Removing and Installing the Hard Drive by Otis F. Cooper

Before you remove the hard drive, you should backup all files on your old drive and capture your system information using a separate utility. Even though you may not need this utility, it's worth its weight in gold should something go wrong with the installation of the new drive. We have used a little shareware file named Systeminfo to capture our system information. You can download this file from such internet shareware web sites as

Check your documentation to be sure that the new hard drive you buy is compatible with your system. If you don't have the documentation, you can run the system info Utility. Here you will be able to see what type of drive you have. Your PC's system setup program will do the same. Write this information down and take it with you when you go to purchase your new drive.

The hard drive's Access Time is another consideration you should check into. Access Time is the normal time it takes for the information requested from the disk to arrive to the memory of the PC. The larger this time is,the slower the hard drive will be. Hard disk drives can be either internal, (inside the system unit) or external, (outside in its own case) and they can be removable in some cases. When installing a hard drive, there is a slight difference, depending on the type of drive you own.

The following steps to installing a hard drive may vary slightly. Be sure to check the installation procedures that came with your new drive to check for any differences in installation. If you purchased or was given a hard drive from a friend and don't have any paper-work for the drive, the following steps should suffice in installing and configuring your new drive.

Take extra care in getting rid of any static electrical buildup that your body may have accumulated. And take your time. It would be to your advantage to invest in a PC Repair Tool Kit if you plan on workinginside computers as a hobby or to earn extra income.

1. Remove ESD (Electrical Static Discharge) by touching an object such as a boorknob or the case of the system unit. After this safety pre-caution is done, remove the system unit cover and locate the drive.

2. Depending on the location of old your Hard Drive, you may have to remove other components just to have access to it. If so, take very good notes of everything you disconnect or remove, you can refer to them later as you replace the components. Look to be sure you have empty drive bays to install extra drives should you decide to add a second drive.

3. Once the drive is clear of other cables and components, carefully remove the power and data cable from the drive and remove the drive retaining screws. Somes drives are mounted on rails, if this is the case, just slide the unit out through the front or top of the system unit chasis.

4. Separate the drive from the rail and now install the new drive to the rail. Watch those screws, they are small and can be easily lost. Remember to ground yourself from time to time to remove electrical static buildup.

5. When the drive is mounted on the rail, (if you have one) write down any information on the front of the drive that may give you the type, model number, sectors, cylinders, access time, and other information that seem important. You may need it when you configure the hard drive. Nearly all new hard drives have software that does this for you.

6. Now connect the power supply cable to the power connect and the ribbon cable to the drive's controller, SCSI adapter, or to the motherboard. IDE drive's have their controllers mounted on the drive, so the ribbon cable is hooked from the controller to the motherboard or Expansion Slot.

7. After being certain that all cables, connections and all other components are in place, replace the system unit cover, reconnect all peripherals to the system unit and plug it into the wall outlet. Turn on the computer.

8. Now you will need to tell the computer that it has a new or different hard drive. You will have to start your PC with a bootable floppy disk if you replaced or installed a new hard drive.

9. Remember, you create a bootable floppy disk by formatting a blank diskette with the command of FORMAT A: ⁄S. Then edit the Autoexec.Bat and Config.Sys files and change all files where you see something like C:⁄DOS⁄ANSI.SYS to A:⁄DOS⁄ANSI.SYS and change only the C: after the = sign. After editting all files, save all changes and copy both the Autoexec.bat and Config.Sys files to the diskette.

10. Windows Operating System will make a Start Up disk by clicking on My Computer, Control Panel, Add/ Remove Programs and then selecting Startup Disk.It is a good and safe practice to make at least 2 startup disks just in case one floppy disk becomes damaged.

7. If you are installing a SCSI drive,you need to terminate the chain by connecting the terminator at the end of the daisy chain, or by switching the DIP switches on the drive's board.

When installing an external drive, you need to install the SCSI adapter into an empty expansion slot on the motherboard. Be sure to use the card's DIP swiches or jumpers to give the card a SCSI address. Check the drive's manual or documentation for this information.

If your new drive came with a owner's manual, keep it handy for future reference and you may need it to config your drive. Even though you have installed the drive with its cable, the computer doesn't know that you have done this. So we must tell the PC and while we are at it, we must make the drive useable by partitioning and formatting it.

If your new drive is an ESDI or IDE hard drive, device drivers are normally not needed, but you must use the CMOS Setup to tell the computer that the drive is there. For the SCSI drive, the disk controller takes care of talking with the computer. But here you have to set the SCSI ID number and remove any previous SCSI device on yoursystem. One controller can handle up to 7 devices, so the ID number tells the controller which one is which.

Setting up the Small Computer System Interface drive requires that it be given an ID number from 0 to 7, in which the SCSI controller must use one of these. SCSI controllers are long and have a control mounted on it. Most SCSI drives ID numbers are set at 7, but the accompaning manual should tell you the number.

If the drive you've installed is external, there should be two connectors with one accepting the cable from the external connector on the SCSI adapter and the other having a cable attached to hook up another SCSI device. If no other device is to be connected, attach the terminator that should have came with the drive in this connector. You can use the cable and terminator on either connector.

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