the forum is always available to ask your questions!

    ~Red Squirrel aka Ryan
      IceTeks Administrator





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Latest comments (newest first)
Posted by Red Squirrel on June 06th 2003 (00:15)
(originally posted with the old php feedback form)

Maldwyn
January 21, 2003, 4:48:51 am

This is a great site, my first visit but not the last. I have learned so much just by reading one article. I have put it into my "Favrites" for future visits.

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