Windows Legacy OS forum

General discussion

Primary, Secondary, Master, Slave

by rlb2250 / January 30, 2006 8:04 AM PST

Are there any practical considerations when determining hard drive placement (Master, slave, primary, secondary) in a multiple hard drive setup?

I have three drives, each bootable with Win Xp.
One I use strictly as a internet surfer and download drive so that I worry less about inheriting some vicious little virus on my other drives.

The second drive is mostly for storage and for a program I use in business but for which I can no longer get an installation disk.

My last drive, my main drive, is the one I use for everything else.

Awhile ago, maybe it was in the days of Window 98, I thought you couldn?t boot from the primary slave or secondary master and that these drives had to be used strictly for storage or physically moved to the primary master position to boot.

I know that?s no longer true but are there other issues to watch out for? Are there operational reasons one should consider when deciding where a drive should be placed in the chain?

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A Few
by joe_smith / January 30, 2006 10:08 AM PST

IDE operates in such a way that the primary drive sets the maximum speed for the entire controller. So if you have an ATA/33 as master and an ATA/133 as slave, the slave drive will operate at the same speed as the master. If you reversed things, they both would run at their maximum potential speeds.

Other than that, you might want to know that if you can "see" the other drives from any one of your installations, it's possible for something to find its way in from one of your other setups.

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Thanks, Joe
by rlb2250 / January 30, 2006 11:00 AM PST
In reply to: A Few

Now I'll have to check all the specs on my drives. I know I have an ATA/100 drive but not whether I have any ATA/133's.

If so, I'll set the fastest drive as primary master.

Regarding viruses, I tended to think they were more apt to attack the active drive, not one of the secondary drives. I thought this was especially the case when you have malware that causes pop ups, performance slow downs and other OS specific issues.

I'll probably be more ambitious now in my virus scanning, making sure to look at all drives, rather than focusing on the boot drive.

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