(FAQ) Questiones and Answers

Questions:

  1. What is IDE/ATA?
  2. Why should I use an 80-wire/40-pin IDE cable? Won't the 40-wire IDE cable that I already have work with my new
    Ultra-ATA hard drive?
  3. Why does ScanDisk run every time the system boots up in Windows 95/98/ME?
  4. How can I improve EIDE drive performance in Windows?
  5. Why do I get a blank screen when I turn on my PC after physically installing a IDE hard drive?
  6. What is the definition of a BIOS Capacity Barrier?
  7. My ATA hard drive is not detected or recognized by the system BIOS.
  8. After connecting my new drive, my system hangs after counting the memory or during Auto-Detection. Why?
  9. Where can I find software drivers for my hard drive?
  10. What are system requirements for Ultra ATA/133, ATA/100, ATA/66?
  11. What is S.M.A.R.T. ?
  12. What is the Cylinder Limitation Jumper and when do I need to use it?
  13. I cannot enable the DMA checkbox in the Windows Device Manager.
  14. How to troubleshoot poor or slow ATA hard drive performance.
  15. What is MS-DOS Compatibility mode?
  16. What is the difference between PIO and UDMA transfers?
  17. Why is my drive using PIO mode instead of DMA in Windows XP?
  18. Can I purchase or obtain replacement parts such as circuit board for my hard drive and install it myself?
  19. Why does my hard drive report less capacity than indicated on the drive's label?
  20. Why is DOS or Windows not seeing the full capacity of the drive in FDISK ?
  21. FDISK does not report the correct size for an ATA hard drive larger than 64 GB.
  22. Scandisk error on ATA or IDE hard drives larger than 32 GB.
  23. All versions of Windows 95 do not support hard drives larger than 32GB.
  24. How can I tell what type of file system (FAT 16, FAT 32, NTFS) my drive is formatted in?
  25. What are the operating system partition limitations above 8.4 GB?
  26. Identifying and troubleshooting hard drive noise issues.
  27. The message, "Verifying DMI Pool Data" appears and the system hangs.
  28. How to locate and enable Ultra DMA drivers / transfers for Windows NT 4.0.
  29. After switching master / slave roles, the drives still will not work together... what else can be done?
  30. I installed my new drive on the secondary ATA port and it's not working, why?
  31. How do I know if I am using the right kind of cable for my Ultra-ATA 66/100/133 drive? Why must I use this type of cable?
  32. My hard drive does not spin or is not spinning. How do I troubleshoot hard drive spin problems?
  33. Electronic noise and how it can affect your system and its performance.
  34. Is Logical Block Addressing (LBA) BIOS support needed when using the Windows 95/98 or NT operating systems on drives greater than 528 MB?
  35. What is the difference between Normal, LBA or Large mode?
  36. What is Logical Block Addressing (LBA)?
  37. My drive supports LBA (Logical Block Addressing). How do I format the drive?
  38. Can the translation mode or parameters in the BIOS be changed?
  39. Are Ultra DMA drives backward compatible with older systems and Ultra-ATA PCI cards?
  40. Why is it that an Old IDE drive may not work with a New IDE drive?
  41. Is ATA-5 compatible with older IDE drives and IDE controller cards?
  42. Can IDE, EIDE or UDMA drives be used in Apple Computers?
  43. "Missing Operating System" and "No ROM BASIC" Error Messages.
  44. "NTLDR is Missing" error message, how do I fix it?
  45. What is the DOS partition limitation?
  46. What is Cable Select (CSEL)?
  47. What physical components are needed to install my hard drive into an Apple Macintosh?
  48. Why won't my new hard drive auto-detect through Windows Add New Hardware feature?
  49. My ATA hard drive had been working perfectly fine until recently. However, now it is no longer detected by the system's BIOS or the operating system during start-up. Why?
  50. Error writing to drive C: when starting Windows 98.
  51. Is there any way of obtaining Ultra DMA capability with a motherboard that does not have the necessary chipset?
  52. Will adding an Ultra-ATA PCI Adapter card increase disk performance?
  53. How do I reformat my ATA drive in Windows?
  54. Should hard drive manufacturers utility be used to prepare a drive added to an Apple System?
  55. My disk drive keeps spinning down. What should I do?
  56. Can a hard drive be transferred to another computer without losing data?
  57. What is an "Data Error Reading Drive X:" error?
  58. What is an "Error Loading Operating System" error?
  59. Reduced hard drive capacity reported after installing the operating sytem. Why?
  60. What is the cluster size differences between FAT 16 and FAT 32 partitions?
  61. I can't create a partition larger than 2 Gigabytes (2047 MB) under DOS or Windows 95A. Why?
  62. What is an "Invalid Drive Specification" error?
  63. After installing my new hard drive Windows 95/98 shows it as a removable drive. What happened?
  64. Why does Windows NT report that my drive has bad blocks during installation?
  65. Why is the hard disk drive NOT as fast as advertised?
  66. After installing a new disk drive, the drive letter assignment for my CD-ROM changed. It is no longer my D: drive, why?
  67. Why is the 20th hole plugged on the IDE (ATA) Ribbon Connector?
  68. Does Ultra DMA Provide Any Other Advantages?
  69. What is Ultra DMA?
  70. What is an "Bad or Missing Command Interpreter" error?
  71. Two hard disk drives will not function even after verifying jumper settings... what is wrong?
  72. The capacity of my ATA hard drive is limited to 95MB. Why?
  73. Does the DOS operating system have any partition limitations?
  74. What is Enhanced-IDE (EIDE) and Fast-ATA?
  75. What are the main features of EIDE?
  76. What is the difference between a Quick Media Scan and a Full Surface Scan?
  77. How Does Ultra DMA Compare With Ultra SCSI Controllers?
  78. What does the IDE (ATA) interface actually do?
  79. What is ATAPI?
  80. What is Ultra ATA/100?
  81. Why Ultra ATA/100 when Ultra ATA/66 is so new?
  82. How is Ultra ATA/100 different from Ultra ATA/33 or Ultra ATA/66?

