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PCstats Q & A - Jumper  troubles - PCstats.com PCstats Q & A - Jumper troubles
Mon, April 19 2004 | 10:23PM | PermaLink Feedback?

Like any computer hardware website, we get asked a lot of technical questions. We do our best to field most of them, either privately or through our excellent forum community. We thought we'd start sharing a few of the better questions and answers with you, starting today. Look for more of these in the next couple of days.

Q: I recently purchased a DVD-writer and a new 120GB Maxtor hard drive to upgrade my computer. I've removed hard drives and optical drives from computers before, so I was confident that I knew how to install them also. Apparently I didn't, since my computer now refuses to boot. I get the message 'press any key to restart' and that's all. My system is a newish Dell with a Pentium 4 chip. I attached the second hard drive to the same cable as my first, and I attached the DVD drive to the same cable as my CD-RW. I'm sure I re-plugged all the power cables in correctly. Any idea what the problem could be, or have I killed my system by trying to save the service charges? - Jeff

A: Hi Jeff. Unless you did the above operation with the power on, your system is probably fine. I'd imagine the problem is with the jumper settings on your new drives, especially since you didn't mention setting them. IDE cables can support two drives, but one of them must be the primary (master) device and one of them must be the secondary (slave) device. Every IDE drive has a set of jumpers at the back which set the device as the primary or secondary (master or slave) drive on its cable.

Since it sounds like your old hard drive and CD-RW were using different cables, they were likely both set as the primary device. New hard drives generally come set as primary devices by default, and so do many DVD-RW drives. Having a pair of drives set to primary on the same cable will cause only one or neither of them to work. When you plugged your new hard drive into the same cable as the old one, you likely caused just such a conflict. Since your system could no longer find your operating system drive, it refused to boot.

What you need to do is pull both new drives out and change the jumper settings (they will be illustrated on the top or bottom of the drive) to secondary (slave). Plug them back in and power up your system. I'm willing to bet that your problems will be gone.

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