Troubleshooting drive detection problems

Most of your desktop computers will probably be equipped with ATA drives. When you want to add new drives to these desktops, you may find that the computer cannot recognize the drive. There can be any number of reasons for this, and this tip, which is excerpted from InformIT,

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discusses many of them, and what to do about them. The original article on InformIT also discusses troubleshooting the same kinds of problems on other drives, such as SCSI and IEEE 1394.

Your computer can't prepare a new hard disk or use removable-media or optical disks until it recognizes the drive. Symptoms of a drive not being recognized can vary with the type of drive interface (ATA/IDE, USB, IEEE-1394, SCSI, parallel port).

The following are some typical symptoms:

  • Internal drives aren't displayed at startup on systems that display configuration information
  • SCSI BIOS on SCSI host adapter cards used with hard disks can't locate drive
  • ATA/IDE BIOS on ATA/IDE host adapter cards used with fast, large hard disks can't locate drive
  • Hard disk isn't displayed in drive preparation utilities like Computer Management (Windows XP/2000) or FDISK (Windows 9x/Me)
  • Proprietary disk-preparation or disk setup programs supplied with IEEE-1394, parallel port or USB drives can't locate drive

The table provides a quick-reference to the most common reasons drives aren't recognized by the system. InformIT offers detailed solutions on their Web site.

Cable TypeDrive Installed AsHow to JumperWhich Cable Connector to UseOriginal Jumper Drive As
80-wireSlaveCable SelectGray connector (middle of cable)Cable Select
Only drive on cableCable SelectBlack connector (end of cable)N/A
MasterCable SelectBlack connector (end of cable)Cable Select
Only drive on cableMaster or single drive (check drive manufacturer recommendation)EitherN/A

To read the entire article from which this tip comes, click over to InformIT. You don't have to register or donate a pound of flesh: Just go and get the good info.

This was first published in October 2003

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