Supporting Hard Drives - PC Repair Tips and Info

Supporting Hard Drives - PC Repair Tips and Info
In this chapter,
you will learn:
• About the
technologies used
inside a hard
drive and how
data is organized
on the drive
• How a computer
with a hard drive
• How hard drives
can work
together in a
RAID array
• About floppy
• How to select
and install a
hard drive
• How to solve
hard drive
Supporting Hard Drives
he hard drive is the most important secondary storage device in
a computer, and supporting hard drives is one of the more
important tasks of a PC support technician. This chapter introduces
the different kinds of hard drive technologies that have accounted for
the continual upward increase in hard drive capacities and speeds
over the past few years. The ways a computer interfaces with a hard
drive have also changed several times over the years as both the
computer and hard drives improve the technologies and techniques
for communication. In this chapter, you will learn about past and
present methods of communication between the computer and drive
so that you can support both older and newer drives.
Floppy drives are becoming obsolete, but they have not completely
disappeared. In this chapter, you’ll learn just enough about them to
know how to support this older technology. One benefit to studying
floppy drives is that they are similar in design to hard drives and yet
much easier to understand. Therefore, they can be a great aid in
understanding how hard drives work. Finally, you’ll learn how to
install the different types of hard drives and what to do if you have
problems with a hard drive.
Supporting Hard Drives
A hard disk drive (HDD), most often called a hard drive, comes in two sizes for personal
computers: the 2.5" size is used for laptop computers and the 3.5" size is used for desktops.
In addition, a smaller 1.8" size (about the size of a credit card) hard drive is used in some
low-end laptops and other equipment such as MP3 players.
All three sizes of hard drives use the same types of hardware technologies inside the drive:
solid state or magnetic. In addition, some drives use a combination of both technologies.
As a support technician, you need to understand a little about solid state and magnetic
technologies, and you also need to know how data is organized inside a hard drive. Both
topics are covered in this part of the chapter.
Inside the drive housing, two types of technologies can be used: solid state and magnetic. A solid
state drive (SSD), also called a solid state device (SSD), is called solid state because it has no moving
parts. The drives are built using nonvolatile flash memory, which is similar to that used for USB
flash drives. Recall from Chapter 1 that nonvolatile memory does not lose its data even after the
power is turned off. Because the technology is expensive, solid state drives are currently 2.5" drives
used only in laptop computers. However, by the time this book is in print, it is expected that solid
state external hard drives and solid state drives for desktop computers will be available. Figure 8-1
shows two sizes of solid state drives (2.5" and 1.8") and what the inside of an SSD hard drive
looks like. Solid state hard drives cost more and are more rugged than magnetic hard drives.
Because they have no moving parts, they also last longer, use less power, and are more reliable.
1.8" solidstate drive
Inside an
SSD drive
2.5" solidstate drive
Figure 8-1 Solid state drives by Toshiba
Courtesy of Toshiba America Electronic Components
A magnetic hard drive has one, two, or more platters, or disks, that stack together and spin
in unison inside a sealed metal housing that contains firmware to control reading and writing
data to the drive and to communicate with the motherboard. The top and bottom of each disk
have a read/write head that moves across the disk surface as all the disks rotate on a spindle
Inside a Hard Drive
(see Figure 8-2). All the read/write heads are controlled by an
actuator, which moves the read/write heads across the disk
Inside a Hard Drive
surfaces in unison. The disk surfaces are covered with a magnetic medium that can hold data as magnetized spots. Almost
all hard drives sold today for desktop computers are magnetic hard drives.
Drive spindle
Platters or disks
Read-write head
A+ 220-701
Figure 8-2 Inside a hard drive
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Figure 8-3 shows a close-up of the hard drive in Figure 8-2. You can see that this drive
has two platters. Both sides of each platter are used to store data. Each side, or surface, of
one hard drive platter is called a head. (Don’t confuse this with the read/write mechanism
that moves across a platter, which is called a read/write head.) Thus, the drive in Figure 8-3
has four heads because there are two platters, each having two heads.
Read/write head
Read/write heads
between the platters
(another is underneath
the bottom platter)
Two disks have four
tracks (one on each
head) that make one
Figure 8-3 A hard drive with two platters
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Some hard drives are hybrid hard drives, using both technologies. For example, the 2.5"
Seagate Momentus hybrid hard drive holds 80 GB of data and has a 256 MB flash
component. Often-used data is stored on the faster flash component. Also, when data is first
written to the drive, the data is written to the faster flash component and later moved to
the slower magnetic component. For a hybrid drive to function, the operating system must
support it. Windows Vista technology that supports a hybrid drive is called ReadyDrive.
Supporting Hard Drives
Each disk surface on a hard drive is divided into concentric circles, called tracks. Recall
from Chapter 5 that each track is further divided into 512-byte segments called sectors
(also called records). All the tracks that are the same distance from the center of the platters
make up one cylinder. Track and sector markings (see Figure 8-4) are written to a hard drive
before it leaves the factory in a process called low-level formatting. The total number of
sectors on the drive determines the drive capacity. Today’s drive capacities are usually
measured in GB (gigabytes) or TB (terabytes, each of which is 1,024 gigabytes).
One sector
One track
Figure 8-4 A hard drive or floppy disk is divided into tracks and sectors; several sectors make one cluster
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Firmware on a circuit board inside the drive housing is responsible for writing and
reading data to these tracks and sectors and for keeping track of where everything is stored
on the drive. Figure 8-5 shows the bottom side of a hard drive, which has this circuit board
exposed. Some drives protect the board inside the drive housing. BIOS and the OS use a
simple sequential numbering system called logical block addressing (LBA) to address all the
sectors on the hard drive without regard to where these sectors are located.
Figure 8-5 The bottom of a hard drive shows the circuit board that contains the firmware that controls the drive
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Inside a Hard Drive
When a hard drive is first installed in a system, Windows initializes the drive and identifies it as a basic disk. A basic disk is a single hard drive that works independently of other
hard drives. The initializing process writes a Master Boot Record (MBR) to the drive. Recall
from Chapter 5 that the MBR is the first sector at the beginning of a hard drive (512 bytes).
It contains two items:
The master boot program (446 bytes), which loads the OS boot program stored
in the OS boot record. (This program begins the process of loading the OS.)
The partition table, which contains the description, location, and size of each
partition on the drive. For Windows-based systems, the MBR has space for
four 16-byte entries that are used to define up to four partitions on the drive.
For each partition, the 16 bytes are used to hold the beginning and ending
location of the partition, the number of sectors in the partition, and whether or
not the partition is bootable. The one bootable partition is called the active
Hard Drive with four partitions
Master boot record contains the partition table
Primary partition
Volume C:
Formatted with
NTFS file system
Primary partition
Volume D:
Formatted with
NTFS file system
Primary partition
Volume E:
Formatted with
NTFS file system
Extended partition
Logical drive F:
Formatted with
NTFS file system
Logical drive G:
Formatted with
NTFS file system
Figure 8-6 A hard drive with four partitions; the fourth partition is an extended partition
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
A+ 220-701
The next step is to create a partition on the drive in a process called high-level
formatting or operating system formatting. During this process, you specify the size of
the partition and what file system it will use. A partition can be a primary partition or
an extended partition. A primary partition is also called a volume or a simple volume.
The volume is assigned a drive letter (such as drive C: or drive D:) and is formatted
using a file system. A file system is the overall structure an OS uses to name, store, and
organize files on a drive. In a file system, a cluster is the smallest unit of space on a disk
for storing a file and is made up of one or more sectors. A file system tracks how these
clusters are used for each file stored on the disk. The active partition is always a primary
One of the four partitions on a drive can be an extended partition (see Figure 8-6).
An extended partition can be divided into one or more logical drives. Each logical
drive is assigned a drive letter (such as drive G:) and is formatted using its own file
Supporting Hard Drives
Primary and extended partitions can be created on a hard drive when the drive is first
installed, when an OS is first installed, or after an existing partition becomes corrupted.
When an OS is first installed, the installation process partitions and formats the drive, if
necessary. After Windows is installed, you can use the Disk Management tool to view and
manage partitions on a drive. For example, look at the Disk Management window shown
in Figure 8-7. The system has two hard drives installed, labeled Disk 0 and Disk 1.
Disk 0 has two primary partitions (drives C: and J:) with some space not yet allocated.
Disk 1 has three primary partitions (drives E:, F:, and G:) and one extended partition.
The one extended partition has been divided into two logical drives (drives H: and I:)
and still has some free space left over. This example is not a very practical way to
partition the drives in a system, but is done this way so you can see what is possible.
Figure 8-8 shows Windows Explorer and the seven drives. How to use Disk Management
is covered later in the chapter.
Drive H:
Drive I:
Drive G:
Drive F:
Drive E:
Figure 8-7 The second hard drive has three primary partitions and one extended partition, which contains
two logical drives
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Before a primary partition or volume can be used, it must be formatted using a file
system. For the extended partition, each logical drive must be formatted with a file system.
Depending on the situation, you can have up to three choices for a file system:
Windows XP offers the FAT32 or the NTFS file system. The FAT32 file system is named
after the file allocation table (FAT), a table on a hard drive or floppy disk that tracks how
space on a disk is used to store files. It has storage limitations concerning hard drive size,
volume size, and file size. The New Technology file system (NTFS) is designed to provide
greater security and to support more storage capacity than the FAT32 file system.
If Vista’s Service Pack 1 is not yet installed, Windows Vista offers only the NTFS file
Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 or later service packs installed offers FAT32,
NTFS, and exFAT. The exFAT (extended FAT) uses a 64-bit file allocation table. It
does not have the storage limitation that FAT32 has, does not offer the security
features of NTFS, and does not require as much overhead as NTFS. exFAT is normally
used in low-end systems with smaller hard drives where security is not a big concern.
In most situations, your best choice is NTFS.
In addition to FAT32 and NTFS, Windows XP will offer exFAT if Service Packs 2 and
3 are installed and you download and install an additional update from Microsoft.
Hard Drive Interface Standards
A+ 220-701
Figure 8-8 Windows Explorer shows five volumes and two logical drives
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Now that you have a general understanding of how hard drives work and how the
OS organizes data on the drive, let’s turn our attention to how the drive’s firmware
communicates with the motherboard.
Hard drives have different ways to interface with the computer. Some standards compete
with others and each type of interface standard has evolved over time, which can make for a
confusing mess of standards. To help keep them all straight, use Figure 8-9 as your guideline
for the standards used by internal drives.
The three current methods used by internal hard drives
are Parallel ATA (PATA), Serial ATA (SATA), and SCSI.
Examining Hard Drives
External hard drives can connect to a computer by way
of external SATA (eSATA), SCSI, FireWire, USB, or a
variation of SCSI called Fibre Channel. Currently, the most popular solutions for external hard drives are USB and FireWire, which you will learn about in Chapter 9. All the
other interface standards are discussed in this section. By far, the most popular standards
for internal drives are the ATA standards, so we begin there.
Notes In technical documentation, you might see a hard drive abbreviated as HDD (hard disk drive).
However, this chapter uses the term “hard drive.”
Supporting Hard Drives
T1 0 0 5
3 A
ve TA
rs -7
io a
n n
Single IDE hard drive
SCSI drives
Up to four EIDE or PATA drives (hard drives, CD drives and other drives)
SATA drives
Figure 8-9 Timeline of interface standards used by internal drives
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
The ATA interface standards define how hard drives and other drives such as CD, DVD,
tape, and Blu-ray drives interface with a computer system. The standards define data speeds
and transfer methods between the drive controller, the BIOS, the chipset on the motherboard, and the OS. The standards also define the type of cables and connectors used by the
drive and the motherboard or expansion cards.
The ATA interface standards are developed by Technical Committee T13 (
and published by ANSI (American National Standards Institute, As these
standards developed, different drive manufacturers called them different names, which can
be confusing when reading documentation or advertisements.
The ATA standards can be categorized into two groups: PATA and SATA. PATA (pronounced “pay-ta”) is the older and slower standard that has seen many changes. SATA (pronounced “say-ta”) is the faster and newer standard, which, so far, has had only three revisions.
SATA is slowly replacing PATA, but you need to know how to support both. In fact, many
motherboards sold today will have a mix of SATA and PATA connectors on the same board.
The ATA standards have undergone several revisions, which are summarized in Table 8-1.
