How do I properly hook up two hard drives on a cable?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by John Corliss, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. John Corliss

    John Corliss Guest

    I'm hooking up two ATA66 hard drives in an old Gateway computer. Putting
    them on the primary IDE channel (of course) but since the computer is so
    old, I'm not going to use cable select on either of them. I know how to
    jumper the drives properly for master and slave, but does it matter
    where they go on the cable? I.e. should the master be on the end or in
    the middle? Or, since I'm not using cable select, does it make any
    difference at all where the drives go on the cable?

    TIA for any help and replies.
    John Corliss, Sep 14, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  2. John Corliss

    richard Guest

    All that matters is one is master, the other a slave.
    If for some reason the thing doesn't work, reverse the drives on the cables.
    Not the pins.
    richard, Sep 14, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  3. John Corliss

    Pennywise Guest

    One jumper'd Master on the End of the cable, One jumper''d as Slave in
    the middle of the cable.
    Pennywise, Sep 14, 2006
  4. John Corliss

    Ron Martell Guest

    If the drives are properly jumpered then cable position does not
    matter. I have, on occasion, configured computers with a hard drive
    at either end of the IDE cable and with the middle connector plugged
    into the motherboard. No problems.

    A couple of caveats:
    1. Some hard drives use different jumper positions for "master drive
    with slave present" and for "stand alone master drive" so you need to
    double-check the jumper specifications for the master drive when you
    add a slave.
    2. Sometimes two drives will just not work together as master &
    slave. This is most likely to be encountered when the two drives are
    from different manufacturers and where the drive manufacturing dates
    are more than 3 years apart. The last time I encountered this it was
    with a new Western Digital drive as master and a 5 year old Maxtor as
    slave, but it sometimes happens with other brands as well.

    Good luck

    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    Microsoft MVP (1997 - 2006)
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    Syberfix Remote Computer Repair

    "Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference
    has never been in bed with a mosquito."
    Ron Martell, Sep 14, 2006
  5. Ron Martell enlightened us 24hoursupport.helpdesk-(ab)users with:

    Uhm. That looks like asking for trouble.
    Well, on some really old computer, without UDMA or at least <=UDMA33,
    you may be lucky with such a setup.
    BUT with UDMA100 or 133, you will get reflections, resulting in reduced
    transfer rates, maybe auto-shutoff of (u)dma features or even data
    Never let a 80wire PATA cable tail hang loose - the end connector must
    always have a drive attached first, _then_ the middle connector.
    On some occasion I even noticed corruption resulting in "ntldr missing"
    or the system part of registry hive corrupted, just when master was
    attached to middle and slave at the end, with udma133. After swapping,
    everything went smooth ...
    Good points :)
    Walter Mautner, Sep 14, 2006
  6. John Corliss

    John Corliss Guest

    Thanks to all who answered. I really appreciate your taking the time to

    Right after I posted my question, I looked in the installation manual
    for one of the drives and found out that Pennywise was right. And
    everything worked fine.

    One of the drives was formatted as NTFS and had XP Home on it, and the
    other drive has W98. The second drive is the one I'll use because the
    people I'm doing this for have a license for that copy. Also, I'd
    promised the guy who donated the drive that I'd format it.

    I ran FDISK and then formatted the first drive. Unfortunately, I forgot
    to delete the NTFS partition and for some reason, was able to get a 1.8
    gb FAT32 partition on the drive, which fooled me into thinking I'd done
    it correctly. After I got everything running and discovered the error,
    it was back to the drawing board with FDISK.

    The second time I removed all partitions and finally was able to get the
    correct drive capacity when I formatted it.


    My thanks again to everybody who replied.

    And I look forward to the day when all these ATA based computers go away
    to be replaced by SATA.
    John Corliss, Sep 14, 2006
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.