Answers:

What is IDE/ATA? Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) is a generic term applied to any drive with an integrated (built-in) disk controller. The first drives with integrated controller were Hardcards. In the IDE architecture, the disk controller is integrated into the drive. This combination drive/controller assembly usually plugs into an interface on the motherboard or an interface card plugged into an empty bus slot. The ATA Specification is simply a set of rules or guidelines that an IDE drive should conform to.

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Why should I use an 80-wire/40-pin IDE cable? Won't the 40-wire IDE cable that I already have work with my new Ultra-ATA hard drive? Though a standard IDE cable can be used with most IDE hard drives, the recommendation of using an Ultra ATA 80-wire/40-pin cable is due for several reasons: -80-wire/40-pin cables offer improved data reliability and signal integrity by adding 40 more ground wires than standard 40-wire/40-pin IDE cables. The extra 40 strands in an 80-wire cable act as insulators between the 40 signaling strands to prevent and reduce crosstalk. -Using an 80-wire cable allows for the use of ATA/66, ATA/100 and ATA/133 modes with drives and systems that support these rates. If you have an ATA/133, ATA/100 or ATA/66 drive without the 80-wire cable, the drive will only run at 33MB/sec. -You can use an ATA/33 drive on the same cable as an ATA/66, ATA/100 or ATA/133 drive, and with a current controller that provides independent device timing, it will not affect the operation of an ATA/66, ATA/100 or ATA/133 drive. This is not possible with a standard 40-wire IDE cable.

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Why does ScanDisk run every time the system boots up in Windows 95/98/ME? ScanDisk may run on every boot, even after a proper shutdown, if the virtual cache is not cleared on the drive prior to the system powering off. Essentially, the data that still resides in the cache is lost as it has not yet been written to disk. This causes Windows to detect a problem and run ScanDisk to correct the situation. Microsoft has addressed this issue under Article #273017.

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How can I improve EIDE drive performance in Windows? Several things can be done to improve EIDE drive performance in Windows: Enable DMA for the operating system. Enabling DMA increases data transfer rates because it allows data to pass directly from the drive to system memory, eliminating the need for the CPU to process the data first.
Enable IDE Block Mode in the system BIOS. Block Mode allows multiple read and write commands to be grouped together so that a single interrupt can handle the entire group, increasing data transfer speeds. Make sure that only the hard drives are connected to the IDE cable or configured as master devices and NOT as slaves to CD-ROMs or other devices. The single or master drive should always be on the end of the IDE cable, farthest from the motherboard. If there are two drives on connected to a single IDE cable, the drive with higher ATA rate and RPM should be connected as a master drive to slower ATA or RPM drive. The IDE cable length should be no longer than 18 inches, with a maximum of 6 inches between connectors. Adding additional system RAM can improve drive performance as it reduces the system's reliance on drive space for virtual memory.

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Why do I get a blank screen when I turn on my PC after physically installing a IDE hard drive? If this occurs after connecting a drive, the IDE cable is likely connected incorrectly to the drive or the motherboard. Make sure that pin 1 on the cable is closest to the power connector on the drive and matches with pin 1 on the motherboard. If the cabling is correct, turn the system off, then disconnect the IDE cable from the motherboard. Turn on the system. If the monitor comes on, you may have a defective IDE cable and you should replace it. If the monitor does not come on, the problem is system-related and not caused by the drive. Possible causes include a faulty video adapter or monitor cable.

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What is the definition of a BIOS Capacity Barrier? The BIOS capacity barrier is the computer’s inability to recognize hard drive capacities larger than allowed by the hard-coded programming contained in your system BIOS. For example, your system BIOS might only be capable of understanding a hard drive capacity of up to 32 GB. If you then attempt to install and auto-detect a 40 GB hard drive, the system will freeze because the BIOS is not capable of understanding the capacity reported by the hard drive. In short, that particular BIOS cannot count past 32 GB. Description of Seven Major BIOS Limitations: Systems with BIOS dated prior to July 1994(504 MB Limitation). Typically these BIOS will have a 504 megabyte (1,024 cylinder) limitation. Prior to this date, most manufacturers' BIOS did not provide the Logical Block Address (LBA) feature needed for proper translation. Some BIOS had LBA mode in the setup, but the feature did not work properly. 2) Systems with BIOS dated after July of 1994 (2.048 GB Limitation). Typically, these BIOS provide support for hard drives with capacities larger than 504 megabytes. However, depending on the manufacturer's release date and version number, different limitations may be encountered. The major limitation that surfaces is the 4,093-4,096 cylinder limitation. This barrier is derived from the fact that some BIOS manufacturers implemented Logical Block Addressing (LBA) translation in their BIOS with a 4,093 - 4,096 cylinder limitation. System hangs would occur when the cylinder limitation threshold is exceeded. A system hang is defined when the operating system hangs during initial loading, either from floppy diskette or existing hard drives. If these symptoms of system hang occur or there are questions whether the system BIOS will support the drive, contact the system or motherboard manufacturer for assistance. 3) 4.2 GB Limitation. The maximum parameters at the 4.2 GB barrier are 8,190 cylinders, 16 heads and 63 sectors for a capacity of 4.2 GB. A system hang is defined when the operating system stops responding during initial loading, either from floppy diskette or existing hard drives. This can be caused by the BIOS reporting the number of heads to the operating system as 256 (100h). The register size DOS/Windows 95 uses for the head count has a capacity of two hex digits. This is equivalent to decimal values 255. If these symptoms of system hang occur or there are questions whether the system BIOS will support the drive, contact the system or motherboard manufacturer for assistance. 4) 8.4 GB limitation. The maximum parameters at the 8.4 GB barrier are 16,383 cylinders, 16 heads and 63 sectors for a capacity of 8.455 GB. To go beyond this boundary, a new extended INT 13 function is needed from the BIOS as a support feature for the drives. The BIOS listed below are all "CORE" BIOS that will support drives larger than 8.4 GB. Even though a BIOS is dated correctly or is the current version, it may not be able to support extended interrupt 13 because of modification done to the "CORE" of the BIOS from the motherboard manufacturer. 5) 32 GB limitation. This condition is caused by the Award BIOS inability to address hard drives greater than 32GB. Award has been made aware of this issue and has fixed their "core" BIOS as of 6/99. They are passing this information along to the motherboard manufacturers' that use their BIOS. Updates for the BIOS should be available soon from individual motherboard manufacturers' to correct this problem. The following are options to overcome the 32 GB BIOS capacity barriers: Please contact your motherboard manufacturer for a BIOS update. (Recommended) Purchase a PCI ATA controller card that will support the capacity of the drive. The two benefits of ATA controller cards are: (1)the ability to support large capacity drives and (2) the ability to support the faster transfer rates of the drive. Or install the Capacity limitation jumper. Please refer to hard drive installation instructions for location of this jumper. 64 GB Limitation. There is no 64GB BIOS Capacity Barrier. If you use FDISK to format a drive that is larger than 64 GB, FDISK will report the incorrect disk size. Please refer to disk drive manufacturer for a resolution. 137 GB Limitation.
Most systems BIOSes are limited to 137GB because it can only support 28-bit Logical Block Addressing (LBA).