All but the last two standards apply only to PATA except for S.M.A.R.T., which is supported
by all SATA and PATA drives sold today. S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and
Reporting Technology) is a system BIOS feature that monitors hard drive performance, disk
spin up time, temperature, distance between the head and the disk, and other mechanical
activities of the drive in order to predict when the drive is likely to fail. If S.M.A.R.T. suspects
a drive failure is about to happen, it displays a warning message. S.M.A.R.T. can be enabled
and disabled in BIOS setup.
Notes Remember from Chapter 7 that many memory standards exist because manufacturers and
consortiums are always trying to come up with faster and more reliable technologies. The many
ATA standards exist for the same reasons. It’s unfortunate that you have to deal with so many
technologies, but the old ones do stick around for many years after faster and better technologies
are introduced.
Hard Drive Interface Standards
Data Transfer Rate
From 2.1 MB/sec
to 8.3 MB/sec
The first T13 and ANSI standard
for IDE hard drives. Limited to
no more than 528 MB. Supports
PIO modes 0-2.
Parallel ATA (PATA),
Enhanced IDE (EIDE)
Up to 16.6 MB/sec
Broke the 528-MB barrier.
Allows up to four IDE devices;
defines the EIDE standard.
Supports PIO modes 3-4 and
DMA modes 1-2.
Up to 16.6 MB/sec
(little speed increase)
Improved version of ATA-2 and
introduced S.M.A.R.T.
Ultra ATA, Fast ATA-2,
Ultra DMA Modes 0-2,
Up to 33.3 MB/sec
Defined Ultra DMA modes 0-2
and an 80-conductor cable
to improve signal integrity.
Ultra ATA/66,
Ultra DMA/66
Up to 66.6 MB/sec
Defined Ultra DMA modes 3-4.
To use these modes, an
80-conductor cable is required.
Ultra ATA/100,
Ultra DMA/100
Up to 100 MB/sec
Requires the 80-conductor
cable. Defined Ultra DMA
mode 5 and supports drives
larger than 137 GB.
Ultra ATA/133,
Serial ATA (SATA),
Parallel transfer speeds
up to 133 MB/sec
Serial transfer speeds
up to 1.5 GB/sec
Can use the 80-conductor cable
or serial ATA cable. Defines
Ultra DMA mode 6, serial ATA
(SATA), and Serial Attached
SCSI (SAS) coexisting with SATA
by using STP (SATA Tunneling
Defined hybrid drives and
improvements to SATA.
*Name assigned by the T13 Committee
Table 8-1
Summary of ATA interface standards for storage devices
Let’s now look first at the PATA standards and then we’ll discuss the SATA standards.
Parallel ATA, also called the EIDE (Enhanced IDE) standard or, more loosely, the IDE (Integrated
Drive Electronics) standard, allows for one or two IDE connectors on a motherboard, each using
a 40-pin data cable. These ribbon cables can accommodate one or two drives, as shown in
Figure 8-10. All PATA standards since ATA-2 support this configuration. Using this standard, up
to four parallel ATA devices can connect to a motherboard using two data cables.
Parallel ATA or EIDE applies to other drives besides hard drives, including CD drives, DVD
drives, tape drives, and so forth. An EIDE drive such as a CD or DVD drive must follow the
ATAPI (Advanced Technology Attachment Packet Interface) standard in order to connect to a
system using an IDE connector. Therefore, if you see ATAPI mentioned in an ad for a CD drive,
know that the text means the drive connects to the motherboard using an IDE connector.
A+ 220-701
Standard (Can Have
More Than One Name)
Supporting Hard Drives
IDE connection on
Power cord
IDE 40-pin data cable
Hard drive
Connection for a
second drive
Figure 8-10 A PC’s hard drive subsystem using parallel ATA
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Notes Acronyms sometimes change over time. Years ago, technicians knew IDE to mean Integrated
Drive Electronics. As the term began to apply to other devices than hard drives, we renamed the acronym
to become Integrated Device Electronics.
Other technologies and changes mentioned in Table 8-1 that you need to be aware of are
the two types of PATA data cables, DMA and PIO modes used by PATA, and Independent
Device Timing. All these concerns are discussed next.
Two Types of PATA Ribbon Cables
Under parallel ATA, two types of ribbon cables are used. The older cable has 40 pins and
40 wires. The 80-conductor IDE cable has 40 pins and 80 wires. Forty wires are used for
communication and data, and an additional 40 ground wires reduce crosstalk on the cable.
For maximum performance, an 80-conductor IDE cable is required by ATA/66 and above.
Figure 8-11 shows a comparison between the two parallel cables. The 80-conductor cable is
40-conductor cable
80-conductor cable
Red line down left
side indicates pin 1
Figure 8-11 In comparing the 80-conductor cable to the 40-conductor cable, note they are about the same
width, but the 80-conductor cable has many more and finer wires
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Hard Drive Interface Standards
color-coded with the blue connector always connected to the motherboard. The connectors on
each cable otherwise look the same, and you can use an 80-conductor cable in place of a
40-conductor cable in a system.
The maximum recommended length of both cables is 18", although it is possible to purchase 24" cables. A ribbon cable usually comes bundled with a motherboard that has a
PATA connector. Because ribbon cables can obstruct airflow inside a computer case, you
can purchase a smaller round PATA cable that is less obstructive to the airflow inside
the case.
DMA or PIO Transfer Modes
Independent Device Timing
As you saw in Table 8-1, there are different hard drive standards, each running at different
speeds. If two hard drives share the same parallel ATA cable but use different standards,
both drives will run at the speed of the slower drive unless the motherboard chipset
controlling the ATA connections supports a feature called Independent Device Timing. Most
chipsets today support this feature and with it, the two drives can run at different speeds as
long as the motherboard supports those speeds.
A consortium of manufacturers, called the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO;
see and led by Intel, developed the serial ATA (SATA) standards. These
standards also have the oversight of the T13 Committee. SATA uses a serial data path rather
than the traditional parallel data path. (Essentially, the difference between the two is that
data is placed on a serial cable one bit following the next, but with parallel cabling, all data
in a byte is placed on the cable at one time.) The three major revisions to SATA are
summarized in Table 8-2.
Serial ATA interfaces are much faster than PATA interfaces and are used by all types
of drives, including hard drives, CD, DVD, Blu-ray, and tape drives. A motherboard
can have two, four, six, or more SATA connectors, which are much easier to
configure and use than PATA connectors. SATA supports hot-swapping, also called
hot-plugging. With hot-swapping, you can connect and disconnect a drive while the
system is running.
A SATA drive connects to one internal SATA connector on the motherboard by way of
a SATA data cable. An internal SATA data cable can be up to 1 meter in length, has 7
pins, and is much narrower compared to the 40-pin parallel IDE cable (see Figure 8-12).
The thin cables don’t hinder airflow inside a case as much as the wide parallel ATA
cables do.
A+ 220-701
A hard drive uses one of two methods to transfer data between the hard drive and memory:
DMA (direct memory access) transfer mode or PIO (Programmed Input/Output) transfer
mode. DMA transfers data directly from the drive to memory without involving the CPU.
PIO mode involves the CPU and is slower than DMA mode.
There are different modes for PIO and DMA, due to the fact that both standards have
evolved over the years. There are five PIO modes used by hard drives, from the slowest
(PIO mode 0) to the fastest (PIO mode 4), and seven DMA modes from the slowest
(DMA mode 0) to the fastest (DMA mode 6). All motherboards today support Ultra
DMA, which means that data is transferred twice for each clock beat, at the beginning
and again at the end.
Most often, when installing a drive, the startup BIOS autodetects the drive and selects the
fastest mode that the drive and the BIOS support. After installation, you can go into BIOS
setup and see which DMA mode is being used.
Supporting Hard Drives
SATA Standard
Data Transfer Rate
SATA Revision 1.x*
1.5 Gb/sec
First introduced with ATA/ATAPI-7
3 Gb/sec
Currently, the most popular SATA standard
6 Gb/sec
Currently used only by SSD hard
drives for laptops
Serial ATA-150
SATA Revision 2.x*
Serial ATA-300
SATA Revision 3.x*
Serial ATA-600
*Name assigned by the SATA-IO organization
Table 8-2
SATA Standards
SATA hard drive
SATA connector
on motherboard
Internal SATA
data cable
Figure 8-12 A SATA hard drive subsystem uses an internal SATA data cable
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
In addition to internal SATA connectors, the motherboard or an expansion card can
provide external SATA (eSATA) ports for external drives (see Figure 8-13). External SATA
(eSATA) is up to six times faster than USB or FireWire. External SATA drives use a special
external shielded serial ATA cable up to 2 meters long.
When purchasing a SATA hard drive, keep in mind that the SATA standards for the
drive and the motherboard need to match. If either the drive or the motherboard use a
slower SATA standard than the other device, the system will run at the slower speed.
Other hard drive characteristics to consider when selecting a drive are covered later in
the chapter.
Hard Drive Interface Standards
Other than ATA, another interface standard for drives and other devices is SCSI, which is
primarily used in servers. SCSI standards can be used by many internal and external
devices, including hard drives, CD-ROM drives, DVD drives, printers, and scanners. SCSI
(pronounced “scuzzy”) stands for Small Computer System Interface, and is a standard for
communication between a subsystem of peripheral devices and the system bus. The SCSI bus
can support up to 7 or 15 devices, depending on the SCSI standard. SCSI devices tend to be
faster, more expensive, and more difficult to install than similar ATA devices. Because they
are more expensive and more difficult to install, they are mostly used in corporate settings
and are seldom seen in the small office or used on home PCs.
If a motherboard does not have an embedded SCSI controller, the gateway from the SCSI
bus to the system bus is the SCSI host adapter card, commonly called the host adapter. The
host adapter is inserted into an expansion slot on the motherboard and is responsible for
managing all devices on the SCSI bus. A host adapter can support both internal and external
SCSI devices, using one connector on the card for a ribbon cable or round cable to connect
to internal devices, and an external port that supports external devices (see Figure 8-14).
All the devices and the host adapter form a single daisy chain. In Figure 8-14, this daisy
chain has two internal devices and two external devices, with the SCSI host adapter in the
middle of the chain. An example of a host adapter card is shown in Figure 8-15. It fits into
a PCI slot and provides two internal SCSI connectors and one external connector. Even
though there are three connectors and all can be used at the same time, logically the host
adapter manages all devices as a single SCSI chain and can support up to 15 devices.
A+ Exam Tip The A+ 220-701 Essentials exam expects you to know that a motherboard might provide
a SCSI controller and connector or that the SCSI host adapter can be a card installed in an expansion slot.
A+ 220-701
Figure 8-13 Two eSATA ports on a motherboard
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Supporting Hard Drives
Termination here
SCSI hard drive
Two external SCSI devices
SCSI hard drive
SCSI ribbon cable
Host adapter
with internal
and external
SCSI cable
Figure 8-14 Using a SCSI bus, a SCSI host adapter card can support internal and external SCSI devices
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Figure 8-15 PCI SCSI host adapter card by StarTech
Courtesy of
All devices go through the host adapter to communicate with the CPU or directly with
each other without involving the CPU. Each device on the bus is assigned a number from
0 to 15 called the SCSI ID, by means of DIP switches, dials on the device, or software settings. The host adapter is assigned SCSI ID 7, which has the highest priority over all other
devices. The priority order is 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, and 8. Cables
connect the devices physically in a daisy chain, sometimes called a straight chain. The
devices can be either internal or external, and the host adapter can be at either end of the
chain or somewhere in the middle. The SCSI ID identifies the physical device, which can
have several logical devices embedded in it. For example, a CD-ROM jukebox—a CD-ROM
changer with trays for multiple CDs—might have seven trays. Each tray is considered a logical device and is assigned a Logical Unit Number (LUN) to identify it, such as 1 through 7
or 0 through 6. The ID and LUN are written as two numbers separated by a colon. For
instance, if the SCSI ID is 5, the fourth tray in the jukebox is device 5:4.
To reduce the amount of electrical “noise,” or interference, on a SCSI cable, each end of
the SCSI chain has a terminating resistor. The terminating resistor can be a hardware device
plugged into the last device on each end of the chain (see Figure 8-16), or the device can
have firmware-controlled termination resistance, which makes installation simpler.
