Hard Drive Installation Question

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>


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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.