Installing And Configuring IDE Devices


IDE or Integrated Drive Electronics is an old legacy technology thats been around for many years. IDE was one of the biggest busses that has been used on computer motherboards for a number of years now.

The IDE buss is quite different from the modern SATA bus you see today. There are a lot of differences and unless you have had some field experience with IDE your probably going to run into problems when diagnosing an IDE drive.

IDE is still used and seen in todays world or IT and technology, although most of them are phased out there are still some practical applications and uses for IDE.

I have installed my IDE drive but I can not see this in the BIOS

Install IDE Devices

This is a common problem and one which could have many factors. The first thing to do is to verify the connections, make sure both the IDE ribbon cable and power cable are connected securely and that the red line on the ribbon cable is closest to the power cable.

The red line is pin1 and it should always be nearest the power connector on the IDE device.

When troubleshooting any IDE devices its also good to remove any secondary devices on the channel, as they could be causing as issue if the drive has a fault or the jumper settings are incorrectly set.

Jumper Settings

Jumper Settings

All IDE devices have jumper settings and these will set the devices master or slave configuration on the system BIOS.

Even if you only have one device on a single IDE channel you need to configure this otherwise the system BIOS simply wont see the drive. There are typically 3 settings you an choose from, master, slave and cable select.

Master is used for primary devices such as system disks but it can be used for other things such as CD Roms. Ideally your system drive or primary device should be set as the primary.

The slave is referred to as the secondary device on the channel. Slave devices can be a secondary hard drive or CD ROM drive which is attached to the system. The slave drive can be used as the primary partition to boot from however if you choose this configuration you will need to change the boot order to reflect this, the system BIOS will often try and boot from the device on the primary master channel wither this be a CD ROM or a zip drive.

Cable Select

Cable Select

Cable select is an option for the novice users, This is handy if you don’t know what the other device is set to on the IDE channel or if you can’t get the drive out to adjust the pins you can use cable select.

The cable select puts the BIOS in charge of the drive ordering, however this will only work when both devices have cable selected option enabled. If both drives on a single IDE channel have this enabled then the BIOS will best select the master and slave drives.

If one drive is set as the master and the other one is set as cable select the the other drive will always be assigned the slave, as two masters will cancel each other out and stop both devices from working with the system.

Keeping Logical And Hard Drives Separate

Keeping Logical And Hard Drives Separate

A motherboard with 2 IDE ports on can support up to 4 devices, thats 2 on one channel. In theory you can mix and match any drive, wither this is a hard drive, CD Rom, ZIP or SCSI drive and they shouldn’t cause any problems but if you can its always good to keep them separate.

If you have 2 hard disks and 2 optical drives try and pair both devices on one cable, so your hard drives are on one IDE channel and optical drives on another. Mixing and matching them around wont harm your computer but it may cause performance issues and cause system crashes so its always best to stick to this configuration.

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