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How do I change the secondary drive to the primary drive?

by KentuckyBlue / April 15, 2008 7:01 AM PDT


I have installed a second hard drive in my computer **(see specs below.) I have installed Windows XP HE on it and plan to use it as the primary drive. The only difference between them is the old one is 120 gig and the new one is 130 gig.

I want to make the new drive the primary drive and use the old one as back up and storage. The original drive needs to be formated and everything re-installed, but not until I've gotten everything I need off of it and onto the new one. (I know the instant I issue the format command, I'll think of five things I forgot to move, so I may never format it.)

If I unplug the old drive, the computer boots from the new drive, but if I plug the old drive in, even after swapping the two connectors, putting the two from the old drive on the new and vice versa, the computer continues to boot from the old drive.

Can anyone help? I'm almost positive there is someone who can. I've never come here when I didn't get the help I need.


** OS:Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition.SP 2
Dell Dimension 8300.
System Type, X86-based PC.
Total Physical Memory, 512.00 MB.(I've ordered 2 gig RAM to replace the 512 mb.

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by ice_bear_joe / April 15, 2008 7:21 AM PDT

the jumper on the old drive to slave and the new to master

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reply to: How do I change
by caktus / April 15, 2008 7:32 AM PDT

Simply changing the connection order as you have done should do it. Try checking the jumper setting on the HDD's. Make sure the jumpers are set to Cable Select or CS on both and it [should] work as you had originally expected. Usually they are set to CS at the factory.


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How do I change the secondary drive to the primary drive?
by KentuckyBlue / April 15, 2008 7:54 AM PDT

You said: "Try checking the jumper setting on the HDD's. Make sure the jumpers are set to Cable Select or CS on both and it [should] work as you had originally expected."

I hate to be obtuse, but what and where are the "jumpers" and how and where are they set to CS?

There are two connectors for each drive. One is a small blue cable with a black connector and the other is white has five wires leading to it. They appear to be two black, one yellow, one red and one orange. Of the two of them, one is labeled P3 and the other P5.

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Jumpers. . .
by Coryphaeus / April 15, 2008 9:00 AM PDT

On the back of the drive, next to the ribbon cable will be a small plastic connector. On the drive there should be markings to designate Master, Slave, or CS (cable select). For 99% of all applications, including CS, set the boot drive jumper to Master and plug the end of the flat cable into that drive. On the slave drive set the jumper to slave and plug it into the middle connector on the cable.

The small connectors with 5 wires are the power plugs.

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RE: jumpers
by KentuckyBlue / April 16, 2008 3:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Jumpers. . .


These HDDs don't have ribbon connectors or places to place jumpers. In fact, there are no connectors or places for them on the back.

The drives are of a technology I've never seen except on this computer. When I bought the computer in 2004, I planned to install the old HDD from my old computer as a backup, but it was of a different technology than that on the computer.

The MB connector is a blue cable shaped like an old telephone cable with a black connector that goes on the HDD.

The only connectors are the two on the front, one for power and the other connecting it to the motherboard and a third with 4 pins. They look like they could take jumpers, but there is none. The sticker on top of the drive shows those and says they are for jumpers, but for factory use only.

After that lengthy explanation, please tell me what to do next.

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Ah, it's a SATA drive. . .
by Coryphaeus / April 16, 2008 7:37 AM PDT
In reply to: RE: jumpers

and beyond me. All mine are IDE (with the flat ribbon cable) and I don't own a SATA drive. So sorry, I'm not familiar with those drives.

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Dell & my life in h___
by KentuckyBlue / April 16, 2008 4:38 AM PDT
In reply to: Jumpers. . .

I just hung up on Dell tech support. The woman told me that the only way to use the new drive as the primary drive is to format the old drive.

She would not answer the question: why would I have purchased a new drive if I was going to have to format the old drive? It didn't matter what I asked. All she would say is you have to take everything off of the old drive to make the new drive the primary drive. It was the fourth time that she said, "The thing is, if you ..." that I said "You're not listening to me," and hung up.

Anyone else got an idea? There has to be another way.

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(NT) Ah! Good ol' Dell hell.
by caktus / April 16, 2008 12:18 PM PDT
In reply to: Dell & my life in h___
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Lots of references here ... take a look.
by VAPCMD / April 16, 2008 9:32 AM PDT
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The maker and model numbers ...
by KentuckyBlue / April 16, 2008 11:57 AM PDT


I just saw your message and as soon as I finish this one I will turn off the computer and get those numbers. I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to do what you asked for; I didn't want you to think I either had not seen or was not going to reply to your message. I'll give you the info as soon as I can.

Thanks for your attention to my problem.


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Maker and model numbers of HDDs
by KentuckyBlue / April 16, 2008 12:43 PM PDT

Hi again VAPCMD:

They are, as someone pointed out, SATA drives.

Seagate is the manufacturer of both.

In addition to Seagate, each drive has an additional name. The old drive is a Barracuda 7200.7 The model number is ST310026AS. It probably doesn't matter, but the Serial Number is 3JT496T3.

The new HDD is Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 and the model number is ST3160812AS. The serial number is 5LSGFERA. I think I said at some point that it is 130 gig, but I think it is 160.

Thanks for your time:

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Generally speaking for SATA precedence
by VAPCMD / April 16, 2008 7:32 PM PDT

is based on what SATA port the drive is connected to on the MB and second...any options in the system BIOS regarding boot priority. Primary Master would boot before Primary Slave, Secondary Master, Secondary Slave ...your system manual should indicate which SATA port is Primary, Secondary and so forth.

Let us know.


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What's a port?
by KentuckyBlue / April 17, 2008 4:41 AM PDT

At the risk of sounding dumber than I am, what's a port?

When I bought the second HDD from Dell, I attached it to the MB with the medium blue colored cord in the only place left to connect it and attached it to the HDD with the other end of the cord that has a black connector.

When I began trying to switch the new drive to make it the primary drive, I attached the cord that had gone to the old drive to the new one and vice versa.

That didn't work and I've tried so many combinations connecting the power and SATA cords that I don't recall which is which. Nevertheless, the only way I can get the computer to boot from the new drive is to disconnect the old drive, removing both the power and SATA connection from it.

So I don't know which is which. Now that I think about it, I haven't switched the connections to the MB. I'm going to try that as soon as I finish this posting.

Thanks for your time,


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It worked!!!!
by KentuckyBlue / April 17, 2008 5:56 AM PDT


Switching the connectors on the motherboard did the trick. Now if I could figure out how to get online from there, I'd be OK.

For now, I'm going to try to install new memory and see if I can get that right. Of all the parts of a computer that I hate to replace, besides swapping out the MB, it's the memory cards.

Again, thanks for your time and help,

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Thanks for the feedback ...always nice to hear that it works
by VAPCMD / April 17, 2008 10:13 AM PDT
In reply to: It worked!!!!

Dell usually has good docs for hardware upgrades and you can get RAM from other sources ...i.e.


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