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- Installing SATA Hard Drives Help
December 13, 2005, 11:10 am
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I could do with a bit of advice, this is my first build, I have got most of
the computer, just need the Ram and I will be ready, I have a good grasp of
building the Computer, jumpers setting et cetra. The only thing I am a
confused about is the installing of SATA hard drives. I have an Epox 9NDA3J
Mobo, and Western Digital Caviar SE 320Mb Sata drive. I have read info on
how to install them but it only confuses me more. Can some one tell me how
to install the Sata drive, because it will not have any operating system
installed(going to install WinXp when I have the drives setup) step by step
if you could, how do I partition them (what size partitions Win Xp) and
format them? I have only had a
go on already built Computers, for instance how do I format them, do I do it
using DOS, what software do I need to do it. Hey your help is really
appreciated, sorry for the basic questions, but I got to start somewhere,
Re: Installing SATA Hard Drives Help
Some details are a matter of personal preference, and/or
whether your specific needs warrant something different than
a generic answer would detail (like size or # of
- Put parts out in front of you, drive still in packaging
and either use an anti-ESD wrist strap or regularly touch a
grounded object. Depending on your environment, ESD can be
more or less of a threat to parts. Unplug AC from power
supply, or ideally, switch it off by a surge strip or switch
on back of PSU.
- Having discharged yourself, take a look at the case,
determine how the drive bay is accessed- some have removable
cage from inside the chassis, others have removable front
bezel, whole cage slides out, others have drive rails that
slide in from the front and more generic cases require
swiveling the case around to screw the drive in from both
- Unpack from from anti-static packaging and mount in
chassis. No jumpers for master/slave on SATA, just plug in
the cables for data and power and route them out of the way,
securing them well if there's any chance of them straying
into fans or other hazzards.
- Turn on system and note whether drive is detected.
Naturally at this step you have to have the system othewise
working, already. This means having the memory installed,
having double-checked fans and heatsink mounting, etc. It
also means running memtest86+ (Google for it) for a few
hours to test memory stability before installing the
- If drive isn't detected, check bios settings. If your
SATA controller has it's own (sub-)bios then you may need
press a key to enter that menu after the primary bios module
is finished. After drive is detected, check that system is
set to boot from Optical/CDROM drive in bios.
- Insert Windows Disc while system is still on from prior
step, drive tray's not going to open (normally) when system
is off. Reset or power cycle system and it should boot to
the CD, display messages like "inspecting hardware" then
"Windows Setup" with a blue colored screen. It'll then load
files from CDROM for awhile, eventually you'll press <ENTER>
to set up XP, install it.
- The menus guide you through where to put windows and
prepare the HDD. You do not have to partition or format it
in DOS if the default partition choices are acceptible...
In other words, if you want a FAT32 (rather than NTFS)
partition over 32GB, you will have to do that ahead of time
in DOS, for example using a Win98 startup disc (Google will
find this or suitable alternative DOS boot disc with FDISK
So after you've chosen to install and you're sitting at the
menu looking at the hard drive as the destination you can
either A) Set up ... on selected item, -OR- B) Create
Partition. You'll want this "B" choice if you want your
windows parititon to take up less than the entire drive.
With today's modern drives of several dozen GB, it is a fair
idea to not use the whole drive, though your needs determine
the max size.
- For example suppose you want a 16GB partition for WinXP.
After choosing "B" above you'd simply type (1024 * 16
=16384), "16384" into the proceeding installation screen
where it reads "Create partition of size (in MB):" So by
the example, you've now created a 16GB Partition which is
listed as raw (because it's not formated yet), and you
select it as the place to install windows proceeding to the
- The next options are formatting to NTFS or FAT (actually
FAT32). IF you have no reason to choose FAT, most people
will prefer NTFS for various valid and some questionable
reasons, but regardless, that is the standard choice you
should make unless you have a reason to choose otherwise.
At this point you can quick format, but it's probably as
well to full format as it also checks the disc.
- Immediately after choosing the format and it has done so,
it automatically proceeds to install windows on that
partition- there are no other choices remaining except those
specific to how windows options are set up.
- After all the file copying the system will reboot to a
more GUI-like installation process where is displays
features and little green dots showing the installation
If your SATA controller will need a driver for windows, best
to have that ready on a floppy as during windows installing
it will prompt at the bottom of the screen, something like
"Press F6 for SCSI driver" which for the purposes of
windows, means not only SCSI but any other controller that
the system might be booting from that needs one).
Note that your question was fairly basic, a Google search
would've probably been the best first course of action as it
would've turned up several hits, including a page or two on
MS' website like this one,
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