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My ATA hard drive is not detected or recognized by the system BIOS. There are five main reasons why the system BIOS will not detect the presence of an ATA hard drive. They are: Faulty hard drive – It is recommended to run a drive diagnostic utility to determine if the drive is defective. Most of drive diagnostic utility can be downloaded from manufacturer web site. Faulty data cable – Try connecting the drive to the system with a different data cable. Remember to use the same type of data cable (standard or Ultra) that you are replacing. Furthermore, Ultra-ATA data cables (80-wire, 40-pin) typically have their connectors color-coded to help you identify proper drive placement. On these cables, the master drive is connected to the "black" connector, the slave is connected to the "gray" connector and the "blue" connector is connected directly either to the motherboard or Ultra-ATA adapter card. No power to drive or drive is not spinning up – If the drive is not receiving power or incorrect level of power (12V), it will not spin up. To check to see if this is the cause of the problem, try the followings: with the system turn off, open the computer case and remove the data cable from drive as this will stop any "power saving" commands from being sent to the drive. Turn on the system, check to see if the hard drive is spinning. If you touch the side of the drive, you should feel a slight vibration. If you do not hear of feel the drive spinning, you need to find out if the drive is getting power. Incorrect jumper settings on drive – If the Master/Slave jumper configuration is set incorrectly, the drive may not be detected by the system BIOS. Please refer to drive manual for proper jumper settings and further instructions. Capacity of hard drive is too large for the system BIOS to support – For older systems (pre-November 1998), the BIOS may not support drives that are larger than 32GB. If the ATA hard drive you are trying to install has a capacity larger than the BIOS can support, the drive may not be detected. To resolve this issue, contact your motherboard manufacturer for BIOS update or purchase an add-on Ultra-ATA PCI adapter card.

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After connecting my new drive, my system hangs after counting the memory or during Auto-Detection. Why? If your system hangs after installing the ATA hard drive - either before or after setting the system BIOS - this may be an indication that the BIOS has a capacity barrier or cylinder limitation and does not correctly support the hard drive's capacity. This could also be caused by a conflict with another device on the same cable as the new drive such as incorrect jumper settings.

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Where can I find software drivers for my hard drive? Hard drives do not require specific device drivers. However, separate software drivers are normally required for third party PCI cards or for a motherboard’s embedded hard disk interface. These are the components that manage the transfer of information between the operating system and the hard drive. If you are trying to obtain updated controller or motherboard device drivers, you will need to contact the respective motherboard, system, or controller manufacturer.

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What are system requirements for Ultra ATA/133, ATA/100, ATA/66? To utilize Ultra ATA technology (also referred to as Ultra DMA or Bus Mastering) your system must support all of the following elements:  Ultra ATA/33, Ultra ATA/66, Ultra ATA/100, or Ultra ATA/133 compatible chipset or host adapter. Ultra ATA/33, Ultra ATA/66, Ultra ATA/100 or Ultra ATA/133 capable system BIOS. Ultra ATA/33, Ultra ATA/66, Ultra ATA/100 or Ultra ATA/133 device drivers.
An Ultra-ATA compatible hard drive. An Ultra-ATA (80-wire, 40-pin) data cable.

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What is S.M.A.R.T. ? S.M.A.R.T. stands for Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology. It is a technology that enables a PC to in some cases predict the future failure of storage devices (like hard disk drives). This SMART technology is present in most of the hard drives, but by default is set to disable. For making use of the S.M.A.R.T. feature, you would require a software (or BIOS) that enables and monitors the S.M.A.R.T status of your hard drive, and an operating system that supports the S.M.A.R.T feature i.e. Windows 95 or higher. Some BIOS contain this software, otherwise EZ-SMART from StorageSoft is an example of a utility that can enable and monitor the SMART status of your drive too (only available for Windows 98 and Windows NT).

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What is the Cylinder Limitation Jumper and when do I need to use it? The Cylinder Limitation Jumper (CLJ) helps to eliminate hangs or lock-ups that may occur during startup when your system's BIOS is not capable of supporting a hard drive larger than 32 GB (the lock-up will typically occur during the hard drive auto-detection routine). The CLJ option can be used in conjunction with either the cable select, master, or slave options. You do not need to use the CLJ if your system's BIOS can recognize the hard drive's full capacity and no hang occurs during system startup.

