Adding an extra HHD Doubts

  loquito 19:39 18 May 2006

My PC is an old PC(1998). It has a 20GB IBM (Deskstart)-DJNA-372200. The PC has an extra bay for an extra HHD (5.5").

I want to install an extra 80 GB in this bay.

My doubts are the following:

1- Can I do this without affecting the work of my old BIOS?

2- Can I set this brand new HHD as the Master and my old HHD as the Slave from the start or I need to start the PC with the new HHD as a Slave and then changed to Master after I copy everything from the original Master to the brand new HHD. All the system stuff is in the old HHD (Master)?

3-Can I buy a HHD (80GB) 3.5" instead of a 5.5" and installed it or this is not possible?

4- Are there major question marks (other items) I should have before start DIY job?

5- Do I need to save all the BIOS data before initiate this job?

6- Can I make my PC inoperable after this job?

  howard63 19:54 18 May 2006

your biggest problem is likely to be the bios. Old pcs cannot access large hard drives without having the bios altered. It is possible to install a hard drive pci card which has its own bios but it might not be worth the cost.

  stlucia 20:39 18 May 2006

You might be able to upgrade your BIOS -- I did it many years ago, but I don't remember the details except that it was simple so long as I followed instructions exactly. I'm sure someone will tell you if you post your BIOS details.

As for your some of your other questions:
2. Unless you suspect your current HDD is failing, you'd probably be best to just add the new one as slave, and transfer all your data to the new one while keeping the original for Windows OS and program files.
3. You can get adapters to fit 3.5" drives into 5.5" bays.
5. The most high-risk bit is upgrading your BIOS (if indeed you need to do that). If it works after that, your PC should not be jeopardised by simply plugging in a new HDD.

  Cogent1 20:44 18 May 2006

1)You don't say which OS you are using, or which BIOS or which file system you have. All these affect the maximum size of HDD you can use. This link is useful:

click here

2) You can do it either way. All you have to do is make sure that the jumpers on the drive are set correctly. There is usually a diagram on the HDD to guide you or you can download the data from the maufacturer's website. You will of course require a bootable disk or CD to start the new disk if you have it as the master from the beginning. You will have to install the OS on the drive eventually so I see no gain in making it the slave initially. It is simple to copy the files over whichever way you do it.

3) Don't go there. What advantage will you gain? The 5.25" drive will be more robust and will fit into the bay easily. If you want a simple life, your best bet is to buy an external HDD and plug it into a USB port. (Assuming you have some and you have a compatible OS.)

4) Fitting a new HDD is extremely easy from a practical point of view. Taking antistatic precautions, fit the HDD into the bay, secure with 4 screws, configure the jumpers, plug in the ribbon cable ensuring the master drive is on the end connector, plug in the power lead and that's it. I would guess that your BIOS will automatically find the new drive. If not you may have to enter the CHS figures manually, from the data on the HDD itself.

5)there is no reason why you should lose any BIOS settings. Don't worry about it.

6) yes of course. If you misalign the ribbon cable or forget to plug in the power cable, you won't be able to boot up. Your BIOS might not recognise the drive and you may have to troubleshoot. It's all in the game. In general though, adding a drive is a doddle. I've done several and I'm no computer genius. Just work calmly and methodically and you might be surprised how easy it all is.

  phono 23:03 18 May 2006

I may well be wrong but I doubt that a PC of 1998 vintage would cope with an 80GB hard drive, check the manufacturers website to see if there is any info on maximum HD size that is supported.

It is possible, sometimes, to use drive overlay software to make the system accept a large hard drive, I have used this technique several times with success, a possible downside, however, is that certain PC and BIOS combinations will simply refuse to POST and it is then impossible to install the drive overlay software in the first place. The drive overlay software is available as a download from most, if not all, HD manufacturer's websites.

Most HD manufacturers also have downloadable software that will allow you to hook a new drive up as slave and copy the entire contents of the old drive to the new one, once this operation is complete you then rejumper the drives so that the new one is master and the old one slave and away you go with your OS files etc on the new drive, you can then format the old drive when satisfied all is well, if required.

As howard63 has already said, you could, alternatively, purchase a PCI IDE or SATA controller card and run a new IDE or SATA HD off that, as long as the card has an onboard BIOS you should be able to boot from it without problems, the downside may be cost but I believe such cards aren't too expensive.

  woodchip 23:31 18 May 2006

I would think you will not have a Problem with BIOS. But there is always the ? that stands in the way. You could also use it as a External by putting in a USB caddy if you have USB in the comp. but it will be a USB1.1 speed that can be a bit slow writing to it

  phono 00:57 19 May 2006

"I would think you will not have a Problem with BIOS"

I don't wish to cause offence and if I am wrong I bow to your superior knowledge, but do you really believe a circa 1998 BIOS would support an 80 GB hard drive?


Some BIOS HD compatability info to be found at click here and click here also look at click here more info at click here

Do a Google search and you will see a plethora of sites on this very subject.

  DieSse 01:47 19 May 2006

All modern drives are 3.5" - not 5.5" - only laptop drives are different, normally 2.5". I think you'll actually find your existing drive is 3.5".

As has been pointed out above, you can get a tray, or adapter brackets if you need to fit it into a 5.5" drive bay (where a CD drive normally goes.

  Catastrophe 07:44 19 May 2006

I have an older Aptiva (1996-7?) with broken IDE mobo connection running 3 HDDs 42, 131 and 60 GB from a PCI IDE card.

No problem.

P.S. I do have newer PCs as well :)

  GANDALF <|:-)> 08:29 19 May 2006

Instead of all the faffing about why not just get an external HD. You can get any size, you do not have too muck about with the BIOS, you will not notice any difference in transfer speeds, you can run programmes from it, you can copy all your junk from your main drive and keep the OS on the main, you do not have to mess about transferring the OS, you can take it to another computer or keep safe from your main computer. Putting another HD in the same computer is madness. Get an external and you will save yourself many problems and it takes less than 5 minutes to get up an running.


  ed-0 09:03 19 May 2006

Good points about an external hard drive. Unfortunatley as woodchip points out, it will most probably have just UBS 1.1 ports. This will make the transfer of data to and from the external hard drive very slow.

I agree with phono. The bios, if you are lucky, will probably support the 64Gb limit. If loquito could post the make and model of the motherboard. Then it would be easier to make an informed opinion on what size hard drive it could take.

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