PATA/IDE Hard Drive Replacement

Equipment needed/recommended:

  1.  Phillips screwdriver.
  2.  Anti-static wrist strap (not necessary, but recommended).
  3.  Replacement hard disk drive.
  4.  Operating system cd.

The master drive is usually the main drive that has your operating system installed on it and the slave drives are usually used for storing downloads, as well as other operating systems for if you have a multi-boot configuration (for example: Windows and Linux).

In order to replace your hard disk drive, you will first have to unplug your machine, then determine the type of hard disk drive that is currently in it. It could be a SCSI (Small Computer System Interface), PATA (Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment), or SATA (Serial ATA) drive. SATA, PATA, and SCSI are interfaces. SATA is the new standard and it is the successor of PATA.

You need to remove the side of your computer chassis so that you can access the parts. There should be clips or screws at the back of your machine which hold the side of the chassis in place, please unclip or unscrew them and then open the chassis slowly and carefully.

If it feels as if there is anything preventing you from opening the chassis, don’t try to force it open. Shine a light inside it and try to determine what it is, and deal with it so that you can open the chassis. Once you have opened the chassis, please discharge static electricity from your hands by placing them on the bare metal part of the chassis, then release them and locate your hard disk drive. Your hard disk drive is most likely located in a drive bay at the front of your chassis, and it should be situated below your optical drive(s) (DVD. Blu-ray, etc).

PATA Drive Replacement:
Your current hard drive may resemble this:

Labeled photograph of a PATA hard drive:

PATA Hard Disk Drive
Disk drive power connector:

Disk drive power plug
After locating your hard disk drive, please unscrew the screws or unclip the clips which are holding it in place by squeezing them, please handle your hard disk drive gently, as it is delicate. Grip the plug of the PATA cable and carefully unplug it (do not pull the cable), do the same with the power plug.

You may need to configure the jumpers on your replacement hard disk drive so that they are at the same setting as the old drive’s jumpers. The drive most likely has jumper configuration instructions on top of it or on its side, if not, do not configure the jumpers. Simply plug the PATA and power plug which you plugged out of the old drive into the new drive.

If your old hard drive had clips on it, you may need to unscrew them and screw them onto the new drive, then slide it into the bay. Close the chassis and turn your computer on. Once your computer starts, launch your file browser to see if your new hard drive was installed and is working properly (only if you replaced a slave drive).

If you replaced the master drive, then you need to reinstall your operating system. Enter your operating system disk and start your computer, boot from the disk and follow the instructions provided.

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