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I cannot enable the DMA checkbox in the Windows Device Manager. Award BIOS’s dated prior to 10/28/98 may prevent Windows 95/98/ME and Windows NT from performing Ultra ATA (UDMA) transfers with a hard drive installed that is capable of supporting Ultra ATA/66, Ultra ATA/100, or Ultra ATA/133. This issue has been observed to only affect systems and motherboards with the following conditions: The system contains an Award BIOS dated prior to 10/28/98. The system contains a core logic chip set capable of only supporting up to UDMA mode 2 (Ultra ATA/33).
The system has a hard drive installed that supports Ultra ATA/66, Ultra ATA/100, or Ultra ATA/133 (UDMA mode 4, mode 5, or mode 6 respectively). The best resolution is to contact your system or motherboard manufacturer for a BIOS update that corrects this issue. If a BIOS update is not available or is not convenient, then the alternative is to temporarily disable the Ultra ATA/66 (UDMA mode 4) or Ultra ATA/100 (UDMA mode 5) capability of your hard drive until such time that a BIOS update is possible. Disabling either Ultra 66 or Ultra 100 on hard drives can be accomplished by the use of a special utility available from drive manufacturers. You will need to locate and download the corresponding utility for your particular hard drive from manufacturer web site. The same utility can also be used to restore the drive to its original factory Ultra ATA capability (66 or 100) at a later date if desired.

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How to troubleshoot poor or slow ATA hard drive performance. Poor or slow drive performance is usually caused by a system configuration factor and it is very rare that poor performance is directly related to the drive. In many cases, perceived poor drive performance is usually attributed to the results of a benchmark test. Benchmark results are very system dependent and the results can vary from system to system. To ensure that the system is configured for optimal performance, do the followings: 1) Download and run drive manufacturer’s Diagnostic utility to determine drive integrity. 2) Disable write verify. 3) Ensure DMA mode is enabled. Windows should automatically detect a DMA device and default to the speed of the hardware. However, there are times that Windows fails to enable DMA support. Check to ensure that DMA mode is enabled. 4) Check the BIOS settings. Make sure the drive is detected correctly in the BIOS. If your drive is ATA/UDMA 33 and above PIO mode should be disabled. You should have UDMA mode enabled if the setting is available. 5) Check that the drives are not in MS-DOS compatibility mode. If there is an exclamation mark next to "Disk Drives" or "IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers" in Windows Device Manager, it is very possible that the drive is running in MS-DOS compatibility mode. 6) Use an Ultra ATA cable if drive is an Ultra-ATA device. 7) Defragment the drive. As applications and files are saved and deleted they gradually cause your drive to fragment. The files become scattered all over the drive instead of being optimized in logical locations. By defragmenting the drive it will optimize the drive performance. 8) Remove other device on same cable. In some cases, the transfer rate will default to the slowest device on the ATA cable. For example, if you had a CD-ROM (ATA 33) and a hard drive (ATA 100) on the same cable, the sustained transfer rate may only be 33 MB/s because of the CD-ROM. If you have a device such as a DVD/CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, hard drive etc. on the same ATA cable try removing it so that the only device on the cable is your hard drive.

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What is MS-DOS Compatibility mode? This is not an operating system issue and it is not a hard disk drive error! MS-DOS Compatibility mode may be in use for any of the following reasons: An 'unsafe' device driver, memory-resident program, or virus hooked the system interrupt (INT21h or INT13h) chain before Windows loaded. The hard disk controller in your computer was not detected by Windows. The hard disk controller was removed from the current configuration in Device Manager. There is a resource conflict between the hard disk controller and another hardware device. The Windows protected-mode driver is missing or damaged. The Windows 32-bit protected-mode disk drivers detected an unsupportable configuration or incompatible hardware.

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What is the difference between PIO and UDMA transfers? There are two modes in which data can be transferred between an ATA hard disk drive and the computer system, PIO and DMA. Programmed Input/Output (PIO) mode is the slower of the two modes having the capability of transferring data at a maximum burst rate of 16.7 MBytes per second. PIO mode is also very CPU intensive has no built in error correction. Ultra DMA (UDMA), which is also referred to as Ultra ATA, incorporates a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) for error detection and correction. Single and Multiword DMA transfers do not support CRC. Single Word DMA is now considered obsolete and multiword DMA, the predecessor to Ultra DMA, was never widely implemented. See the following tables for associated transfer rates (burst rates).

PIO Modes

Mode Burst Speed
Mode 0 3.33MB/s
Mode 1 5.22MB
Mode 2 8.33MB
Mode 3 11.1MB/s
Mode 4 16.7MB/s

Single Word DMA
Mode Burst Speed
Mode 0 2.08MB/s
Mode 1 4.17MB/s
Mode 2 8.33MB/s

Multiword Word DMA
Mode Burst Speed
Mode 0 4.17MB/s
Mode 1 13.3MB/s
Mode 2 16.7MB/s

Ultra DMA
Mode Burst Speed
Mode 0 16.7MB/s
Mode 1 25MB/s
Mode 2 33MB/s
Mode 3 44MB/s
Mode 4 66MB/s
Mode 5 100MB/s
Mode 6 133MB/s

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Why is my drive using PIO mode instead of DMA in Windows XP? Windows XP will turn off DMA mode for a device after encountering certain errors during data transfer operations. If more that six DMA transfer timeouts occur, Windows will turn off DMA and use only PIO mode on that device. In this case, the user cannot turn on DMA for this device. The only option for the user who wants to enable DMA mode is to uninstall and reinstall the affected channel, "Primary IDE Channel" or "Secondary IDE Channel". Reboot the system and Windows XP will reinstall the driver for the channel. Windows XP downgrades the Ultra DMA transfer mode after receiving more than six CRC errors. Whenever possible, the operating system will step down one UDMA mode at a time (from UDMA mode 4 to UDMA mode 3, and so on). If the mini-IDE driver for the device does not support stepping down transfer modes, or if the device is running UDMA mode 0, Windows XP will step down to PIO mode after encountering six or more CRC errors. In this case, a system reboot should restore the original DMA mode settings. All CRC and timeout errors are logged in the system event log. These types of errors could be caused by improper mounting or improper cabling (for example, 40-pin instead of 80-pin cable). Or such errors could indicate imminent hardware failure, for example, in a hard drive or chipset.

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Can I purchase or obtain replacement parts such as circuit board for my hard drive and install it myself? Replacing PC board assemblies is not recommended due to the "tuned" nature of today's disk drives. Such replacements would void the drive warranty. The disk drive is considered a single unit and is not field repairable.

