Computer Newbies forum

General discussion

Old Hard Drive

Hi there,

First off, I'm totally new to this whole computer thing, so simple language would be very much appreciated.

I have an old hard computer (about 5 years old, but hasn't been in use for 2 of those years) that used to run Windows 98. The computer still works, but I bought a new computer running Windows XP Home about 2 years ago. There is no information on the old computer that I need/want, but I would like to use it as extra space to store movies/music/photos/etc.

Is there a way that I can simply wipe the old hard drive and easily connect it to my current computer for extra data storage space? I read something about a 'slave drive' in another post, but have no idea what this means and if it would apply. My current computer has both a C: and a D: drive already.

If you need any more information about either computer, let me know. Thanks for the help!


Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Old Hard Drive
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Old Hard Drive
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
It is rather easy to do.

In reply to: Old Hard Drive

If the old system still works with Win 98 and you wnt to first format the drive to basically clean off everything that is presently on it, let us know.

Also let us know what the new computer is. The only real question is whether you have an unused IDE port available to connect the old drive to. Except for the ribbon cable to the floppy drive, the rimbbon cables each can have two drives connected to them. Most systems had two IDE ports [two ribbon cables], thus with two drives per cable a total of four IDE drives [hard drives or CD drives.

Let us know the make of the old drive.

The normal system has a Primary and a Secondary IDE controller [connectors on the motherboard [mobo]. Each of those can have a Master drive and a Slave drive connected to it.

On the drives themselves there a small jumpers that get plugged in depending whether the drive will be a Master or a Slave.

Thus on the old drive you must also set the jumper properly for the new system. Most likely your new computer using CS [Cable Select} jumpering. When you remove the old drive, check to see if it allows for Cable Select jumering [usually CS or CSel.

Feed the info back and then things can be made more step by step.

Collapse -
Re: Easy

In reply to: It is rather easy to do.

I hope you're right about the 'easy' this point I'm not so sure. The old system still worked with Windows 98 last time I checked...although it was kind of touch and go sometimes. I do want to clean everything off of it, even if it can't be used with the new system, so info on how to do that would be appreciated.

The 'new' computer (as mentioned, it is about 2 years old) is a Sony VAIO, model PCV-RX730. The problem I can see is that I have C and D drives, a DVD-ROM, and a CD-RW drive that came with the system. If as you say you can connect 4 drives, I think I may already be at the max.

The old HD is a Seagate, model ST315323A.

Now, someone mentioned a 40 pin vs 27 pin system. Mine would appear to be a 40 pin.

As for some of the other poster's questions/points:

1. Space isn't really a concern (although I am just over half full on a 40 GB HD due to a variety of software and files that I use for school/job/etc. More space would be nice. The other problem is the whole security thing. Just don't want to give away a HD that might have data on it...especially if I can use it or at least clean it first.
2. Thanks for the warning about static and grounding!

Let me know if any other info would help.


Collapse -
Are you sure that the D drive is actually

In reply to: Re: Easy

a second hard drive??? It may simply be a partition created by Sony for their proprietary data and the Operating System, drivers etc.

Windows treats a partiton [when creating them they are called "logical Drives". Makes a lot of sense doesn't it?] as if it were a totally separate hard drive.

First, do you have the recovery CD from Sony??? Many proprietary systems no longer provide one, but on their website they explain how to burn that partition to a CD. Do this before doing anything else.

Best way to see if you have one or two drives is to take the cover off and look. If one of the IDE ribbon cables has an unused connector on it, then you have space for another hard drive.

Probably uses a 80 wire [40 in connector] and cable select jumpering. If the unused one is on the Primary IDE port the old drive will be the slave and must be connected to the middle connector of the ribbon. Sometimes this can make it very difficult to mount and have the two connectors reach both drives.

Before mounting the old drive, you can simply hook it to the ribbon cable and one of the molex four pin power connectors protected by cardboard. A hard drive can run in any physical orientation, including upside down.

While you ponder this, I'll go to the Sony site to see what I can learn about your system.

Collapse -
The Seagate is a 15 GB drive, ATA66,

In reply to: Re: Easy

thus it uses the 80 wire/40 pin cable.

Definitely jumper it as cable select. It's Master/Slave jumpering can be confusing.

Collapse -
Yes this can be done.

In reply to: Old Hard Drive

I'm sure that Ray H and others can guide.

Just a question.
Recent machines come with very large hd's which for most users would be more than enough.

Are you having a space issue?

Collapse -
Installing HDD

In reply to: Yes this can be done.

There are reasons other than a need for more space for having two, or even three (my newest), drives in a system; and using a decent old drive for something other than a doorstop makes sense to me.

Ray gave a brief rundown on controllers and jumper configurations. I would add this with respect to Cable Select: This can only be used with 80-wire, 40-pin cables, compatible controllers, and compatible drives. As Ray says, your new system probably has all this.

You now have two drives; the C drive is your (main) hard drive, and I imagine you have a CD/DVD drive which is the D drive. The hard drive probably is the master on the primary controller and the D drive is probably the master on the secondary controller. It is possible, however, that the D drive is the slave on the primary controller.

To install the drive in your new computer, check the jumper settings for the existing drives and decide what how you want the jumpers configured for the ?new? drive. (If this drive does not have a Cable Select option, then neither drive on that controller can use Cable Select, but must use Master/Slave.) Set the jumpers, install the drive, connect the cables, and power up. The BIOS should recognize the added drive.

