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Subject: My Hard Drive Upgrade Fiasco and Windows 95/98/NT/2000 CD-ROM tip
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 00:40:58 -0800 (PST)
From: Eva
To: Tip Group

Dear Tip Group,

I'm sorry I haven't sent any tips since all the new folks enrolled, I have been extremely busy with school and upgrading my computer with a brand new 20.5gb hard drive (IBM Deskstar ATA 66 7200 rpm for $153 at the Vallejo computer show 3/4). This turned into quite an adventure for the last two weeks as I couldn't get it to be recognized by my computer bios. I tried everything I could think of (including flash upgrading my bios, trying to use a dos bootable IBM utility which disables ata66 support, checking the jumpers on my bootable drive and making sure everything is well connected) and nothing worked. Finally, tonight I tried the very last possible idea: place the drives in order on the IDE cable. In other words, place the old 6.4 GB primary master Maxtor onto the middle connector on the IDE ribbon cable and the new IBM primary slave onto the connector at the end of the cable. This way, the master drive is first in line to the motherboard IDE controller and its slave is second. Voila! It worked!! I had it reversed before because I thought I'd save myself the trouble of disconnecting and reconnecting the cable from the Maxtor. I also have heard that the order of placement on the ribbon cable is not supposed to matter. Well... It does! (At least in my case) so let this be a lesson in hard drive upgrading to all of you.

Even my hardware guru was scratching his head. He said in all the years he's been building/servicing/upgrading computers he has only seen this happen twice before. From now on I will always place drives in order as my default procedure in adding hard drives and so now you and I will be spared the umpteen hours I spent trying to troubleshoot this problem.

Btw, ATA 66 drives will automatically default to ATA 33 on an ATA 33 controller so you don't have to make any adjustments for that. This is what I have chosen to do for now rather than upgrading to a new motherboard.

So, in order to run an ATA 66 drive at it's full speed you must do either of the following:

1) buy a motherboard with ATA 66 controllers built in.

2) buy an ATA 66 controller add-on card (with PCI slot) for your old ATA 33 mobo (motherboard). much cheaper than buying a new mobo.

->which leads to another very impt tip: if you buy the add-on card be sure to buy the card from the same company that made your mobo. I have read that there are some serious incompatibility probs with ATA 66 add-on cards from one manufacturer running on another manufacturer's mobo.


p.s. I took a swim into my new giant airport-hangar-sized drive and backed up all my files onto it. I decided to make one huge extended drive d: with it for now. My next adventure will be to load partition magic and make a smaller partition or two with that and then make a drive copy of the my old drive onto the new drive and make it the active bootable partition. That means I will be booting from the new hard drive and my old drive will be used for data storage and perhaps an experimental partition or two for other operating systems. I'll keep you posted.

Below is a good tip from my old computer hardware classmate, Brian, who is quite an expert on hardware:


Hello again, Here I am again with another little tidbit of user information about Microsoft Windows products.

If you do not want your CD-ROM drive to start up a CD that you place into the drive as soon as you close it and you don't want to go changing the "Auto-Start" feature in Windows 95/98, then you can simply hold down any one of the two "shift" keys when you insert your CD-ROM and this will bypass the "Auto-Start" feature without having to change the value in the CD-ROM properties screen. This must be done each time you insert a new CD, otherwise it will activate whatever program is on the CD, (usually the "Setup.exe" program or if it is an Audio CD, it will start playing the first track on the CD unless you hold down that SHIFT key when you put it in the drive.

Try it sometime, it's a time saver.

(IBM Computer Technician)

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