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Why does my hard drive report less capacity than indicated on the drive's label? Hard drive manufacturers market drives in terms of decimal (base 10) capacity. In decimal notation, one megabyte (MB) is equal to 1,000,000 bytes, and one Gigabyte (GB) is equal to 1,000,000,000 bytes. Programs such as FDISK, system BIOS, and Windows use the binary (base 2) numbering system. In the binary numbering system, one megabyte is equal to 1,048,576 bytes, and one gigabyte is equal to 1,073,741,824 bytes. Simply put, decimal and binary translates to the same amount of storage capacity. Lets say you wanted to measure the distance from point A to point B. The distance from A to B is one kilometer or .621 miles. It is the same distance, but it is reported differently due to the measurement. Capacity Calculation Formula: Decimal capacity / 1,048,576 = Binary MB capacity Example: A 40 GB hard drive is approximately 40,000,000,000 bytes (40 x 1,000,000,000). 40,000,000,000 / 1,048,576 = 38,162 megabytes In the table below are examples of approximate numbers that the drive may report. Decimal Binary MB Windows Output
20 GB 19,073 MB 18.6 GB
40 GB 38,610 MB 37.3 GB
60 GB 57,220 MB 55.8 GB
80 GB 76,293 MB 74.5 GB
120 GB 114,440 MB 111.7 GB
160 GB 152,587 MB 149 GB

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Why is DOS or Windows not seeing the full capacity of the drive in FDISK ? This is a sign that either the system BIOS is improperly configured, or the BIOS cannot support the full capacity of the hard drive. To obtain the full capacity of the hard drive, use the hard drive manufacturer’s utility to prepare the hard drive, upgrade the system BIOS and/or Motherboard, purchase/install an Enhanced IDE Interface (EIDE) card with an onboard BIOS that provides support for large capacity drives.

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FDISK does not report the correct size for an ATA hard drive larger than 64 GB. FDISK.EXE uses some 16-bit values internally to calculate the size of the drive. Some of these variables overflow when the drive size is larger than or equal to 64 GB. Microsoft ScanDisk also has limited support for high capacity hard drives too. A supported fix is available from Microsoft. This patch should be applied only to the system experiencing this problem. Download the software patch from Microsoft. # Q263044 'Fdisk Does Not Recognize Full Size of Hard Disks Larger than 64 GB'. This is an operating system limitation, not a hard drive issue.

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Scandisk error on ATA or IDE hard drives larger than 32 GB. If you use the protected-mode (graphical) version of ScanDisk to perform a thorough scan (which includes a surface scan) on an integrated device electronics (IDE) hard disk that is larger than 32 gigabytes (GB) in size, ScanDisk may report errors on every cluster after approximately cluster number 967,393. This problem may occur on computers that use a Phoenix BIOS and use the Phoenix BitShift translation algorithm to report the geometry of large IDE hard disks. On such computers, the Windows protected-mode IDE disk driver (Esdi_506.pdr) may not correctly recognize the translation mode for the drive, resulting in an inability to access areas of the drive beyond the first 32 GB. This problem does not occur if the BIOS uses logical block addressing (LBA) Assist translation instead of Phoenix BitShift translation. A supported fix is now available from Microsoft #Q243450, but it is only intended to correct the problem that is described in this article. Apply it only to computers that are experiencing this specific problem.

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All versions of Windows 95 do not support hard drives larger than 32GB.
Hard drives and other media larger than 32 GB in size were not available at the time Windows 95 and subsequent Windows 95 OEM Service Releases were developed. The changes required to support media larger than 32 GB in Windows 95 would require architectural changes that cannot be supported on these platforms. Microsoft Windows 98 does support IDE hard disks larger than 32 GB in size. Microsoft recommends that customers who want to use media larger than 32 GB in size upgrade to Microsoft Windows 98 or Microsoft Windows NT.

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How can I tell what type of file system (FAT 16, FAT 32, NTFS) my drive is formatted in? To identify what type of file system the drive is formatted in, do the followings: open either "My Computer" or the "Windows Explorer", right click on a drive letter. Click on the "Properties" option from the pull down menu. A window will appear with the type of file system you have. If you do not see any information regarding FAT 16, FAT 32, or NTFS in the window that means the drive is formatted in FAT 16. Note that partitions created with the FAT 16 file system have a size limitation of 2,048 MB (2.1 GB).

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What are the operating system partition limitations above 8.4 GB? DOS 6.22 or LESS: DOS 6.22 or less does not support drives greater than 8.4. There are no solutions at this time. Windows 95: Windows 95 version A (standard version) does support extended interrupt 13 so it can support drives with capacities greater than 8.4 GB. Because of the limitation of the FAT16 file system, a minimum of five partitions will need to be created on the hard drive. This is caused by the 2.048 GB partition limitation of a FAT 16 Operating System. Partition quantities will increase as the hard drive's capacity increases (e.g., an 11 GB hard drive will require a minimum of six partitions). Microsoft has identified that Windows 95 does not support drive capacities greater than 32 GB. They recommend that users either upgrade to Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0, Service Pack 4 (or newer). Also note that Windows 95 Upgrade is not considered a standard version. It requires that MS-DOS or Windows 3.1x be installed. This means that a Windows Upgrade will not support drive capacities greater than 8.4 GB. Windows 95B / OSR2, Windows 95C and Windows 98: Windows 95B (OSR2), Windows 95C and Windows 98 does support extended interrupt 13 which allows the operating system to support drives larger than 8.4 GB. These operating systems also support FAT 32. This file system lets the user create partitions larger than 2.048 GB. FAT 32 can only be used on hard drives whose capacity exceeds 512 megabytes. Microsoft has identified that Windows 95 does NOT support drive capacities greater than 32 GB. They recommend that users either upgrade to Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0, Service Pack 4 (or newer).  Windows 2000/XP: Windows 2000/Xp supports FAT 16, FAT 32 and NTFS file systems. As mentioned above, FAT 16 file system supports partition sizes up to 2.048 GB. FAT 32 file system supports up to two Terabytes and, according to Microsoft, two Terabytes should be considered the partition size limit for NTFS file systems. Windows NT 3.5: Windows NT 3.5 does not support drives greater than 8.4 GB. Windows NT 4.0: Windows NT 4.0 will support drive capacities greater than 8.4 GB provided: NT 4.0 Service Pack 3 is used along with the ATAPI.SYS file linked to in article #Q183654 on the Microsoft Website.  The system is upgraded to NT 4.0 Service Pack 4. NOTE: Reference Microsoft Article # Q197667 "Installing Windows NT Server on a Large IDE Hard Disk " for proper installation/upgrade procedures. OS/2 Warp 3 and 4: Some versions are limited to a boot partition size of 3.1 GB or 4.3 GB. This issue can be resolved by obtaining the latest Device Driver Pack from IBM.