RAID: Hard Drives Working Together
Figure 8-16 External SCSI terminator
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Fibre Channel is a type of SCSI technology, but in the industry, it is sometimes considered
a rival of SCSI for high-end server solutions. Using Fibre Channel, you can connect up to
126 devices together on a single Fibre Channel bus. Fibre Channel is faster than other SCSI
implementations, when more than five hard drives are strung together to provide massive
secondary storage. However, Fibre Channel is too expensive and has too much overhead,
except when used in high-end server solutions.
Now let’s look at how multiple hard drives can work together in various RAID configurations.
A technology that configures two or more hard drives to work together as an array of drives
is called RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks or redundant array of independent
disks). Two reasons you might consider using RAID are:
To improve fault tolerance, which is a computer’s ability to respond to a fault or
catastrophe, such as a hardware failure or power outage, so that data is not lost. If
data is important enough to justify the cost, you can protect the data by continuously
A+ 220-701
Just as with IDE/ATA standards, SCSI standards have improved over the years and use
different names. SCSI standards are developed by the SCSI T10 Technical Committee
( and sent to ANSI, which publishes and maintains the official versions of
the standards. The SCSI Trade Association ( promotes SCSI devices and
standards, and the T10 Technical Committee ( publishes information about
SCSI. In addition to varying standards, SCSI also uses different types of cabling, connectors,
and bus widths. Because there are so many variations with SCSI, when setting up a SCSI
subsystem, it’s important to pay careful attention to compatibility and make sure all devices,
the host adapter, cables, and connectors can work together.
The three major versions of SCSI are SCSI-1, SCSI-2, and SCSI-3, commonly known as
Regular SCSI, Fast SCSI, and Ultra SCSI. The latest SCSI standard, serial SCSI, also called
serial attached SCSI (SAS), allows for more than 15 devices on a single SCSI chain, uses
smaller, longer, round cables, and uses smaller hard drive form factors that can support larger
capacities than earlier versions of SCSI. SAS can be compatible with SATA drives in the same
system, and claims to be more reliable and better performing than SATA. For more information on SCSI, see the content “All About SCSI” on the CD that accompanies this book.
Supporting Hard Drives
writing two copies of it, each to a different hard drive. This method is most often used
on high-end, expensive file servers, but it is occasionally appropriate for a single-user
To improve performance by writing data to two or more hard drives so that a single
drive is not excessively used.
Several levels of RAID exist, but the three most commonly used are RAID 0, RAID 1, and
RAID 5. Here is a brief description of each:
RAID 0 uses space from two or more physical disks to increase the disk space
available for a single volume. RAID 0 writes to the physical disks evenly across all
disks so that no one disk receives all the activity, and therefore improves performance.
Windows calls RAID 0 a striped volume. To understand that term, think of data
striped—or written across—several hard drives.
RAID 1 is a type of drive imaging. It duplicates data on one drive to another drive and
is used for fault tolerance. (A drive image is a duplication of everything written to a
hard drive.) Each drive has its own volume, and the two volumes are called mirrors.
If one drive fails, the other continues to operate and data is not lost. A variation of
mirroring is disk duplexing, which uses two hard drive controllers, one for each drive.
If one controller fails, the other controller keeps on working, providing more assurance
of fault tolerance than mirroring. Windows calls RAID 1 a mirrored volume.
RAID 5 stripes data across three or more drives and uses parity checking, so that if
one drive fails, the other drives can re-create the data stored on the failed drive. Data
is not duplicated, and, therefore, RAID 5 makes better use of volume capacity.
RAID 5 drives increase performance and provide fault tolerance. Windows calls these
drives RAID-5 volumes.
A+ Exam Tip The A+ 220-701 Essentials exam expects you to be able to contrast RAID 0, RAID 1,
and RAID 5.
Besides the three levels of RAID listed, another practice of tying two drives together in an
array is called spanning. With spanning, two hard drives are configured as a single volume.
Data is written to the first drive, and when it is full, the data continues to be written to the
second drive. The advantage of spanning is that you can have a very large file that is larger than
either drive. The disadvantages of spanning are that it does not provide fault tolerance, and that
it does not improve performance. Sometimes spanning is called JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks).
All RAID configurations can be accomplished at the hardware level or the operating
system level. Configuring RAID at the hardware level is considered best practice because,
if Windows gets corrupted, the hardware might still be able to protect the data. Also,
hardware RAID is generally faster than operating system RAID. You will learn how to
implement hardware RAID later in the chapter. Windows RAID is covered in Chapter 13.
Even though a floppy disk drive (FDD) holds only 1.44 MB of data, these drives are still
used in some computers today, and you need to know how to support them. Floppy drives
can be especially useful when recovering from a failed BIOS update. Also, floppy disks are
inexpensive and easy for transferring small amounts of data. In this part of the chapter,
you’ll learn about the hardware and file system used by floppy drives.
About Floppy Drives
Years ago, floppy drives came in two sizes to accommodate either a 51⁄4" or 31⁄2" floppy disk.
The 31⁄2" disks were formatted as high density (1.44 MB), extra-high density (2.88 MB), and
double density (720 K). The only floppy drives you see in use today are the 31⁄2" high-density
drives that hold 1.44 MB of data.
Figure 8-17 shows the floppy drive subsystem, which consists of the floppy drive, its ribbon
cable, power cable, and connections. The ribbon data cable connects to a 34-pin floppy drive
connector on the motherboard. Recall that most hard drives use the larger Molex connector
as a power connector, but floppy drives use the smaller Berg connector. The Berg power
connector has a small plastic latch that snaps in place when you connect it to the drive.
Power cord
Berg connector
data cable
Floppy drive
Figure 8-17 Floppy drive subsystem: floppy drive, 34-pin data cable, and power connector
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Today’s floppy drive cables have a connector at each end and accommodate a single drive,
but older cables, like the one in Figure 8-17, have an extra connector or two in the middle of
the cable for a second floppy drive. For these systems, you can install two floppy drives on
the same cable, and the drives will be identified by BIOS as drive A and drive B. Figure 8-18
shows an older floppy drive cable. Notice in the figure the twist in the cable. The drive that
has the twist between it and the controller is drive A. The drive that does not have the twist
between it and the controller is drive B. Also notice in the figure the edge color down one
side of the cable, which identifies the pin-1 side of the 34-pin connector.
Connects to motherboard
or older controller card
Edge color on cable
indicates the pin-1
side of cable
Drive B connections
(two styles)
Twist in cable
Drive A connector
Figure 8-18 Twist in cable determines which drive is drive A
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
A+ 220-701
Data cable
connects to
Supporting Hard Drives
A+ Exam Tip The A+ 220-701 Essentials exam expects you to be familiar with a floppy disk drive (FDD).
Learning about the details of a floppy drive file system can help you understand how a hard
drive is organized. The floppy drive file system is similar to that of a hard drive file system,
yet it is simpler and easier to understand.
When floppy disks are first manufactured, the disks have nothing on them; they are blank
sheets of magnetically coated plastic. During the formatting process, tracks and sectors to
hold the data are written to the blank surface (see Figure 8-19).
Side 0
Track 0
Sector 1
Figure 8-19 31⁄2", high-density floppy disk showing tracks and sectors
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
There are 80 tracks, or circles, on the top side of the disk and 80 more tracks on the bottom.
The tracks are numbered 0 through 79. Each track has 18 sectors, numbered 1 through 18 for a
total of 1440 sectors on each side. Because each sector holds 512 bytes of data, a 31⁄2", high-density
floppy disk has 2880 x 512 = 1,474,560 bytes of data. Divide this number by 1024 to convert
bytes to kilobytes and you will find out that the storage capacity of this disk is 1440 kilobytes.
You can then divide 1440 by 1000 to convert kilobytes to megabytes, and the storage is 1.44 MB.
Notes There is a discrepancy in the way the computer industry defines a megabyte. Sometimes
1 megabyte = 1,000 kilobytes; at other times, we use the relationship 1 megabyte = 1,024 kilobytes.
Computers calculate in powers of 2, and 1,024 is 2 raised to the 10th power.
Most floppy disks come already formatted, but occasionally you will need to format one.
Whether you use the format command at a command prompt or Windows Explorer to
format a floppy disk, the following are created:
Tracks and sectors. These tracks and sectors provide the structure to hold data on the disk.
The boot record. The first sector on the disk, called the boot sector or boot record,
contains the information about how the disk is organized and the file system used.
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
Two copies of the file allocation table (FAT). Under Windows, a hard drive can use
either the NTFS or FAT32 file system, but a floppy drive is always formatted using the
FAT12 file system. Using FAT12, each entry in the file allocation table (FAT) is 12 bits.
Each FAT entry lists how each cluster (or file allocation unit) on the disk is currently
used. Using FAT12, one sector equals one cluster, so every sector or cluster on the disk
is accounted for in the FAT. A file is stored in one or more clusters that do not have to
be contiguous on the disk.
The root directory. The root directory contains a fixed number of rows to accommodate a predetermined number of files and subdirectories. A 31⁄2", high-density floppy
disk has 224 entries in the root directory. Some important items in a directory are a
list of filenames and their extensions, the time and date of creation or last update of
each file, and the file attributes. Attributes are on/off switches indicating the archive,
system file, hidden file, and read-only file status of the file or directory.
Notes For tech-hungry readers, you can use the DEBUG command to view the contents of the boot
record or FAT. How to do that is covered in the “Behind the Scenes with DEBUG” content that you can
find on the CD that accompanies this book. Also, to see a group of tables showing the contents of the
floppy disk boot record, the root directory, and the meaning of each bit in the attribute byte, see the
content on the CD titled “FAT Details.”
Let’s now turn our attention back to hard drives and focus on what you need to know
when selecting one.
A+ Exam Tip The content on the A+ 220-701 Essentials exam ends here and the content on the
A+ 220-702 Practical Application exam begins.
In this part of the chapter, you’ll learn how to select a hard drive for your system. Then, you’ll
learn the details of installing a serial ATA drive and a parallel ATA drive in a system. Next,
you’ll learn how to deal with the problem of installing a hard drive in a bay that is too wide
for it and also how to set up a RAID system. Lastly, you’ll see how to install a floppy drive.
When selecting a hard drive, keep in mind that there are many hard drive standards. To get the
best performance from the system, the system BIOS on the motherboard or the firmware on the
hard drive controller card must use the same standards used by the drive. If the motherboard
A+ 220-702
The root directory and all subdirectories contain the same information about each file.
Only the root directory has a limitation on the number of entries because it has a fixed
length that it uses to store all filenames and folder names created in the root directory.
Subdirectories can have as many entries as disk space allows. Because long filenames require
more room in a directory than short filenames, assigning long filenames reduces the number
of files that can be stored in the root directory.
Supporting Hard Drives
or controller card does not use the same standards as the hard drive, they will probably revert
to a slower standard that both can use, or the drive will not work at all. There’s no point in
buying an expensive hard drive with features that your system cannot support.
Therefore, when making purchasing decisions, you need to know what standards the
motherboard or controller card uses. To find out, see the documentation for the board or the
card. For the motherboard, you can look at BIOS setup screens to see which standards are
mentioned. However, know that when installing a drive, you don’t need to know which ATA
standard a hard drive supports, because the startup BIOS uses autodetection. With autodetection,
the BIOS detects the new drive and automatically selects the correct drive capacity and configuration, including the best possible standard supported by both the hard drive and the motherboard.
One more point is important to know: Legacy motherboards or hard drives might present
complex situations. If you install a new drive that the startup BIOS of a legacy motherboard
is not designed to support, the BIOS will either not recognize the drive at all or will detect the
drive and report in BIOS setup that the drive has a smaller capacity than it actually does. The
solution is to flash BIOS, replace the controller card, or replace the motherboard. For a full
discussion of how to deal with legacy motherboards or drives, see the content “Selecting and
Installing Hard Drives using Legacy Motherboards” on the CD that accompanies this book.
When purchasing a hard drive, consider the following factors that affect performance,
use, and price:
The capacity of the drive. Today’s hard drives for desktop systems are in the range of
80 GB to more than 1.5 TB. The more gigabytes or terabytes, the higher the price.
The spindle speed. Hard drives for desktop systems run at 5400, 7200, or 10,000
RPM (revolutions per minute). The most common is 7200 RPM. The higher the
RPMs, the faster the drive.
The interface standard. Use the standards your motherboard supports. For SATA,
most likely that will be SATA-300. For a PATA IDE drive, most likely that will be
Ultra ATA-100. For external drives, common standards are eSATA, FireWire 800 or
400, and Hi-Speed USB.
