Karbosguide.com - Module 5b6.

Practical hints to setting up a harddisk


The contents:

  • Setting up the disk
  • The BIOS
  • Next page
  • Previous page


  • Configuring your EIDE hard disk

    Often setting up a hard disk is very easy. But sometimes it teases you - sometimes even a lot. Let me here describe a few checkpoints:

  • The cabling. Your hard disk has to be connected to the master EIDE channel, and the connection has to be ensured.

  • The jumpers - is the drive a slave or a master? Read below.

  • The BIOS setup has to be configured. Read below.

  • Run FDISK to partition the hard disk. Boot from a diskette with fdisk.exe on it. Read about file systems in module 6a.

    Slave or master

    If you connect EIDE harddisk number 2, you probably have to connect as a slave unit on the primary EIDE channel. This is not very good, as I describe it in the article Please also read the article "Problems with assigning two EIDE harddisks".

    Anyway, I'll use this setup as example. You have to make sure the jumper setting is correct. Here is the text from a Maxtor manual, which tells how to set the unit up as a master or a slave. It is very easy - and it works:

    The jumpers are on the back side of the drive, between the cable and power connectors:


    The BIOS

    BIOS is a low-level layer of system software. The BIOS has to identify the hard disk at the Start-up. If BIOS does not have the proper values for the specific hard disk, it will not function. There will be no access to the hard disk.

    The hard disk is recognized by BIOS on certain parameters like number of cylinders, number of heads, sectors etc. These values are to be stored in the CMOS memory. But often the PC cannot identify these values without a helping hand. I here describe the installation as I know it (the ROM software is from Award). It is not complicated at all, but it involves two menus from the Setup utility.

    If you have mounted your hard disk and ensured that the cabling is correct, it is time to boot the PC. Then you hit the [Delete]-key to enter the Setup program. First you choose "IDE HDD AUTO DETECTION" as here:

    Then you have to let the program detect each of the four EIDE channels. On the first one you should find your hard disk. If not - then something definitely is wrong.

    When you find the hard disk you usually get three options concerning the protocol assigned the drive. Here we find the harddisk on Primary Master channel. Choose the prompted one, here it is number 2 (LBA):

    Continue with other channels. Here I install harddisk number 2:

    Sometimes a CDROM drive is identified here, other times it isn't, but it functions anyway.

    When the hard disk and other EIDE units are identified by the auto detect utility, you return to the main menu of the Setup program. Choose "STANDARD CMOS SETUP" as here:

    Here you should find the hard disk listed. In my case it looks like this, using two harddisks:

    Be aware that the list above has to correspond directly to the physically installed units - especially if you reconfigure your system. Otherwise it won't work. This has teased me when I installed hard disk number two and changed the master/slave setup. It is not enough to run the auto detect, also the standard CMOS setup menu has to be updated.

    When all this is in place, you have to save the changes and reboot.


  • Next page
  • Previous page


    To learn more

    Read more the boot process and system bus in Module 2b

    Read about file systems in module 6a

    Read about I/O buses in module 2c

    Read about the motherboard chip set in module 2d

    Read about RAM in module 2e

    Read Module 5c about SCSI, USB etc.

    Read module 7a about monitors, and 7b on graphics card.

    [Main page]
    [Karbo's Dictionary]
    [The Software Guides]


    Copyright (c) 1996-2017 by Michael B. Karbo. www.Karbosguide.com.