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Identifying and troubleshooting hard drive noise issues. Hard drives will make noise during normal use. The level and type of noise may change depending on the function the drive is performing. Users must be able to distinguish normal noises from detrimental, abnormal noises. Normal sounds include whining noise during drive spin-up, regular clicking or tapping sounds during drive access, hard clicks when the drive heads park. Abnormal noises include high-pitched whining sound can be an indication of abnormal function, noises can be caused by mounting issues (this is due to either a high frequency vibration in the mounting hardware, or a potential drive failure), repeated regular tapping or grinding or beeping.

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The message, "Verifying DMI Pool Data" appears and the system hangs. The message, "Verifying DMI Pool Data" appears and the system hangs. The Desktop Management Interface (DMI) is a new method of managing computers in an enterprise. The main component of DMI is the Management Information Format Database, or MIFD (the DMI Pool Data). This database contains all the information about the computing system and its components. At times, some systems may experience hang conditions after partitioning, formatting and initial boot-up of a hard drive. The message, "Verifying DMI Pool Data" appears and the system hangs. This condition may continue after the drive has been removed. To resolve this condition, try the followings: - Apply power to the computer, access the system BIOS. Set the drive type as None or Not Installed. Load BIOS Defaults, then load SETUP Defaults. Save the BIOS changes and reboot the PC to a System Boot Diskette. Shut down the PC after the memory count is displayed. Reconnect the power and interface cables to the hard drive. Access the System BIOS. Auto-Detect the hard drive. Ensure that the LBA Mode option is enabled. Save the BIOS changes and boot the PC with a System Diskette. Partition and format the hard drive via the operating system. Reboot the system. On boot-up, the screen should read:  "Verifying DMI Pool Data Update Successful" At this point, the system should continue booting normally. Other possible solutions are remove the "Clear CMOS" jumper and reset the system BIOS and/or obtain a Flash BIOS Upgrade from motherboard manufacturer.

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How to locate and enable Ultra DMA drivers / transfers for Windows NT 4.0. Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 3 was the first service pack from Microsoft to contain the required updates to support Ultra DMA (Ultra ATA) transfers. However, Service Pack 5 is now recommended as the minimum. The DMACHECK.EXE utility located on the Service Pack CD will need to be installed in order to enable DMA transfers for the operating system. See your motherboard manufacturer or host controller manufacturer for the latest NT software drivers for your specific host or ATA chipset.

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After switching master / slave roles, the drives still will not work together... what else can be done?
At this point, it is recommended that the user separate the hard drives and connected them individually to the different interface ports of the system. If the system does not have a Secondary IDE interface, it is recommended that the user install an Ultra-ATA PCI Adapter. By doing this, each drive would then be able to individually communicate with the system. Ultra-ATA PCI cards benefits your system by adding support for large capacity drives and enhanced support for data transfer rates by Ultra ATA devices.

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I installed my new drive on the secondary ATA port and it's not working, why? Some dual port/dual channel ATA host adapters require the primary ATA address to be fully populated (both master and slave installed) before adding a device at the secondary address. This requires that you have both a primary master AND a primary slave attached at the primary address before adding a secondary master or slave. You will need to check your documentation to verify if your ATA host adapter has this limitation or not. If it does and you have only one hard drive at the primary address, add the new drive as the primary slave. Also, you will need to check the jumpers on both drives to make sure they are correct for the Master/Slave configuration you have chosen. If you have an ATA host adapter that allows two drives at the primary address and two drives at the secondary address, or you already have two drives at the primary address and the new drive at the secondary address is failing, first determine if the new hard drive is in good working order by testing it in the system by itself.

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How do I know if I am using the right kind of cable for my Ultra-ATA 66/100/133 drive? Why must I use this type of cable? The faster timing requirements of Ultra ATA/66 and above require the use of an 80-conductor cable. This is necessary for proper operation of UDMA modes 3 and greater. The 80-conductor cable is used with the same connector configuration as the standard 40-conductor cable. The 40 additional conductors are used as ground paths and are all connected to the 7 original ground conductors. These additional ground conductors serve to improve the overall signal quality (signal-to-noise ratio) of the ATA cable. 80-conductor Ultra ATA cables are also limited to a maximum cable length of 18 inches. Ultra ATA cables can be purchased from your system vendor or reseller and are fully backward compatible for operation on all standard/legacy ATA devices and hosts. However, these cables will typically utilize the cable select (CS) configuration on ATA drives for defining a master or slave device (drive 0 or drive 1). The drive placement convention used on an 80-conductor cable is also different from the previous generation of cable select type cables. The 80-conductor Ultra ATA cables require the master drive (drive 0) to be installed at the end of the cable and the slave drive (drive 1) to be installed on the middle connector. The connectors on 80-conductor cables are also color-coded to help insure proper drive placement and attachment to the host (system). Typical color-coding is as follows: blue for attachment to the host (system), black is for device 0 (master) and gray is for device 1 (slave).

