Dead Hard Drive - help needed!

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View
The hard drive on my Gateway PC has packed up.  It`s a Quantum Fireball
IDE 13.6Gb CX 13.6AT.  I don`t want anything particularly exotic so is
it possible to replace it with any make of drive of similar spec.?
Some of the drives I`ve seen advertised show pictures of the actual
drive mechanism whereas this one is totally enclosed - does it need to
be dismantled further?  Ideally I`d like to be able to just re-connect
the two you may have guessed I haven`t changed a hard
drive before!

Re: Dead Hard Drive - help needed!

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Hi John, relative newbie here posting my newbie experience.
I replaced a hard drive for the first time a few months ago
(also on an old Gateway--at least, from the size of the
drive above, I'm betting yours is old). The main spec here
is "IDE." Otherwise, from my reading, the priority should be
to buy from a reputable hard drive manufacturer. Western
Digital and Seagate are two names that come up often and
have for years. They don't generally cost more than other

Rebates abound! Circuit City often has some great deals.
It's worth checking its site and especially Sunday ads. I
paid a net of  $40 for a 100 Gigabyte Seagate hard drive
that otherwise retailed $90. (Had to wait six weeks for the
$50 of rebates, but they came through on time and are easy
to track.) You can also buy online, but so far for computer
parts, I have never been wild about the inconvenience of
shipping, especially when returns are sometimes possible.

Software installation is generally straightforward. A CD
will usually come with the drive to assist.

My Gateway's original hard drive was also a Seagate.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

No, those shots are cutaway shots used for advertising.
They're totally enclosed.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Yes, that's the major step: Two leads.

The hard drive is ordinarily, structurally fixed in place by
a few ordinary screws. My old Gateway case is the smallest
made ("MicroATX" is its designator), so it was just a little
tricky figuring out how to get into the case and get at the
hard drive. That is probably what will take the most time,
though it sounds like you've already found your way into the

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Little aside that might be helpful: I thought some problems
I was having with my old Gateway were due to the old hard
drive. Now I think it was the power supply, mobo
connections, and Win ME instabilities. I recently asssembled
a new computer myself (with mega-help from this newsgroup's
patient regulars) While getting it up and running, I called
on my old computer a lot. I was juggling hard drives
right-and-left to troubleshoot various minor problems. Now I
use the old hard drive to backup files from the new one. Not
sure what you use, but this method of backing up is super
fast. (The pros are no doubt saying, "Doh.")  :-)

Re: Dead Hard Drive - help needed!

Hi Elle

Hard drives are pretty standard components. You can choose from Western
Digital and Seagate. I would personally go for something around 40GB to
80GB so you can handle modern applications.

However, is your old Gateway PC up to speed? Not much point upgrading
the hard drive if your CPU and motherboard is still chugging on the old
train track :(

Best Regards,
Gary Hendricks

Find hundreds of FREE tips on building computers.
Subscribe to my newsletter, The Computer Builder:

Re: Dead Hard Drive - help needed!

Gary, please see the second sentence of my previous post.

Also, a month ago with help from here I assembled my own
computer: New mobo/CPU, case, power supply, RAM, and Windows

Re: Dead Hard Drive - help needed!

On 2 Mar 2006 08:35:37 -0800, "JohnI"

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Considering the probable age of the system (from the drive
size), your system might have a 128GB HDD capacity limit.
You could research this, considering the operating system
and the bios support for the motherboard, including possibly
updating the motherboard bios.

There might not be a bios available to support 48bit LBA,
drives over (using drive manufacturer's rounded numbers)
120GB, but your system might even have a lower capacity
limit.  Even so, drives now have 120GB/platter density or
higher so for best performance a modern drive would be
selected and even if you couldn't use the entire capacity,
you'd still get a good value.

So that is essentially what I suggest, buy a low-cost (check
for sales or rebates in the local newspapers) 120GB drive
and then if the entire capacity isn't supported-

- check on a bios update for the motherboard
- consider getting a PCI ATA133 controller card
- use the drive overlay software that comes with the retail
- use the drive capacity limiting jumper (see drive
instruction manual)

It would not make a lot of sense to try and buy a now
several years old 13GB HDD.  Even if brand new, it's been
shelf-rotting for several years and that can't help
reliability in addition to it being lower performance and
likely not much if any cheaper unless you happened upon one
at a surplus 'site somewhere, but I'd be weary of any old
surplus hard drive.

Site Timeline