The cache or buffer size. Buffers improve hard drive performance and can range in size
from 2 MB to 32 MB. The more the better, though the cost goes up as the size increases.
The average seek time (time to fetch data). Look for 13 to 8.5 ms (milliseconds). The
lower the number, the higher the drive performance and cost.
Hybrid drive. A hybrid drive costs more, but performs better than other comparable
desktop drives. Solid state drives are currently only available for laptops.
When selecting a drive, consider the manufacturer warranty and be sure to match the
drive to what your motherboard supports. Also, be sure to keep the receipt with the
warranty statement. After you know what drive your system can support, you then can
select a drive that is appropriate for the price range and intended use of your system. For
example, Seagate has two lines of IDE hard drives: The Barracuda is less expensive and
intended for the desktop market, and the Cheetah is more expensive and targets the server
market. When purchasing a drive, you can compare price and features by searching retail
sites or the Web sites of the drive manufacturers. Some of the more popular ones are listed
in Table 8-3. The same manufacturers usually produce ATA drives and SCSI drives.
Now let’s turn our attention to the step-by-step process of installing a Serial ATA drive.
A motherboard that has serial ATA connectors most likely has one or more PATA connectors, too. A PATA connector can be used for an optical drive or some other EIDE drive
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
Web Site
Maxtor Corporation (currently owned by Seagate Technology)
Seagate Technology
Western Digital
Table 8-3
Hard drive manufacturers
including a hard drive. But SATA drives are faster than PATA drives, so it’s best to use the
PATA connector for other type drives than the hard drive.
A+ Exam Tip The A+ 220-702 Practical Application exam expects you to know how to configure
In Figure 8-20, you can see the back of two hard drives; one uses a serial ATA interface
and the other uses a parallel ATA interface. Notice the parallel ATA drive has a bank of
jumpers and a 4-pin power connector. These jumpers are used to determine master or slave
settings on the IDE channel. Because a serial data cable accommodates only a single drive,
there is no need for jumpers on the drive for master or slave settings. However, a serial ATA
drive might have jumpers used to set features such as the ability to power up from standby
mode. Most likely, if jumpers are present on a serial ATA drive, the factory has set them as
they should be, and advises you not to change them.
Serial ATA
power connector
Serial ATA
hard drive
Serial ATA
data connector
Legacy power
Jumper bank
set at factory
Parallel ATA
hard drive
40-pin data
4-pin power
Jumper bank for
Figure 8-20 Rear of a serial ATA drive and a parallel ATA drive
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
A+ 220-702
PATA and SATA devices in a system.
Supporting Hard Drives
Some serial ATA drives have two power connectors, as does the one in Figure 8-20.
Choose between the serial ATA power connector (which is the preferred connector) or the
legacy 4-pin connector, but never install two power cords to the drive at the same time,
because this could damage the drive.
If you have a PATA drive and a SATA connector on the motherboard, or you have a SATA
drive and a PATA connector on the motherboard, you can purchase an adapter to make the hard
drive connector fit your motherboard connector. Figure 8-21 shows two converters: one converts
SATA drives to PATA motherboards and the other converts PATA drives to SATA motherboards.
When you use a converter, know that the drive will run at the slower PATA speed.
Figure 8-21 SATA to PATA and PATA to SATA converters
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
You can also purchase a SATA and/or PATA controller card that can provide internal
PATA or SATA connectors and external eSATA connectors. You might want to use a
controller card when (1) the motherboard drive connectors are not functioning; or (2) the
motherboard does not support an ATA standard you want to implement (such as a SATA II
drive). Figure 8-22 shows a storage controller card that offers one Ultra ATA-133/IDE
connection, two internal SATA I connections, and one eSATA port.
Now let’s look at the step-by-step process of installing a SATA drive.
Prepare for the installation by knowing your starting point, reading the documentation, and
preparing your work area.
Know Your Starting Point
As with installing any other devices, before you begin installing your hard drive, make sure
you know where your starting point is. Do this by answering these questions: How is your
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
IDE connector
eSATA port
system configured? Is everything working properly? Verify which of your system’s devices
are working before installing a new one. Later, if a device does not work, the information
will help you isolate the problem. Keeping notes is a good idea whenever you install new
hardware or software or make any other changes to your PC system. Write down what you
know about the system that might be important later.
Notes When installing hardware and software, don’t install too many things at once. If something
goes wrong, you won’t know what’s causing the problem. Install one device, start the system, and
confirm that the new device is working before installing another.
As always, just in case you lose BIOS setup information in the process, write down
any variations in setup from the default settings. Two good places to record BIOS
settings are the notebook you keep about this computer and the manual for the
Read Documentation
Before you take anything apart, carefully read all the documentation for the drive and
controller card, as well as the part of your motherboard documentation that covers hard
drive installation. Make sure that you can visualize all the steps in the installation. If you
have any questions, keep researching until you locate the answer. You can also call technical support, or ask a knowledgeable friend for help. As you get your questions answered,
you might discover that what you are installing will not work on your computer, but that
is better than coping with hours of frustration and a disabled computer. You cannot
always anticipate every problem, but at least you can know that you made your best
effort to understand everything in advance. What you learn in thorough preparation pays
off every time!
A+ 220-702
Figure 8-22 EIDE and SATA storage controller card
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Supporting Hard Drives
Prepare Your Work Area and Take Precautions
The next step is to prepare a large, well-lit place to work. Set out your tools, documentation, new hardware, and notebook. Remember the basic rules concerning static electricity,
which you learned in Chapter 4. Be sure to protect against ESD by wearing a ground
bracelet during the installation. You need to also avoid working on carpet in the winter
when there’s a lot of static electricity.
Some added precautions for working with a hard drive are as follows:
Handle the drive carefully.
Do not touch any exposed circuitry or chips.
Prevent other people from touching exposed microchips on the drive.
When you first take the drive out of the static-protective package, touch the package
containing the drive to a screw holding an expansion card or cover, or to a metal part
of the computer case, for at least two seconds. This drains the static electricity from
the package and from your body.
If you must set down the drive outside the static-protective package, place it
component-side-up on a flat surface.
Do not place the drive on the computer case cover or on a metal table.
If you’re assembling a new system, it’s best to install drives before you install the
motherboard so that you will not accidentally bump sensitive motherboard components
with the drives.
So now you’re ready to get started. Follow these steps to install the drive in the case:
1. Turn off the computer and unplug it. Press the power button to drain the power.
Remove the computer case cover. Check that you have an available power cord from
the power supply for the drive.
Notes If there are not enough power cords from a power supply, you can purchase a Y connector
that can add an additional power cord.
2. Decide which bay will hold the drive. To do that, examine the locations of the drive
bays and the length of the data cables and power cords. Bays designed for hard
drives do not have access to the outside of the case, unlike bays for optical drives
and other drives in which disks are inserted. Also, some bays are wider than others
to accommodate wide drives such as CD drives and DVD drives. Will the data cable
reach the drives and the motherboard connector? If not, rearrange your plan for
locating the drives in the bays, or purchase a custom-length data cable. Some bays
are stationary, meaning the drive is installed inside the bay as it stays in the case.
Other bays are removable; you remove the bay and install the drive in the bay, and
then return the bay to the case.
3. For a stationary bay, slide the drive in the bay, and secure one side of the drive with
one or two short screws (see Figure 8-23). It’s best to use two screws so the drive will
not move in the bay, but sometimes a bay only provides a place for a single screw on
each side.
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
Be sure the screws are not too long. If they are, you can screw too far into the drive
housing, which will damage the drive itself.
4. Carefully, without disturbing the drive, turn the case over and put one or two screws
on the other side of the drive (see Figure 8-24).
Hard drive
Figure 8-24 Secure the other side of the drive with one or two screws
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Notes Do not allow torque to stress the drive. In other words, don’t force a drive into a space that
is too small for it. Also, placing two screws in diagonal positions across the drive can place pressure
diagonally on the drive.
5. Check the motherboard documentation to find out which serial ATA connectors on the
board to use first. For example, four serial ATA connectors are shown in Figure 8-25.
The documentation says to use the two red connectors (labeled SATA1 and SATA2 on
the board) before you use the black connectors (labeled SATA3 and SATA4). Connect
A+ 220-702
Figure 8-23 Secure one side of the drive with one or two screws
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Supporting Hard Drives
Figure 8-25 This motherboard has four serial ATA connectors
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
the serial ATA data cable to the hard drive and to the red SATA1 connector. For both
the drive and the motherboard, you can only plug the cable into the connector in one
6. Connect a SATA or 4-pin power connector from the power supply to the drive
(see Figure 8-26).
Figure 8-26 Connect the SATA power cord to the drive
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
7. Check all your connections and power up the system.
8. To verify the drive was recognized correctly, enter BIOS setup and look for the drive.
Figure 8-27 shows a BIOS setup screen on a system that has two SATA connectors and
one PATA connector. A hard drive is installed on one SATA connector and a CD drive
is installed on the PATA connector.
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
Notes If the drive light on the front panel of the computer case does not work after you install a
new drive, try reversing the LED wire on the motherboard pins.
If you are installing a new hard drive in a system that is to be used for a new Windows
installation, after you have physically installed the drive, boot from the Windows setup CD
or DVD, and follow the directions on the screen to install Windows on the new drive.
The setup process partitions and formats the new drive before it begins the Windows
installation. How to install Windows is covered in Chapter 12.
If you are installing a second hard drive in a system that already has Windows installed
on the first hard drive, use Windows to partition and format the second drive. Follow
these steps:
1. Boot the system to the Windows Vista desktop.
2. Click Start, right-click Computer (for Windows XP, right-click My Computer), and
select Manage from the shortcut menu. Respond to the UAC box. In the Computer
Management window, click Disk Management. The Disk Management window opens
(see Figure 8-28).
3. In Figure 8-28, the new hard drive shows as Disk 1. Right-click Disk 1 and select
Initialize Disk from the shortcut menu, as shown in the figure.
4. On the next screen (see Figure 8-29), select MBR (Master Boot Record) and click OK.
The drive will be initialized as a Basic Disk.
5. To format the drive, right-click the unallocated space on the drive and select New
Simple Volume from the shortcut menu (see Figure 8-30). The New Simple Volume
A+ 220-702
Figure 8-27 BIOS setup screen showing a SATA hard drive and PATA CD drive installed
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Supporting Hard Drives
Figure 8-28 Use Disk Management to partition the new drive
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Figure 8-29 Select MBR as the partition style for the new drive
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
A+ 220-702
Figure 8-30 Simple volumes are created on basic disks
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Wizard appears. Follow the wizard to choose a volume size, assign a drive letter to
the volume, assign a volume name, and select the type of file system. Depending on
which Windows OS you are using and the service packs installed, your choices for a
file system will be NTFS, FAT32, or FAT (which is exFAT). For most situations, select
NTFS, which is always available as a choice. The drive will format and then be ready
to use. When you use Vista to create partitions, the first three partitions will be
primary partitions and the fourth partition will be an extended partition. Windows XP
allows you to decide which partition will be the extended partition.
Notes Solid state drives are currently only used on laptops. However, by the time this book is in
print, it is expected that SSD drives will be available for desktop computers. Some SSD drives come
preformatted from the manufacturer using the NTFS file system. Other SSD drives require you to partition
and format them the same way you format magnetic drives. SSD drives can use either a SATA or PATA
connection in laptops. The installation of an SSD drive in a computer case works the same way as does a
magnetic drive installation.
Now let’s see how a drive installation goes when you are dealing with a removable bay.
Figure 8-31 shows a computer case with a removable bay that has a fan at the front of the
bay to help keep the drives cool. (The case manufacturer calls the bay a fan cage.) The bay
is anchored to the case with three black locking devices. The third locking device from the
bottom of the case is disconnected in the photo.
Supporting Hard Drives
Three locking pins
used to hold the
bay in the case
Figure 8-31 The removable bay has a fan in front and is anchored to the case with locking pins
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Turn the handle on each locking device counterclockwise to remove it. Then slide the bay to
the front and out of the case. Insert the hard drive in the bay, and use two screws on each side to
anchor the drive in the bay (see Figure 8-32). Slide the bay back into the case, and reinstall the
locking pins. The installation now goes the same way as when you are using a stationary bay.