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My hard drive does not spin or is not spinning. How do I troubleshoot hard drive spin problems? Hard drive spin problems are usually caused by installation errors, hardware failures, or power management activities. Verify drive is installed properly. Check jumper settings on all hard drives attached to the same interface cable. Ensure Master and Slave Jumper Settings are correct. Check for Energy Management or deferred spin up jumpers. Most SCSI and some IDE hard drives contain one or both options. Check power supply cable connections. Check interface (ribbon) cable connections. Check for Software that is enabling power management. Check for presence of Green or Power Management features. Disable Power Management in the BIOS/CMOS setup. If applicable, disable power management jumper settings on the hard drive. Windows 95 and Windows 98 can enable power management. This feature will need to be disabled. Perform Hard Drive Diagnostics with drive manufacturers utility. And lastly, try installing drive in another system. This will verify the problem is with the drive, not the system.

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Electronic noise and how it can affect your system and its performance. Due to the increased speed, size and quantity of devices in many PCs the system can be very vulnerable to electronic noise on the data lines. This may in fact be the cause of your particular problem. Symptoms of electronic noise can include the following: slow performance, drive not detected in BIOS, drive detected incorrectly in BIOS with nonsense (garbage) figures(e.g.$0&*?%2), drive shown on boot up with an engineering name instead of model number, error codes which you may receive when running our diagnostic utility which can indicate electronic noise problems can include E03, SY2, R03. In order to overcome problems with electronic noise, try the followings: make sure the PCI clock speed is not above 33Mhz (this would usually correspond to a 66Mhz Bus speed, or 100Mhz on newer BX chipsets). This is achieved by checking the jumpers on the motherboard. The information on the jumper settings should be explained in the motherboard documentation. Although a drive may function on a system with a PCI clock speed of 37.5 or 42.5 MHz, there should be a concern in regards to Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI). The likelihood of errors due to electro-magnetic interference increases the faster the hard drive is capable of transferring the data. By using a shielded IDE / ATA (40-pin, 80-conductor) cable will most certainly help improve your system's performance. The secure cable has grounding lines running between the signal lines, which ensure a clearer signal to all devices. You should also attach the master drive to the middle connector on the cable and not the end, so that there is as short a distance as possible between the drive and the motherboard. Another possible cause of electronic noise/interference is that on some systems the IDE cable is tucked slightly under the drive (presumably as a cable neatness measure). If the cable is re-routed slightly (no particular direction) from this position it should help but it is important to make sure that the cable does not come loose from the drives or motherboard when you move it. A power supply fluctuation within the system can also create the same type of symptoms. To try and identify a malfunctioning power connector, make sure the drive is installed alone on a power cable.

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Is Logical Block Addressing (LBA) BIOS support needed when using the Windows 95/98 or NT operating systems on drives greater than 528 MB? Windows 95/98 and NT need Logical Block Addressing (LBA) BIOS support to see the full capacity of the drive. If the motherboard BIOS does not support the LBA feature, contact the system/motherboard for available BIOS upgrades or purchase/install an Enhanced IDE Interface (EIDE) PCI card with an onboard BIOS that provides support for large capacity drives.

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What is the difference between Normal, LBA or Large mode? Normal mode is the standard BIOS translation scheme. This mode does not support drives greater than 504 MB. Large mode is a generic translation scheme used by some BIOS's to access drives up to 1 GB. Logical Block Addressing (LBA) mode is a more advanced method of translation than Large mode. LBA mode is a somewhat faster and can see drives up to 8 GB and greater.

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What is Logical Block Addressing (LBA)? LBA is a mathematical scheme for addressing sectors, beginning at cylinder 0, head 0 and sector 1, which is equal to LBA 1. This scheme linearly maps the drive until the final physical sector is reached. LBA is efficient because it reduces some system overhead by not having to convert the operating system's LBA to the BIOS CHS and then back to drive LBA.

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My drive supports LBA (Logical Block Addressing). How do I format the drive? If enhanced ATA disk drives are supported by the BIOS, all that needs to be done is to define the drive in CMOS and use the normal DOS tools in order to create a partition and format it - namely FDISK and FORMAT.

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Can the translation mode or parameters in the BIOS be changed? When a drive is partitioned, DOS interprets the size of the drive via information provided by the BIOS. Changing the translation can cause permanent data corruption. If original parameters are changed and can not be recovered, it is suggested the hard drive be re-partitioned and reformatted.

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Are Ultra DMA drives backward compatible with older systems and Ultra-ATA PCI cards? The short answer is yes, however there are issues to be aware of. Any EIDE drive can be used on an older system. The hard drives performance is reduced to the maximum capability of the system it is installed in. If a UDMA/66/100/133 drive is installed in a system with a maximum capability of UDMA/33 then the UDMA/66/100/133 drive is limited to UDMA/33. If a UDMA/66/100/133 or UDMA/33 drive is installed in a system with a maximum performance of PIO Mode 4 then the drives are limited to the system PIO Mode 4 performance. The older the system the more limited is its performance. In older systems where UDMA/66/100/133 performance cannot be achieved the use of the 80-wire, 40-pin IDE or ATA interface cable is not required. Drives that are attached to Ultra ATA PCI cards are also backwards compatible. For example, if the drive is UDMA/ATA 133 and the card is a Ultra ATA 100 PCI controller, the hard drive will revert to ATA 100 performance. A UDMA drive is configured the same regardless of the system it is installed in and will work with the standard IDE motherboard and interface card connections.

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Why is it that an Old IDE drive may not work with a New IDE drive? The reason is the fact that many hard drive manufacturers were already making and selling drives before the IDE standard was clearly defined. Older IDE drives have problems functioning in dual-drive configurations. This scenario is more prevalent when the hard disk drives are from different manufacturers; in some cases, two drives may not function together at all. However, in rare circumstances even new drives will not work together. To resolve this issue, separate the drives and have it on its own cable. Designate one drive as the Primary Master and the other as the Secondary Master. Try not to jumper the drives as Cable Select. Have the drive jumpered as a "Master" drive.

