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Installing IDE drive without formatting?

By zakhiel ยท 4 replies
Jul 18, 2007
  1. Hello,

    Total newb here. I've got a 145gb hard drive here that I want to install into my Dell Dimension 9100. It was inside a Western Digital external hard drive/media center setup, but I took it out because the power cord is damanged, and wanted to install it into my computer instead. My main HDD on the system is SATA, and this one is of course IDE. I only have ONE IDE port/connector(whatever) on my motherboard, and it is currently housing my CD-RW and my DVD-RW. I would be okay with removing the CD-RW so I can put the IDE drive in. I was wondering if someone could give me *****-proof instructions on what to do.

    Should I set the IDE HD as master and my DVD-RW as slave? Or would it matter? Can I install this drive into my system WITHOUT formatting it? Because the power cord does not seem to work, so I cannot transfer my data from it to my SATA drive. I cannot format this drive, it has very important files on it that I cannot afford to lose. I've Googled quite a few sites and they all end up with you installing a blank IDE drive, and formatting it, but mine is not blank. Any help that could be offered would be grand.
  2. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 914


    Are you saying you can no longer power the drive up?

    If that is the case, you're a bit beyond formatting, because the drive is dead.

    Ideally, you should make that drive the primary master and make the optical drive the primary slave, then ensure your system is still booting from your SATA disk. You will not need to format at all; Windows will detect the new drive and assign it a letter.

    However, none of that matters if the drive is dead.
  3. zakhiel

    zakhiel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The drive is fine, the power cord that plugs into the external housing unit that the HD was originally encased in is damaged, so I cannot power it up to extract the files from it. While I could just order a new power cord, I'd rather just take the HD out of the external casing and put it inside my PC to free up space on my desk, as well as a USB port that the external HD will no longer take up.

    I will do as you suggested and make the HD the master/DVD the slave... Thanks. I just didn't know if Windows would automatically install it and see it in My Computer and all that or whether I'd have to do more steps.
  4. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 914

    You should be just fine

    Keep in mind that your system may try to boot from IDE by default, so check the first. Other than that you should be good to go.

    Good luck
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,518   +3,702


    "Formatting" would wipe out every bit of data on the drive in question!

    Get that idea out of your head.

    As long as the Dell's SATA HDD is set in BIOS as the ONLY boot drive, the slave/master relationship of the IDE channel shouldn't matter. However if it's in the master position data transfer should be quite a bit faster. If you can't remove the IDE channel from the boot sequence then the IDE drive must be the slave.
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