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xRichard Baugh

Concise Guide Series

How to install a new hard drive

Part One | Part Two

Take advantage of falling Hard Drive prices and get yourself one of those new monster-sized models. Then put it in yourself. Here's how.

Antistatic Precautions

When you have a new hard drive, take it out of the antistatic bag and handle with care. It's best to be earthed , or grounded, when you're handling hardware which is installed inside the case. This is because static which we store in ourselves is gradually built up when we walk. The best way to prevent damaging your components via electrostatic discharge is to use an antistatic wrist strap. They are available at most electronics stores, and are not expensive. At the least, you can touch a radiator or touch the inside of the case while the power cable is connected to the socket, but not turned on. This will neutralize any static charge built up in your body, making it safe to handle computer components. Also once you have achieved this state don't move your feet as this will gather static again, and put components at risk. (More details on antistatic precautions.)
Setting the Jumpers

The next step depends on whether you are replacing your current drive or adding a new hard drive. If you are replacing it then look at what jumper settings the first hard drive is set at and change the new one to those settings. The first drive is likely to be set as the Master. These settings are marked out on the disk drive (often abbreviated to "M" for Master, "S" for Slave). To change it simply take the jumper connector out and replace it to where you want it to go.

If you are adding a second hard drive then look at what the first one is set to, usually the Master setting, therefore you could add it as a Slave.

Mounting in the Case

Once this has been carried out you need to find a space for the drive in the case. You can place them in the floppy drive bays (3½") if there is one spare. Hard drives often come with holders which allow you to add them to the bigger bays (5¼") above the floppy bays. Use the small screws that came with the drive to mount the drive.


Make sure that the connectors for the
SCSI or EIDE connections are facing towards the back of the case. Then you can connect the SCSI or EIDE ribbon cable to the hard drive. Make sure that the red line at one side of the ribbon is connected to pin 1 of the hard drive. On modern machines these ribbons can only be fitted one way, so that helps you. Also you can use the other drives which you have installed as a guide.

Next is the power cable. Again, you can use the other drives as a guide to fit this. Or if there are no other drives (which is unlikely but possible) make sure that the yellow wire of the power connector is at the right side of the connector if you are looking at it from the back of the case. You can't put the wrong connectors into the wrong sockets because they are different sizes.
Next: Configure the CMOS



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