Dear Mr. Langa, I enjoy reading your Newsletter very much and find it quite informative. I read your article about replacing a hard drive ("How To Safely Add Or Replace A Hard Drive" http://www.informationweek.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=181502411 ) to see how it differed from what I had done many times in the past. I was surprised that you took the original hard drive out and put it down on a piece of cardboard not attached to the main frame. I always thought that the screws holding the hard drive in the computer were essential for providing a good ground for the hard drive. Is this not so? Many thanks for your attention and consideration. Bob Ackerberg
Not any more, Bob. Many drives these days mount with all-plastic rails or other nonconductive hardware; and some acoustic isolation packages go even further in preventing *any* metal-to-metal contact between the hard drive and the PC’s case.
In today’s PC’s, I think any electrical continuity provided by metallic mounting hardware is incidental and nonessential. Rather, the electrical ground ("earth," in UK-English) is provided by the black wires in the 4-wire power cable. The yellow wire carries +12v, and the black wire next to it is the 12v ground. The red wire carries +5v, and the black wire next to it is the 5v ground.
While I wouldn’t recommend permanently running a hard drive on a piece of scrap cardboard, I don’t see how it can hurt during the short procedures we discussed in the above-referenced article. <g>...