Figure 8-32 Install the hard drive in the bay using two screws on each side of the drive
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
Following the PATA or EIDE standard, a motherboard can support up to four EIDE devices
using either 80-conductor or 40-conductor cables. The motherboard offers two IDE connectors (see Figure 8-33). Each connector accommodates one IDE channel, and each channel
can accommodate one or two IDE devices. One channel is called the primary channel, while
the other channel is called the secondary channel. Each IDE connector uses one 40-pin
cable. The cable has two connectors on it: one connector in the middle of the cable and one
at the far end. An EIDE device can be a hard drive, DVD drive, CD drive, tape drive, or
another type of drive. One device is configured to act as the master controlling the channel,
and the other device on the channel is the slave. There are, therefore, four possible configurations for four EIDE devices in a system:
Primary IDE channel, master device
Primary IDE channel, slave device
Secondary IDE channel, master device
Secondary IDE channel, slave device
A+ 220-702
Connectors for master
and slave drives
IDE cables
Connectors for master
and slave drives
Two IDE channels, primary and secondary
Figure 8-33 A motherboard supporting PATA has two IDE channels; each can support a master and slave
drive using a single EIDE cable
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
The master or slave designations are made by setting jumpers or DIP switches on the
devices, or by using a special cable-select data cable. Documentation can be tricky. Some
hard drive documentation labels the master drive setting as the Drive 0 setting and the
slave drive setting as the Drive 1 setting rather than using the terms master and slave. The
connectors on a parallel ATA 80-conductor cable are color-coded (see Figure 8-34). Use
the blue end to connect to the motherboard; use the black end to connect to the drive.
Gray connector
for second drive
Black connector
for first drive
Blue connector
to motherboard
Figure 8-34 80-conductor cable connectors are color-coded
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Supporting Hard Drives
Installing a Hard drive
If you only have one drive connected to the cable, put it on
the black connector at the end of the cable, not the gray
connector in the middle.
Notes When installing a hard drive on the same channel with an ATAPI drive such as a CD drive, always
make the hard drive the master and make the ATAPI drive the slave. An even better solution is to install the
hard drive on the primary channel and the CD drive and any other drive on the secondary channel.
The motherboard might also be color-coded so that the primary channel connector is
blue (see Figure 8-35) and the secondary channel connector is black. This color-coding
is intended to ensure that the ATA/66/100/133 hard drive is installed on the primary
IDE channel.
Figure 8-35 The primary IDE channel connector is often color-coded as blue
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
A+ Exam Tip The A+ 220-702 Practical Application exam expects you to know how to install a
device such as a hard drive. Given a list of steps for the installation, you should be able to order the
steps correctly or identify an error in a step.
As with installing SATA drives, know your starting point, read the documentation for the
drive and the motherboard, prepare your work area, and be careful when handling the drive
to protect it against ESD. Wear a ground bracelet as you work. Now let’s look at the steps
for installing a PATA drive.
Turn off the computer and unplug it. Press the power button to drain the power. Remove
the computer case cover. Check that you have an available power cord from the power
supply for the drive.
You must decide which IDE connector to use, and if another drive will share the same
IDE data cable with your new drive. When possible, leave the hard drive as the single drive
on one channel, so that it does not compete with another drive for access to the channel and
possibly slow down performance. Use the primary channel before you use the secondary
channel. Place the fastest devices on the primary channel, and the slower devices on the
secondary channel. This pairing helps keep a slow device from pulling down a faster device.
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
Notes If you have three or fewer devices, allow the fastest hard drive to be your boot device and
the only device on the primary channel.
Standard settings
J8 Jumper settings
Most drives are shipped with a
jumper as shown above in a parked
position; there is no need to remove
Figure 8-36 A PATA drive most likely will have diagrams of jumper settings for master and slave options
printed on the drive housing
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A+ 220-702
Often, diagrams of the jumper settings are printed on the top of the hard drive housing
(see Figure 8-36). If they are not, see the documentation, or visit the Web site of the drive
manufacturer. (Hands-On Project 8-4 gives you practice researching jumper settings.)
Table 8-4 lists the four choices for jumper settings, and Figure 8-37 shows a typical
jumper arrangement for a drive that uses three of these settings. In Figures 8-36 and 8-37,
note that a black square represents an empty pin and a black rectangle represents a pair of
pins with a jumper in place. Know that your hard drive might not have the first configuration as an option, but it should have a way of indicating if the drive will be the master
device. The factory default setting is usually correct for the drive to be the single drive on a
system. Before you change any settings, write down the original ones. If things go wrong,
As an example of this type of pairing, suppose you have a tape drive, CD drive, and two
hard drives. Because the two hard drives are faster than the tape drive and CD drive, put the
two hard drives on one channel and the tape drive and CD drive on the other.
Supporting Hard Drives
Single-drive configuration
This is the only hard drive on this EIDE channel. (This is the
standard setting.)
Master-drive configuration
This is the first of two drives; it most likely is the boot device.
Slave-drive configuration
This is the second drive using this channel or data cable.
Cable-select configuration
The cable-select (CS or CSEL) data cable determines which of the
two drives is the master and which is the slave.
Table 8-4
Jumper settings on a parallel ATA hard drive
5 31
Single drive
6 42
5 31
6 42
Master drive
(dual drives)
5 31
6 42
Slave drive
(dual drives)
Jumper added
Jumper pins
Figure 8-37 Jumper settings on a hard drive and their meanings
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you can revert to the original settings and begin again. If a drive is the only drive on a channel, set it to single. For two drives on a controller, set one to master and the other to slave.
Some hard drives have a cable-select configuration option. If you choose this configuration,
you must use a cable-select data cable. When using an 80-conductor cable-select cable, the
drive nearest the motherboard is the master, and the drive farthest from the motherboard is
the slave. You can recognize a cable-select cable by a small hole somewhere in the data cable
or by labels (master or slave) on the connectors.
Now that you’ve set the jumpers, your next step is to look at the drive bay that you will use
for the drive. The bay can be stationary or removable. You saw both types of bays earlier in
the chapter. In the following steps, you will see how the hard drive is installed in a computer
case that has three other drives: a DVD drive, a Zip drive, and a floppy drive. All three
drives install in a removable bay. Do the following to install the hard drive in the bay:
1. Remove the bay from the case and insert the hard drive in the bay. You can line up
the drive in the bay with the front of the computer case (see Figure 8-38) to see how
drives will line up in the bay. Put the hard drive in the bay flush with the front of the bay
so it will butt up against the computer case once the bay is in position (see Figure 8-39).
Line up other drives in the bay so they are flush with the front of the computer case. In
Figure 8-39, a floppy drive and Zip drive are already in the bay.
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
Figure 8-39 Position the hard drive flush with the end of the bay
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2. You must be able to securely mount the drive in the bay; the drive should not move
when it is screwed down. Line up the drive and bay screw holes, and make sure everything will fit. After checking the position of the drive and determining how screws are
placed, install four screws (two on each side) to mount the drive in the bay.
3. Decide whether to connect the data cable to the drive before or after you insert the
bay inside the computer case, depending on how accessible the connections are. In this
A+ 220-702
Figure 8-38 Line up the floppy drive in the removable bay so it’s flush with the front of the case
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Supporting Hard Drives
example, the data cables are connected to the drives first and then the bay is installed
inside the computer case. In Figure 8-40, the data cables for all the drives in the bay
are connected to the drives.
Figure 8-40 Connect the cables to all three drives
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4. The next step is to place the bay back into position and secure the bay with the bay
screw or screws (see Figure 8-41). Note that some bays are secured with clips. For
example, for the bay shown in Figure 8-42, when you slide the bay into the case, you
will hear the clipping mechanism pop into place when the bay is all the way in.
Figure 8-41 Secure the bay with the bay screw
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How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
5. You can now install a power connection to each drive (Figure 8-43). In Figure 8-43,
the floppy drive uses the small Berg power connection, and the other drives use the
large Molex ones. It doesn’t matter which of the power cords you use, because they all
produce the same voltage. Also, the cord only goes into the connection one way.
Figure 8-43 Connect a power cord to each drive
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6. Next, connect the data cable to the IDE connector on the motherboard (see Figure 8-44).
Make certain pin 1 and the edge color on the cable align correctly at both ends of the
cable. Normally, pin 1 is closest to the power connection on the drive.
A+ 220-702
Figure 8-42 Slide the bay into the case as far as it will go
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Supporting Hard Drives
Pin 1 of floppy drive
Floppy drive
Secondary IDE connector
Primary IDE connector
Pin 1 of primary IDE
Figure 8-44 Floppy drive and two IDE connectors on the motherboard
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7. When using a motherboard connection, if the wire connecting the motherboard to the
hard drive light on the front of the case was not connected when the motherboard was
installed, connect it now. If you reverse the polarity of the LED wire, the light will not
work. Your motherboard manual should tell you the location of the LED wires on the
8. Before you replace the case cover, plug in the monitor and turn on the computer.
(On the other hand, some systems won’t power up until the front panel is installed.)
Verify that your system BIOS can find the drive before you replace the cover and
that it recognizes the correct size of the drive. If you have problems, refer to the
troubleshooting section at the end of this chapter.
After you confirm that your drive is recognized, the size of the drive is detected correctly,
and supported features are set to be automatically detected, reboot the system. Then the
next thing to do is to use an operating system to prepare the drive for first use.
If you are mounting a hard drive into a bay that is too large, a universal bay kit can help
you securely fit the drive into the bay. These inexpensive kits should create a tailor-made fit.
In Figure 8-45, you can see how the universal bay kit adapter works. The adapter spans the
distance between the sides of the drive and the bay. Figure 8-46 shows the drive installed in
a wide bay.
RAID can be implemented by hardware (using a RAID controller on the motherboard
or on a RAID controller card) or by the operating system. When RAID is implemented
at the hardware level, the motherboard does the work and Windows is not aware of
a hardware RAID implementation. If the motherboard does not have RAID connectors
on the board, you can purchase a RAID adapter card (also called a RAID controller
card) to provide the RAID hard drive connectors and to manage the RAID array.
Some SCSI host adapter cards support RAID or you can use a RAID controller card
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
Side brackets
connect to hard
Figure 8-46 Hard drive installed in a wide bay using a universal bay kit adapter
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that provides IDE or serial ATA connectors. Figure 8-47 shows a RAID controller card
by Sabrent that provides four SATA ports.
A+ Exam Tip The A+ 220-702 Practical Application exam expects you to be able to detect problems,
troubleshoot, and replace a RAID controller card.
Figure 8-48 shows a motherboard that has two regular IDE connectors, two serial ATA
connectors that can be configured for RAID, and two IDE RAID connectors. This board
supports spanning, RAID 0, RAID 1, and a combination of RAID 0 and RAID 1 (called
RAID 0+1). For another motherboard, six SATA connectors on the motherboard can be
used as RAID connectors if RAID is enabled in BIOS setup.
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Figure 8-45 Use the universal bay kit to make the drive fit the bay
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Supporting Hard Drives
Figure 8-47 RAID controller card provides four SATA internal connectors
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Regular IDE connectors
Serial ATA connectors
RAID IDE connectors
Figure 8-48 This motherboard supports RAID 0 and RAID 1
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When installing a hardware RAID system, for best performance, all hard drives in an array
should be identical in brand, size, speed, and other features. Also, if Windows is to be installed on
a hard drive that is part of a RAID array, RAID must be implemented before Windows is
installed. As with installing any hardware, first read the documentation that comes with the motherboard or RAID controller and follow those specific directions rather than the general guidelines
given here. For one motherboard that has six SATA connectors that support RAID, here are the
general directions to install the RAID array using three matching hard drives in a RAID 5 array:
1. Install the three SATA drives in the computer case and connect each drive to a SATA
connector on the motherboard (see Figure 8-49). To help keep the drives cool, the
drives are installed with an empty bay between each drive.
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
Three hard
2. Boot the system and enter BIOS setup. On the Advanced setup screen, verify the three
drives are recognized. Select the option to configure SATA and then select RAID from
the menu (see Figure 8-50).
3. Reboot the system and a message is displayed on-screen: “Press <Ctrl-I> to enter the
RAID Configuration Utility.” Press Ctrl and I to enter the utility (see Figure 8-51).
Figure 8-50 Configure SATA ports on the motherboard to enable RAID
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Figure 8-49 Install three matching hard drives in a system
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Figure 8-51 BIOS utility to configure a RAID array
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Notice in the information area that the three drives are recognized and their current
status is Non-RAID Disk.
