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  1. #1
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    The basics of installing a new hard drive




    LANGALIST PLUS

    The basics of installing a new hard drive


    By Fred Langa

    Adding a hard drive to a Windows PC can be a simple plug-and-play exercise — but sometimes, things go wrong.

    When your PC doesn't recognize a new drive, the problem is likely to be in one of three main areas.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2011/03/24/05 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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  3. #2
    Lounger
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    Data cables. Newer PATA drives mostly use 80-conductor cables; older drives use 40-wire cables. The end connectors look the same in both cases, but the 80-wire cables have extra grounding circuits to reduce electrical interference. If you're using the wrong cable, your drive may work poorly or not at all.
    As per Wikipedia and others, 80-conductor cables are vital for attaining the faster data transfer rates. It was my understanding that they're also needed for cable select to work properly – so yes, in that sense your drive might not work at all if you're depending on cable select.

    More importantly, it is worth noting that many hard drives not only have jumper positions for master and slave, but also different positions for "master with no slave" and "master with slave present".
    Last edited by kehander; 2011-03-24 at 10:53.

  4. #3
    New Lounger
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    Desktop icon saving can also be done with a little program named Iconoid.
    Iconoid will also do a few nice things such as making icon text boxes transparent, colouring the text, turning on the screensaver, showing icons only when needed, icon danceing, an more. There is also a 64-bit version. I have used this program for a long time an have never had any problems with it.

  5. #4
    Lounger
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    Fount, not font

    Late in your column you compliment your readers on being "font[s] of information." The thought is admirable, but the word should be "fount of information." Google "font vs fount."

    Quote Originally Posted by tbcapen View Post



    LANGALIST PLUS

    The basics of installing a new hard drive


    By Fred Langa

    Adding a hard drive to a Windows PC can be a simple plug-and-play exercise — but sometimes, things go wrong.

    When your PC doesn't recognize a new drive, the problem is likely to be in one of three main areas.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2011/03/24/05 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  6. #5
    New Lounger Hop's Avatar
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    Excellent advice, Fred, for those readers having a relatively new PC who need to upsize their HDD.

    However, if you have an older PC, read on...

    I recently decided to replace one of two 40GB HDDs with a 500GB HDD because the 40GB drive wouldn't boot Windows XP anymore. This PC was a used system my wife had given to me as a birthday present several years ago. She paid $300 for it, and I thought that was a pretty good deal at the time for a Pentium 4 single-core running 1.6 GHz with four 256MB sticks DRAM and a decent NVIDIA graphics card. It came loaded with dual-boot Windows XP Pro/Windows 2000 operating systems, although I never was able to boot it into Windows 2000, and the original OS distro was missing. I think the previous owner's son, who built this PC originally, scrubbed that part before his mom replaced the PC with a new laptop and sold the PC to my wife.

    A few years ago I re-formatted and re-partitioned the now failing 40GB drive into 10GB for Windows and 30GB for data. Then I installed a full version of Windows XP Pro after purchasing the last copy, probably the only copy they ever had, on the shelf at Best Buy. This was right after Microsoft said they were not going to sell XP anymore. Purchasing a full version of XP Pro was probably a smart move; installing it in a 10GB partition, not so much. Within a year the partition was full and I was having problems again. Finally, during a Windows update, it just quit working.

    The new 500GB drive installed without any apparent problem. Learning my lesson from the previous mistake of allocating a too small partition for Windows, I let the Windows XP install program format and partition my new drive as a single 500GB volume. Hours later I came back to find that Windows wouldn't boot. Some sort of file was missing. Frantic searches on the Internet weren't much help. This was apparantly a hardware problem! But how could that be? The Windows format and partition went okay, files were copied from the CD-ROM to the HDD, it appeared to be working... except it wouldn't boot! But, I didn't remember being asked to enter the magic code... something had short circuited the install.

    To make a long story short (it took days if not weeks to sort this out), I finally noticed during a re-boot that the hard disk size reported after the POST (power on self test), when a whole bunch of information scrolls by very fast before Windows loads, wasn't quite right. It was reporting a disk size way too small for a 500GB drive. Off to the motherboard manufacturer's web site. Sure enough, there was a BIOS update to support larger hard disk drives than were available when the mobo was manufactured. There were lots of BIOS updates available, all later than the one I currently had, but I ignored everything except the particular one that addressed my problem. I have always operated on the principle that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Installing a BIOS update is a pretty scary process as you only get one chance to do it right. So I downloaded the BIOS update and the small .exe file that installs it. Had to make a bootable 3.5" floppy to copy these two files onto, and that's when I discovered the floppy disk drive wouldn't read or write. But after replacing the FDD and booting from it, the install program executed just fine and replaced my mobo BIOS with one that recognized all of the new HDD, not just the lower address bits.

    Before doing all of the above, I allowed Windows one more chance to format and partition the new HDD, this time requesting a 10GB partition for Windows. After all, that had worked before on the 40GB drive. This time everything went smooth as glass. Windows, right on cue, asked me to enter the twenty alphanumeric digits that prevent anyone from pirating their operating system and I was up and running with Windows XP Pro in almost no time. Well, in a few hours anyway. And, when I checked, the 500GB drive was reported by Windows XP as being a single 10GB drive. That's what gave me the confidence to update the BIOS.

    With the new BIOS, the Windows install program again formatted and created a single large partition on the 500GB HDD. Again the install went without any problems. Windows booted up just fine and activated on-line. Only thing left to do was spend the next few weeks installing all those applications again.

    I'm really looking forward to upgrading to a new PC with Windows 7 this year and having to do this all over again. Not!

  7. #6
    New Lounger
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    Freeware fixes for desktop icon problems

    I have used the free for personal use program Fences from Stardock to help manage desktop clutter. It routinely survives being being connected to and from more than 1 monitor with a variety of different resolution settings

    http://www.stardock.com/products/fences/

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