IMPORTANT: For safety, unplug the computer before working on it and keep yourself at the same potential as the computer by keeping in physical contact with the case (A grounding wrist band is ideal).

The general procedure is the same for all (desktop) systems and modern drives, including your 5 year old one. This site is one of several that provide detailed, illustrated instructions:

You can Google install hard drive to find others if you wish.

Hope this helps


Collapse -
Just a minor input. There were 40 wire riboon

In reply to: Installing HDD

cables that supported CS well before the 80 conductor cables came out. I have a few.

They had no special marking or color coding, so no way to know. Most mfrs just slipped them into the pipeline and when the old stock ran out you got the new.

CS is very simple for the cable, Pin 27 is connected on the Master connector and not on the Slave. It is the mobo that must make use of it. [as well as the drive]

Collapse -
Is your new computer a Laptop???

In reply to: Old Hard Drive

I can't find anything about a desktop with that number at the Sony site [which when compared to HP's and Dell's is terrible].

Collapse -
A google search re your computer

In reply to: Old Hard Drive

shows a desktop. A search in Sony's site acts as if it never existed. They don't seem to have a section for archived models. Yours is a 2002 model.

Google article say it has a 40 GB hard drive. Now if you didn't pay extra to get a second hard drive you should at least have an open port for another drive.

Collapse -

In reply to: A google search re your computer

Thank you for all your help Ray, the HD is in the new computer and working perfectly. Couldn't have done it without you.

As you suspected, the 'second' hard drive was just a partition, so no problems there.

I do have a question though...what does the 'cable select' designation mean and what's the difference between that and a slave drive? I figure I might as well learn about this stuff while I'm doing it!

Oh, and I was able to find my computer on the Sony Canada site...possibly it was only a model available in Canada hence your problem finding it on the Sony USA site (assuming that's the site you searched).

Thanks again!


Collapse -
Re Cable Select

In reply to: Done!

First, most people think that the IDE port controller is on the mobo. The drive controllers are actually on the drive themselves. IDE means "Integrated Drive Electronics" which means that there is a circuit card on the drive itself. That controls what speed etc the port works at with the specific drive.

The Cable Select makes a drive Master or slave by having a connection to pin 27 on the connector at the end of the cable [which with CS is the Master], there is no connection to pin 27 on the middle connector, which, if used, is the Slave.

By checking pin 27 the mobo knows which drive it is talking to.

Remember that any drive can be a master or Slave drive depending on how it is jumpered, and that even with the 80 conductor cable [all of which are wired for CS] you can use use Master and slave jumpering and thus put the Slave on the end connector and the Master in the middle. [but should ALWAYS have a drive on the end connector]

When I looked up your Seagate drive, I noted that the Master/Slave jumpering could be confusing.

To me it would be physically nicer if the middle connector were the Master as far as installing drives and having the ribbon connectors readily fit.

The industry couldn't do that because of the nature of transmission line physics. Because of the high speed [rise and fall times] of the signals the end of the cable MUST have a drive connected to i,t [terminates the line] in order to prevent the signals from being relected from an unterminated end and the reflected waves affecting the normal wave, making the one/zero determination of the bits marginal or wrong. When drives went from 33MHz to 66 MHz, then 100 MHz and 133 MHz, the problem worsened and at 66 they went to the 80 wire cable to control crosstalk by adding 40 ground wires in the cable, appropriately located to approximate a ground plane.

The final solution is to give up on parallel cables and thus the Serial ATA bus and drives were born.

Collapse -
A matter of semantics?

In reply to: Re Cable Select

True, the electronics on the drive does control the drive; which platter is used, the head position, the sector, read/write speed, etc. ? it is, in fact, the drive controller. Some other functions still reside in electronics on the mobo ? the two IDE interfaces, to use the proper term. However, some mobo manuals and other sources commonly refer to these (incorrect as at may be) as IDE controllers, and this terminology is thus becoming somewhat common. This is similar to the common, but technically incorrect, use of ?font? to specify what should be called ?typeface;? but so long as the meaning is clear, I ignore some of the fine points of the terminology.

Interestingly, in your first post, you referred to the mobo circuitry as the IDE controllers.


Collapse -
Yep, because at the first post

In reply to: A matter of semantics?

riley was a beginniner. Subsequently he installed the drive and asked for a little additional information. At this time he had become an expert, and thus, as usual, I gave him much more than he asked for.

It really is enjoyable on some of the long threads watch as people transition from newbie to intermediate or more.

I see that you are a retired Scientist. EE myself retired at age 65 in 1993. You retired sooner calendar wise, but hopefully earlier agewise. LOL

Collapse -

In reply to: Old Hard Drive

One question...When you can buy a brand new 160 gig drive from TigerDirect for $49,,,why go to all the trouble of moving a very old and questionable h.d. ?

Collapse -
Re: Question

In reply to: Question

I guess I could argue the opposite...why spend $50 when you've got a HD that may work right in your house? 160 GB is likely more space than I'll ever need, so the extra that my old HD will provide may just do the trick!


Popular Forums

Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


This one tip will help you sleep better tonight

A few seconds are all you need to get a better night's rest.