4. Select option 1 to “Create RAID Volume.” On the next screen shown in Figure 8-52,
enter a volume name (FileServer in our example).
Figure 8-52 Make your choices for the RAID array
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How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
5. Under RAID Level, select RAID5 (Parity). Because we are using RAID 5, which
requires three hard drives, the option to select the disks for the array is not available.
All three disks will be used in the array.
6. Select the value for the Strip Size. (This is the amount of space devoted to one strip
across the striped array. Choices are 32 KB, 64 KB, or 128 KB.)
7. Enter the size of the volume. The available size is shown in Figure 8-52 as 1192 GB,
but you don’t have to use all the available space. The space you don’t use can later be
configured as another array. (In this example, I entered 500 GB.)
8. Select Create Volume to complete the RAID configuration. A message appears warning
you, that if you proceed, all data on all three hard drives will be lost. Type Y to
continue. The array is created and the system reboots.
You are now ready to install Windows. Do the following:
1. Boot from the Windows setup CD or DVD.
Figure 8-53 shows the Disk Management window for this system immediately after Vista
was installed. Notice Vista recognizes one hard drive, which it partitioned and formatted
during the installation process as drive C:. The drive C: size is 500 GB, which is the amount
of space that was dedicated to the RAID array. As far as Vista knows, there is a single
500 GB hard drive. BIOS is managing the RAID array without Vista’s awareness. If we
install the RAID drivers that are found on the motherboard driver CD, then we can manage
the RAID array from within Windows. Alternately, the RAID array can be managed from
the BIOS utility by pressing Ctrl-I during the boot.
For file servers using RAID 5 that must work continuously and hold important data,
it might be practical to use hardware that allows for hard drive hot-swapping, which means
you can remove one hard drive and insert another without powering down the computer.
However, hard drives that can be hot-swapped cost significantly more than regular hard
drives. RAID hard drive arrays are sometimes used as part of a storage area network (SAN).
A SAN is a network that has the primary purpose of providing large amounts of data storage.
RAID array
Figure 8-53 Vista Disk Management sees the RAID array as a single 500 GB hard drive
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A+ 220-702
2. For Windows XP, at the beginning of Windows setup, you are given the opportunity
to press F6 to install a RAID or SCSI driver. Press F6 and insert the RAID driver CD
that came bundled with the motherboard. Windows Vista does not require the RAID
drivers and the installation proceeds as normal. (The details of installing Windows XP
and Vista are covered in Chapter 12.)
Supporting Hard Drives
Many computers today come with a hard drive and CD or DVD drive, but don’t include a
floppy drive, although the motherboard most likely has a 34-pin floppy drive connector.
Most computer cases also have one or more empty bays for a 31⁄2" floppy drive.
If you have no extra bay and want to add a floppy drive, you can attach an external drive
that comes in its own case and has its own power supply. Most external drives today
connect to the main system using a USB port, such as the one in Figure 8-54.
Figure 8-54 An external floppy drive uses a USB connection
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Here are the steps to add or replace a floppy drive. Be sure to protect the computer
against ESD as you work.
1. Turn off the computer, unplug the power cord, press the power button, and remove
the cover.
2. Unplug the power cable to the old floppy drive. Steady the drive with one hand while you
dislodge the power cable with the other hand. Unplug the data cable from the old drive.
3. Unscrew and dismount the drive. Some drives have one or two screws on each side that
attach the drive to the drive bay. After you remove the screws, the drive usually slides to
the front and out of the case. Sometimes, you must lift a catch underneath the drive as you
slide the drive forward. Sometimes, the drive is installed into a removable bay. For this
type of case, first unscrew the screws securing the bay (most likely these screws are on the
front of the case) and remove the bay. Then unscrew and remove the drive from the bay.
4. Slide the new drive into the bay. Screw the drive down with the same screws used on
the old drive. Make sure the drive is anchored so that it cannot slide forward or
backward, or up or down, even if a user turns the case on its side.
5. If you are adding (not replacing) a floppy drive, connect the floppy drive data cable to
the motherboard. Align the edge color of the ribbon cable with pin 1 on the
motherboard connectors. Some connectors only allow you to insert the cable in one
direction. Be sure the end of the cable with the twist connects to the drive and the
other end to the motherboard.
Notes If your power supply doesn’t have the smaller Berg connector for the floppy drive, you can
buy a Molex-to-Berg converter to accommodate the floppy drive power connector.
How to Select and Install Hard Drives and Floppy Drives
6. Connect the data cable and power cord to the drive. Make sure that the data cable’s
colored edge is connected to the pin-1 side of the connection, as shown in Figure 8-55.
With some newer floppy drives, pin 1 is marked as an arrow on the drive housing
(see Figure 8-56).
Floppy drive
Twist in cable
Pin 1 of edge connector
Power connector
Figure 8-55 Connect colored edge of cable to pin 1
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Arrow indicates
pin 1
Figure 8-56 Pin 1 is marked on this floppy drive with an arrow on the drive housing
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Colored edge connector
Supporting Hard Drives
Most connections on floppy drives are oriented the same way, so this one probably has
the same orientation as the old drive. The power cable goes into the power connection
in only one direction. Be careful not to offset the connection by one pin.
7. Replace the cover, turn on the computer, and enter BIOS setup to verify the
drive is recognized with no errors. If you are adding (not replacing) a floppy drive,
you must inform BIOS setup by accessing setup and changing the drive type.
Boot to the Windows desktop and test the drive by formatting a disk or copying
data to a disk.
Notes Note that you can turn on the PC and test the drive before you replace the computer case
cover. If the drive doesn’t work, having the cover off makes it easier to turn off the computer, check
connections, and try again. Just make certain that you don’t touch anything inside the case while the
computer is on. Leaving the computer on while you disconnect and reconnect a cable is very dangerous
for the PC and will probably damage something—including you!
In this part of the chapter, you’ll learn how to troubleshoot problems with hard drives
and floppy drives. The following sections cover problems with hard drive installations,
and problems that occur after the installation with hard drives and floppy drives.
Problems with booting the PC caused by hard drive hardware are also covered. How to
deal with problems caused by a corrupted Windows installation is covered in Chapters
15 and 16.
Sometimes, trouble crops up during an installation. Keeping a cool head, thinking things
through carefully a second, third, and fourth time, and using all available resources will
most likely get you out of any mess.
Installing a hard drive is not difficult, unless you have an unusually complex situation.
For example, your first hard drive installation should not involve the intricacies of installing
a second SCSI drive in a system that has two SCSI host adapters. Nor should you install a
second drive in a system that uses an IDE connection for one
drive on the motherboard and an adapter card in an expanVideo
sion slot for the other drive. If a complicated installation is
Installing a Second Hard Drive
necessary and you have never installed a hard drive, ask for
expert help.
The following list describes the errors that cropped up during a few hard drive
installations; the list also includes the causes of the errors, and what was done about them.
Everyone learns something new when making mistakes, and you probably will, too. You can
then add your own experiences to this list.
Shawn physically installed an IDE hard drive. He turned on the machine and accessed
BIOS setup. The hard drive was not listed as an installed device. He checked and
discovered that autodetection was not enabled. He enabled it and rebooted. Setup
recognized the drive.
When first turning on a previously working PC, John received the following error
message: “Hard drive not found.” He turned off the machine, checked all cables, and
Troubleshooting Hard Drives
If BIOS setup does not recognize a newly installed hard drive, check the following:
Has BIOS setup been correctly configured for autodetection?
Are the jumpers on the drive set correctly?
Have the power cord and data cable been properly connected? Verify that each is
solidly connected at both ends.
Check the Web site of the drive manufacturer for suggestions, if the above steps don’t
solve your problem. Look for diagnostic software that can be downloaded from the
Web site and used to check the drive.
A+ Exam Tip The A+ 220-702 Practical Application exam might give you a symptom and expect
you to select a probable source of a problem from a list of sources. These examples of what can go
wrong can help you connect problem sources to symptoms.
One last warning: When things are not going well, you can tense up and make
mistakes more easily. Be certain to turn off the machine before doing anything inside! Not doing so
can be a costly error. For example, a friend had been trying and retrying to boot for some time, and
got frustrated and careless. He plugged the power cord into the drive without turning the PC off. The
machine began to smoke and everything went dead. The next thing he learned was how to replace a
power supply!
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discovered that the data cable from the motherboard to the drive was loose. He
reseated the cable and rebooted. POST found the drive.
Lucia physically installed a new hard drive, replaced the cover on the computer case,
and booted the PC with a Windows setup CD in the drive. POST beeped three times
and stopped. Recall that diagnostics during POST are often communicated by beeps if
the tests take place before POST has checked video and made it available to display
the messages. Three beeps on most computers signal a memory error. Lucia turned off
the computer and checked the memory modules on the motherboard. A module
positioned at the edge of the motherboard next to the cover had been bumped as she
replaced the cover. She reseated the module and booted again, this time with the cover
still off. The error disappeared.
Jason physically installed a new hard drive and turned on the computer. He
received the following error: “No boot device available.” He forgot to insert a
Windows setup CD. He put the disc in the drive and rebooted the machine
The hard drive did not physically fit into the bay. The screw holes did not line up.
Juan got a bay kit, but it just didn’t seem to work. He took a break, went to lunch,
and came back to make a fresh start. Juan asked others to help view the brackets,
holes, and screws from a fresh perspective. It didn’t take long to discover that he had
overlooked the correct position for the brackets in the bay.
Maria set the jumpers on a PATA hard drive and physically installed the drive. She
booted and received the following error message: “Hard drive not present.” She
rechecked all physical connections and found everything okay. After checking the
jumper settings, she realized that she had set them as if this were the second drive of a
two-drive system, when it was the only drive. She restored the jumpers to their
original state. In this case, as in most cases, the jumpers were set at the factory to be
correct when the drive is the only drive.
Supporting Hard Drives
After the hard drive is working, problems can arise later, such as corrupted data files, a
corrupted Windows installation, or a hardware problem that causes the system to refuse
to boot. In this section, you’ll learn about some tools you can use to solve hard drive
problems and how to approach the problem and prioritize what to do first. Then, in
later sections, we’ll look at some specific error messages and symptoms and how to deal
with them.
When an end user brings a problem to you, begin the troubleshooting process by interviewing the user. When you interview the user, you might want to include these questions:
Can you describe the problem and describe when it occurs?
Was the computer recently moved?
Was any new hardware or software recently installed?
Was any software recently reconfigured or upgraded?
Did someone else use your computer recently?
Does the computer have a history of similar problems?
Is there important data on the drive that is not backed up?
Can you show me how to reproduce the problem?
After you gather this basic information, you can prioritize what to do and begin diagnosing and addressing the hard drive problems.
If a hard drive is not functioning and data is not accessible, setting priorities helps focus
your work. For most users, data is the first priority unless they have a recent backup.
Software can also be a priority if it is not backed up. Reloading software from the original
installation disks or CD can be time consuming, especially if the configuration is complex or
software macros or scripts are on the drive and not backed up.
If a system won’t boot from the hard drive, your first priority might be to recover data on
the drive. Therefore, before you try to solve the hardware or Windows problem that
prevents booting, consider removing the drive and installing it as a second drive in a working system. If the partition table on the problem drive is intact, you might be able to copy
data from the drive to the primary drive in the working system. Then turn your attention to
solving the original problem.
If you have good backups of both data and software, hardware might be your priority. It
could be expensive to replace, but downtime can be costly, too. The point is, when trouble
arises, determine your main priority and start by focusing on that.
Be aware of the resources available to help you resolve a problem:
User manuals often list error messages and their meanings.
Installation manuals most likely will have a troubleshooting section and list any
diagnostic tools available.
Troubleshooting Hard Drives
A+ 220-702
The Internet can also help you diagnose hardware and software problems. Go to the
Web site of the product manufacturer, and search for the FAQs (frequently asked
questions) list or a support forum. It’s likely that others have encountered the same
problem and posted the question and answer. If you search and cannot find your
answer, you can post a new question. Use a search engine such as to
search for the error, the hardware device, the problem, the technology used, and other
keywords that can help you find useful information. Many technicians enjoy sharing
what they know online, and the Internet can be a rich source of all kinds of technical
information and advice. Be careful, however. Not all technical advice is correct or well
Training materials can offer insights, explain concepts and tools, and give you a
general direction as to how to approach a problem.
Telephone, chat, or e-mail technical support from the hardware and software
manufacturers can help you interpret an error message, or it can provide general
support in diagnosing a problem. Most technical support is available during
working hours by telephone. Check your documentation for telephone numbers.
An experienced computer troubleshooter once said, “The people who solve
computer problems do it by trying something and making phone calls, trying
something else and making more phone calls, and so on, until the problem
is solved.”
PartitionMagic by Symantec ( lets you manage partitions on a
hard drive for Windows XP. You can change the size of partitions and move partitions
without losing data while you work. You can switch file systems without disturbing
your data, and you can hide and show partitions to secure your data. For Vista, Disk
Management performs many of the same functions.
SpinRite by Gibson Research ( is hard drive utility software that has
been around for years. Still a DOS application without a sophisticated GUI
interface, SpinRite has been updated to adjust to new drive technologies. It
supports NTFS, FAT32, and SCSI drives. It can be installed and run from any
bootable device, including a CD, USB drive, or floppy disk, which means that it
doesn’t require much system overhead. Because it is written in a language closer to
the binary code that the computer understands, it is more likely to detect underlying hard drive problems than software that uses Windows, which can stand as a
masking layer between the software and the hard drive. SpinRite analyzes the
entire hard drive surface, performing data recovery of corrupted files and file
system information. Sometimes, SpinRite can recover data from a failing hard drive
when other software fails.
GetDataBack by Runtime Software ( can recover data and program
files even when Windows cannot recognize the drive. It can read NTFS and FAT32 file
systems and can solve problems with a corrupted partition table, boot record, or root
Hard drive manufacturer’s diagnostic software is available for download
from the Web sites of many hard drive manufacturers. For example, you can
download Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for DOS from the Western Digital Web
site (, burn the software to CD, and boot from the CD
(see Figure 8-57). Using the software, you can do a quick test to check Western
Digital drives for physical problems or an extended test to repair any correctable
problems. You can also write zeros to every sector on the drive to get a fresh start
with the drive. There’s also a Windows version that can be used to test a second
hard drive in your system. Another similar program is SeaTools by Seagate
Supporting Hard Drives
Figure 8-57 Download hard drive diagnostic software from the drive manufacturer’s Web site
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(see Figure 8-58) that can be downloaded and used to create a bootable CD or
floppy that can be used to test and analyze most ATA and SCSI drives by Seagate
and other manufacturers.
Notes Always check compatibility between utility software and the operating system with which you
plan to use it. One place you can check for compatibility is the service and support section of the
software manufacturer’s Web site.
Notes Remember one last thing: After making a reasonable and diligent effort to resolve a problem,
getting the problem fixed could become more important than resolving it yourself. There comes a time
when you might need to turn the problem over to a more experienced technician.
A+ Exam Tip The A+ 220-702 Practical Application exam expects you to know how to
troubleshoot problems with SATA, PATA, and solid state hard drives and with floppy disk drives.
Troubleshooting Hard Drives
A+ 220-702
Figure 8-58 Use SeaTools by Seagate to create a diagnostic CD or floppy to test and analyze hard drives
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
In this section, we look at different problems with the hard drive that present themselves
during the boot. These problems can be caused by the hard drive subsystem, by the partition
table or file system on the drive, or by files required for the OS to boot. When trying to
solve a problem with the boot, you need to decide if the problem is caused by hardware or
software. All the problems discussed in this section are caused by hardware. In Chapters 15
and 16, you’ll learn how to deal with problems that cause errors when loading the operating
system and problems with missing or corrupted data files. All these type errors are caused
by software.
Recall from Chapter 5 that the BIOS performs the POST at the beginning of the
boot to verify that essential hardware devices are working. Hardware problems
usually show up at POST, unless there is physical damage to an area of the hard
drive that is not accessed during POST. Hardware problems often make the hard
Supporting Hard Drives
drive totally inaccessible. If BIOS cannot find a hard drive at POST, it displays an
error message similar to this:
Hard drive not found
Fixed disk error
Invalid boot disk
Inaccessible boot device
Inaccessible boot drive
Numeric error codes in the 1700s or 10400s
The reasons BIOS cannot access the drive can be caused by the drive, the data cable,
the electrical system, the motherboard, the controller card (if one is present), or a loose
connection. Here is a list of things to do and check:
1. If BIOS displays numeric error codes or cryptic messages during POST, check the
Web site of the BIOS manufacturer for explanations of these codes or messages.
2. For a RAID array, use the BIOS utility to check the status of each disk in the array
and to check for errors.
3. In BIOS setup, look for the ability to disable block mode. Block mode speeds up
access time by allowing blocks of data to be read from the drive at one time.
Disabling it will slow down drive performance but might solve the problem.
4. Remove and reattach all drive cables. Check for correct pin-1 orientation.
5. If you’re using a RAID, eSATA, SATA, PATA, or SCSI controller card, remove and
reseat it or place it in a different slot. Check the documentation for the card, looking
for directions for troubleshooting.
6. Check the jumper settings on the drive.
7. Inspect the drive for damage, such as bent pins on the connection for the cable.
8. Determine if the hard drive is spinning by listening to it or lightly touching the metal
drive (with power on).
9. Check the cable for frayed edges or other damage.
10. Check the installation manual for things you might have overlooked. Look for a
section about system setup, and carefully follow all directions that apply.
11. Be sure the power cable and drive data cable connections are good.
12. Check BIOS setup for errors in the hard drive configuration. If you suspect an
error, set CMOS to default settings, make sure autodetection is turned on, and
reboot the system.
13. Try booting from another media such as the Windows setup CD. If you can boot using
another media, you have proven that the problem is isolated to the hard drive subsystem.
Windows recovery tools to use from the setup CD are covered in Chapters 15 and 16.
14. Check the drive manufacturer Web site for diagnostic software. Run the software to
test the drive for errors.
15. If it is not convenient to create a boot CD with hard drive diagnostic software
installed, you can move the drive to a working computer and install it as a second
Troubleshooting Hard Drives
drive in the system. Then you can use the diagnostic software installed on the
primary hard drive to test the problem drive. While you have the drive installed in a
working computer, be sure to find out if you can copy data from it to the good drive,
so that you can recover any data not backed up. Note that for these temporary tests,
you don’t have to physically install the drive in the working system. Open the computer case. Carefully lay the drive on the case and connect a power cord and data
cable (see Figure 8-59). Then turn on the PC. While you have the PC turned on, be
very careful to not touch the drive or touch inside the case. Also, while a tower case
is lying on its side like the one in Figure 8-59, don’t use the CD or DVD drive.
A+ 220-702
Figure 8-59 Temporarily connect a faulty hard drive to another system to diagnose the problem
and try to recover data
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
16. If the drive still does not boot, exchange the three field replaceable units—the data
cable, the adapter card (optional), and the hard drive itself—for a hard drive
subsystem. Do the following, in order:
Reconnect or swap the drive data cable.
Reseat or exchange the drive controller card, if one is present.
Exchange the hard drive for a known good unit.
17. If the hard drive refuses to work but its light stays on even after the system has fully
booted, the problem might be a faulty controller on the hard drive or motherboard.
Try replacing the hard drive. Next, try an ATA controller card to substitute for the
ATA connectors on the motherboard or replace the motherboard.
18. Sometimes older drives refuse to spin at POST. Drives that have trouble spinning
often whine at startup for several months before they finally refuse to spin altogether.
If your drive whines loudly when you first turn on the computer, never turn off the
computer. One of the worst things you can do for a drive that is having difficulty
starting up is to leave the computer turned off for an extended period of time. Some
drives, like old cars, refuse to start if they are unused for a long time.
Supporting Hard Drives
Notes You can purchase an inexpensive converter such as the one in Figure 8-60 to connect a
failing PATA hard drive to a working computer using a USB port. The kit also comes with a converter
for a notebook hard drive. (A PATA connector on a laptop is shorter than a desktop PATA connector.)
Figure 8-61 shows a SATA to USB converter kit. The SATA connector can be used for desktop or laptop
hard drives because a SATA connector is the same for both. These ATA to USB converters are really handy
when troubleshooting problems with hard drives that refuse to boot.
Power connector
for hard drive
USB connector
40-pin IDE
Converter for
notebook hard
Driver CD
Figure 8-60 Use an IDE to USB converter for diagnostic testing and to recover data from a failing PATA hard drive
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
Power to drive
Connects to drive
Connects to USB port
Figure 8-61 Use a SATA to USB converter to recover data from a drive using a SATA connector
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
A bad power supply or a bad motherboard also might cause a disk boot failure. If the
problem is solved by exchanging one of the field replaceable units listed, you still must
reinstall the old unit to verify that the problem was not caused by a bad connection.
The read/write heads at the ends of the read/write arms on a hard drive get extremely close
to the platters, but do not actually touch them. This minute clearance between the heads
Troubleshooting Hard Drives
If you get the error message “Invalid drive or drive specification,” the system BIOS cannot
read the partition table information. You’ll need to boot from the Windows setup CD or
DVD and check the partition table. How to do that is covered in Chapters 15 and 16.
Track and sector markings on a drive sometimes “fade” off the hard drive over time,
which causes “bad sector” errors to crop up. These errors can also occur if an area of
the drive has become damaged. Do not trust valuable data to a drive that has this kind
of trouble. Plan to replace the drive soon. In the meantime, make frequent backups
and leave the power on. You’ll learn more about this and other software errors in
later chapters.
Recall that solid state drives have no moving parts, so you don’t have to be concerned with
bumping the drive while it is in use. They might come from the factory already partitioned
and formatted using the NTFS file system, or you might have to format them yourself. If the
drive gives errors, try using diagnostic software specific for this drive if it is available from
the drive manufacturer. Also check the support section of the Web site for troubleshooting
tips. SATA and PATA connections and BIOS settings for solid state drives look and work the
same as for other drives.
A+ 220-702
and platters makes hard drives susceptible to destruction. Should a computer be bumped or
moved while the hard drive is operating, a head can easily bump against the platter and
scratch the surface. Such an accident causes a “hard drive crash,” often making the hard
drive unusable.
If the head mechanism is damaged, the drive and its data are probably total losses. If the
first tracks that contain the partition table, boot record, MFT (for the NTFS file system), or
root directory are damaged, the drive could be inaccessible, although the data might be
Here’s a trick that might work for a hard drive whose head mechanism is intact but
whose first few tracks are damaged. First, find a working hard drive that has the same
partition table information as the bad drive. Take the computer case off, place the good
drive on top of the bad drive housing, and connect a spare power cord and the ATA data
cable to the good drive. Leave a power cord connected to the bad drive. Boot from a
bootable CD or floppy disk. No error message should show at POST. Access the good
drive by entering C: at the command prompt. The C prompt should show on the
monitor screen.
Without turning off the power, gently remove the data cable from the good drive
and place it on the bad drive. Do not disturb the power cords on either drive or touch
chips on the drive logic boards. Immediately copy the data you need from the bad
drive to another media, using the Copy command. If the area of the drive where
the data is stored, the FAT or MFT, and the directory are not damaged, this method
should work.
Here’s another trick for an older hard drive having trouble spinning when first turned on.
Remove the drive from the case, hold it firmly in both hands, and give the drive a quick and
sudden twist that forces the platters to turn inside the drive housing. Reinstall the drive. It
might take several tries to get the drive spinning. After the drive is working, immediately
make a backup and plan to replace the drive soon.
Supporting Hard Drives
Table 8-5 lists errors that occur during and after the boot with the floppy drive or disks.
Problem or Error Message
During the boot, numeric error messages
in the 600 range or text error messages
about the floppy drive appear on-screen.
What to Do About It
The floppy drive did not pass POST, which can
be caused by problems with the drive, data
cable, or motherboard. Check power and data
cable connections.
Try a different power cord.
Check BIOS setup and reboot.
Replace the drive.
Cannot read from a floppy disk
The disk is not formatted. Try a different
disk or try formatting this disk.
The shuttle window on the floppy disk
cannot open fully.
The disk is inserted incorrectly.
Something is lodged inside the disk’s plastic
housing. Check the shuttle window.
Does the drive light come on? BIOS setup
might be wrong, or the command you’re
using is wrong.
Non-system disk or disk error. Replace
and strike any key when ready.
No operating system found
You are trying to boot from a disk that is not
bootable. Try a different disk or remove the
disk and boot from the hard drive.
Missing NTLDR
Invalid system disk
Invalid boot disk
Not ready reading drive A:, Abort, Retry, Fail?
The disk in drive A is not readable. Try
formatting the disk.
General failure reading drive A:, Abort,
Retry, Fail?
The disk is badly corrupted or not yet
Track 0 bad, disk not usable
The disk is bad or you are trying to format
it using the wrong parameters on the
Format command.
Write-protect error writing drive A:
The disk is write-protected and the
application is trying to write to it. Close
the switch shown in Figure 8-62.
Bad sector or sector not found reading
drive A, Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?
Sector markings are corrupted or fading.
Press I to ignore that sector and move on.
Don’t trust this disk with important data.
Table 8-5
Floppy drive and floppy disk errors that can occur during and after the boot
Chapter Summary
Figure 8-62 For you to write to a disk, the write-protect notch must be closed
Courtesy: Course Technology/Cengage Learning
A hard disk drive (HDD) comes in two sizes: 3.5" for desktop computers, and 2.5" for laptops.
A hard drive can be a magnetic drive, a solid state drive, or a hybrid drive. A solid state
drive is more expensive, faster, more reliable, and uses less power than a magnetic drive.
A hard drive is low-level formatted at the factory where track and sector markings are
written to the drive. Drive capacity is measured in GB or TB.
When Windows prepares a drive as a basic disk, it installs a Master Boot Record (MBR)
which contains a partition table and a master boot program.
A primary partition is also called a volume, simple volume, or basic volume. An extended
partition can have more than one logical drive.
Two file systems used for hard drives are FAT32 (the older system) and NTFS (the newer
Most hard drives use the ATA interface standards. The two main categories of ATA are
parallel ATA and serial ATA. Serial ATA is easier to configure and better performing than
PATA. External SATA ports are called eSATA ports.
S.M.A.R.T. is a self-monitoring technology whereby the BIOS monitors the health of the
hard drive and warns of an impending failure.
ATAPI standards are used by optical drives and other drives that use the ATA interface
on a motherboard or controller card.
Several PATA standards are Fast ATA, Ultra ATA, Ultra ATA/66, Ultra ATA/100, and
Ultra ATA/133.
Supporting Hard Drives
Three SATA standards provide data transfer rates of 1.5 Gb/sec, 3.0 Gb/sec, and 6.0 Gb/sec.
Currently, the second standard is the most popular and is sometimes called SATA-300.
SCSI is an interface standard for high-end hard drives used in servers.
RAID technology uses an array of hard drives used to provide fault tolerance and/or
improvement in performance.
Today’s floppy disks are 31⁄2", high-density disks that hold 1.44 MB of data.
When selecting a hard drive, consider the capacity of the drive, the spindle speed (for
magnetic drives), the interface standard used, the cache or buffer size, and the average
seek time. Also, solid state or hybrid drives are faster than magnetic drives.
SATA drives require no configuration and are installed using a power cord and a single
SATA data cable.
PATA drives require you to set a jumper to determine if the drive will be the master or
slave on a single cable. The PATA cable can accommodate two drives. A PATA
motherboard has two PATA connectors for a total of four PATA drives in the system.
After a hard drive is installed, verify it is recognized by BIOS and then use Windows to
partition and format the drive. Solid state drives might be preformatted using the NTFS
file system.
Hardware RAID can be implemented by the motherboard or a RAID controller card.
Software RAID is implemented by Vista or Windows XP. Best practice is to use hardware
RAID rather than software RAID.
After a floppy disk drive is installed, you must configure the drive in BIOS setup.
For explanations of key terms, see the Glossary near the end of the book.
80-conductor IDE cable
active partition
ANSI (American National
Standards Institute)
ATAPI (Advanced
Technology Attachment
Packet Interface)
basic disk
block mode
boot record
boot sector
DMA (direct memory access)
transfer mode
drive image
EIDE (Enhanced IDE)
extended partition
external SATA (eSATA)
fault tolerance
file allocation table (FAT)
file allocation unit
file system
floppy disk drive (FDD)
hard disk drive (HDD)
hard drive
high-level formatting
host adapter
hybrid hard drives
Integrated Device Electronics
Logical Unit Number (LUN)
logical drives
low-level formatting
magnetic hard drive
mirrored volume
New Technology file system
operating system formatting
parallel ATA
PIO (Programmed Input/Output)
transfer mode
primary partition
RAID (redundant array of
inexpensive disks or redundant
array of independent disks)
RAID-5 volumes
read/write head
SCSI host adapter card
serial ATA (SATA)
serial ATA cable
serial attached SCSI (SAS)
simple volume
S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring
Analysis and Reporting
solid state device (SSD)
solid state drive (SSD)
striped volume
terminating resistor
Reviewing the Basics
1. What are the two common sizes for hard drives?
2. Why is a solid state drive referred to as solid state?
3. If a magnetic drive has four platters, how many heads does it have?
4. What is the name of the Vista technology that supports a hybrid drive?
5. When the OS addresses the sectors on a hard drive as one long list of sequential sectors,
what is this technology called?
6. What are the main two components of the Master Boot Record on a hard drive?
7. What is the smallest unit of space on a hard drive that can be used to store a file?
8. What two file systems can Windows use to format a hard drive? Which system supports
the most storage capacity?
9. Which ATA standard for hard drives first introduced S.M.A.R.T.?
10. Which ATA standard is the latest standard that made improvements to PATA?
11. A CD drive that uses a PATA connection must follow what standard?
12. How many pins does a PATA cable have? What is the maximum recommended length
of a PATA cable?
13. What transfer mode can transmit data from a device to memory without involving
the CPU?
14. What term describes the technology that allows you to exchange a hard drive without
powering down the system?
15. Which RAID level mirrors one hard drive with a second drive so that the same data
is written to both drives?
16. Which RAID level stripes data across multiple drives to improve performance and also
provides fault tolerance?
17. How many pins does a floppy drive cable have?
18. Which file system does a floppy disk use?
19. What are three current ratings for spindle speed for a magnetic hard drive?
20. What Windows utility can be used to partition and format a hard drive?
21. What are the four possible configurations for a PATA drive installed in a system?
22. If a motherboard has one blue IDE connector and one black IDE connection, which
do you use to install a single drive?
23. When implementing RAID on a motherboard, where do you enable the feature?
24. To write to a floppy disk, is it necessary for the write-protect notch to be open or
25. What is the name of the Seagate utility that can be used to test a hard drive and diagnose
a hard drive problem?
Supporting Hard Drives
1. You install a hard drive and then turn on the PC for the first time. You access BIOS
setup and see that the drive is not recognized. Which of the following do you do next?
a. Turn off the PC, open the case, and verify that memory modules on the motherboard
have not become loose.
b. Turn off the PC, open the case, and verify that the data cable and power cable are
connected correctly and jumpers on the drive are set correctly.
c. Verify that BIOS autodetection is enabled.
d. Reboot the PC and enter BIOS setup again to see if it now recognizes the drive.
2. Most motherboards that use SATA connectors have at least one PATA connector on the
board. What is the most important reason this PATA connector is present?
a. The hard drive used for booting the OS must use a PATA connector.
b. The IDE controller will not work without at least one PATA connector.
c. The board can accommodate older hard drives using the PATA connector.
d. The PATA connector can be used for EIDE drives such as a CD or DVD drive.
3. You want to set up your desktop system to use a solid state drive, but the only solid state drives
you can find are 2.5" drives intended for laptops. Which of the following do you do?
a. Buy a laptop computer with a solid state drive.
b. Buy a bay adapter that will allow you to install a 2.5" drive in a desktop case bay.
c. Flash BIOS so that your system will support a laptop hard drive.
d. Use a special SATA controller card that will support a laptop hard drive.
Examining the BIOS Setting for a Hard Drive
From the BIOS setup information on your computer, write down or print all the BIOS
settings that apply to your hard drive. Explain each setting that you can. What is the size
of the installed drive?
Selecting a Replacement Hard Drive
Suppose the 640-GB Western Digital hard drive installed in the RAID array and shown in
Figure 8-49 has failed. Search the Internet and find a replacement drive as close to this drive
as possible. Print three Web pages showing the sizes, features, and prices of three possible
replacements. Which drive would you recommend as the replacement drive and why?
Preparing for Hard Drive Hardware Problems
1. Boot your PC and make certain that it works properly. Turn off your computer,
remove the computer case, and disconnect the data cable to your hard drive. Turn on
the computer again. Write down the message that you get.
Real Problems, Real Solutions
2. Turn off the computer and reconnect the data cable. Reboot and make sure the system is
working again.
3. Turn off the computer and disconnect the power supply cord to the hard drive. Turn on
the computer. Write down the error that you get.
4. Turn off the computer, reconnect the power supply, and reboot the system. Verify the
system is working again.
Researching with the Internet
Suppose a friend has asked you to install an old hard drive in his computer. The drive is the
Maxtor Quantum Fireball Plus AS 20.5-GB hard drive. You want the drive to be the slave
drive, and you know that you must change the current jumper settings. The four jumpers on the
drive are labeled DS, CS, PK, and Rsvd. The description of the jumpers doesn’t tell you how to
set the jumpers so the drive is the slave. The documentation is not available. What do you do?
The best solution is to use the Internet to access the drive manufacturer’s Web site for
this information. In this case, the site is Use this example or some
other example given by your instructor to determine the correct settings for the jumpers.
Researching Floppy Drives on the Internet
Use the Internet to answer the following questions:
What is the price of an internal floppy drive?
What kind of connections do external floppy disk drives use? What is the price
of an external drive?
Why do you think external drives cost more than internal drives? What are the
advantages of external drives? Internal drives?
Installing a Hard Drive
In a lab that has one hard drive per computer, you can practice installing a hard drive by
removing a drive from one computer and installing it as a second drive in another computer.
When you boot up the computer with two drives, verify that both drives are accessible in
Windows Explorer. Then remove the second hard drive, and return it to its original
computer. Verify that both computers and drives are working.
REAL PROBLEM 8-1: Data Recovery Problem
Your friend has a Windows XP desktop system that contains important data. He frantically
calls you to say that when he turns on the computer, the lights on the front panel light up
and he can hear the fan spin for a moment and then all goes dead. His most urgent problem
is the data on his hard drive, which is not backed up. The data is located in several folders
on the drive. What is the quickest and easiest way to solve the most urgent problem,
recovering the data? List the major steps in that process.
Supporting Hard Drives
REAL PROBLEM 8-2: Salvaging Valuable Data on a Floppy Disk
On the job as a PC repair technician at a local university, a distraught student comes to you
in a panic. Susan shows you the plastic housing of her floppy disk has been chipped and
cracked so she can’t insert it into a floppy disk drive. The problem is it holds her only copy
of her term paper that is due tomorrow! She desperately needs your help.
You examine the floppy disk and confirm that, yes, the housing is completely
destroyed. You ask her how that happened and she begins to turn red as she describes a
very vindictive little brother. You begin to feel sorry for her and decide to take the time
to help. You notice the disk inside the housing appears to be in good shape. Can you
remove the disk from the floppy disk housing and carefully place it in a new housing so
she can insert it in a floppy disk drive? Test your theory by removing a floppy disk that
has data written to it from one housing, putting it into another housing, and then
reading the data on the disk.
REAL PROBLEM 8-3: Using Hardware RAID
You work as a PC technician for a boss who believes you are really bright and can solve just
about any problem he throws at you. Folks in the company have complained one time too
many that the file server downtime is just killing them, so he asks you to solve this problem.
He wants you to figure out what hardware is needed to implement hardware RAID for fault
tolerance. Here are the first steps you take:
1. You check the file server’s configuration and discover it has a single hard drive using a
serial ATA connection with Windows Server 2003 installed. There are four empty bays in
the computer case and four extra 4-pin power cords.
2. You discover the server’s motherboard has an empty PCIe x4 slot. You think the slot
might accommodate a RAID controller.
3. After doing a little searching on the Web, you find the Intel RAID Controller SASMF8I
You think it might work.
4. The next steps are to read the documentation about this controller, and then decide on
which RAID configuration you should use and how many and what kind of hard drives
you should buy.
Complete the investigation and do the following:
1. Decide what hardware you must purchase and print Web pages showing the products
and their cost.
2. What levels of RAID does this controller support? Which RAID level is best to use? Print
any important information in the RAID controller documentation that supports your
decisions. If you prefer, you can recommend a different RAID controller.
3. What is the total hardware cost of implementing RAID? Estimate how much time you
think it will take for you to install the devices and test the setup.
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