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Is ATA-5 compatible with older IDE drives and IDE controller cards? Older IDE peripherals will work with newer enhanced drives. However, ATA-5 peripherals will not be able to utilize their enhanced features. EIDE drives are backward compatible with non-EIDE (standard) controller cards. However, an EIDE card will only perform at the capabilities of the controller; hence the EIDE drive will perform like a standard IDE drive.

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Can IDE, EIDE or UDMA drives be used in Apple Computers? Yes, there are several Apple systems that support ATA/IDE/EIDE drives: Apple G4
Apple G3
iMac
Macintosh LC 580
Macintosh Performa 630
Macintosh LC 630
Macintosh Performa 6400
Macintosh Performa 6200
Macintosh Quadra 630
Macintosh Performa 5300
Power Macintosh 5200/75 LC
Macintosh Performa 6300
When formatting the IDE internal hard disk, be sure to use either Apple's Internal HD Format or Drive Setup programs. Apple's Drive Setup has replaced Internal HD Format, but you may be able to use Internal HD Format if your Apple computer included it originally. If Internal HD Format does not work, use Drive Setup instead. Drive Setup 1.0.2 is available on Apples' Online Services. It is also important that your OS version supports large capacity hard drives. Mac OS 8.1 (or newer) will support drive capacities greater than 8.4 GB. Reference your system documentation for further information.

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Missing Operating System" and "No ROM BASIC" Error Messages. Each of the error messages listed above may indicate problems ranging from improper hardware configuration to damaged hard disk partition information. The following steps can be used to help resolve the problem: - Start the computer using the Windows 95 emergency boot disk (EBD) or using a bootable MS-DOS disk that contains Fdisk.exe, Format.com, Sys.com, and Scandisk.exe (MS-DOS versions 6.2x only). If your computer does not start from drive A, or if you receive an error message similar to one listed above when you start from drive A, please contact the computer's manufacturer.  - Use Fdisk.exe to view the partitions on the hard disk by performing the following steps: a. Run Fdisk.exe from the EBD or bootable MS-DOS disk.  NOTE: If the hard disk was not partitioned using Fdisk.exe, use the appropriate third-party partitioning software to view the hard disk partition(s). For instructions on using the third-party partitioning software, please consult the software's documentation. b. Select option 4 (Display partition information).  c. If the partitions are listed, make sure that the bootable partition is defined as active (look for an uppercase A in the Status column.) d. If there are no partitions listed, use Fdisk.exe to establish new partitions and then use  Format.com to format the partition you want to boot from. WARNING: When you use Fdisk.exe or Format.com to create new partitions or format the drive, you lose any data on that drive or partition. e. If all the partitions appear in Fdisk.exe, and one is defined as active, proceed to the next step. - Run the SYS command on the hard disk from the EBD or bootable MS-DOS disk. For example, type the following command: "a:sys c:". If you receive the message "System Transferred," remove the disk from drive A and restart the computer. If you receive the same error message after you restart your computer, your hard disk may be configured improperly or damaged. If you do not receive the "System Transferred" message, or if you receive an error message, run ScanDisk from the EBD or bootable MS-DOS disk (MS-DOS version 6.20 or later) to check for physical damage on the hard disk by typing the following command: "a:scandisk c:". If you are prompted to perform a surface scan, choose Yes. If ScanDisk reports physical damage on the hard disk, have the hard disk checked by a qualified service professional.

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"NTLDR is Missing" error message, how do I fix it? The "NTLDR is Missing" error is not a hard drive issue but an operating system error occurring in Microsoft Windows NT, 2000, and XP. Microsoft has addressed this issue in the following articles: Q318728, Q314057 and Q255220.

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What is the DOS partition limitation? The DOS partition limitation is derived from the File Allocation Table (FAT). DOS uses the FAT to keep track of file addresses. The DOS FAT 16 is only capable of working with 32,768 bytes per cluster and no more than 65,536 clusters. If you multiply the two numbers together, you get the maximum partition size that DOS can use (2,147,483,648 bytes or 2048 MB {2,147,483,648 / 1024 2}).

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What is Cable Select (CSEL)? Cable Select (CSEL) is an optional feature per the ANSI ATA specification. It is an alternative method of identifying the difference between device 0 and device 1 on an IDE interface cable. Hard drives configured in a multiple drive system are identified by CSEL's value: if CSEL is grounded, then the drive address is 0. If CSEL is open, then the drive address is 1. Additionally, CSEL requires a specialized (and more expensive) 40-pin IDE interface cable, unlike the standard EIDE interface cable that is far more commonly used.

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What physical components are needed to install my hard drive into an Apple Macintosh?
This depends on the Mac System. Some newer Macs (e.g., the iMac) do not require any of the Kit Components whereas other system may require the IDE Interface Cable and/or the mounting brackets.

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Why won't my new hard drive auto-detect through Windows Add New Hardware feature? In general, Windows will rarely setup a newly installed hard drive via the Add New Hardware feature. It is best to use the FDISK and FORMAT utilities to prepare a drive that is supported by the BIOS or disk drive manufacturers utility if the BIOS does not support the drive.

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My ATA hard drive had been working perfectly fine until recently. However, now it is no longer detected by the system's BIOS or the operating system during start-up. Why?
There are several reasons why an ATA (IDE) hard drive will cease to be detected by the computer BIOS and/or the operating system. They are as follows: incorrectly attached or damaged data cable, incorrectly attached or damaged power supply / connection, dead CMOS battery, failed hard drive.

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Error writing to drive C: when starting Windows 98. This problem may be due to the way the BIOS is using the IRQ steering feature when communicating to the PCI bus. The best solution is to contact the PC system manufacturer to inquire about a BIOS update to address this specific issue.

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Is there any way of obtaining Ultra DMA capability with a motherboard that does not have the necessary chipset? The answer is yes. The purchase and installation of an UDMA EIDE Interface Card can achieve this. It allows maximization of the data transfer rate for your UDMA 100/66/33 devices—up to 100 MB/sec. It is also easy to install. The Ultra ATA/100 PCI Adapter Card will allow you to add up to four additional IDE devices to your system, such as CD-ROMs, tape back- ups, hard drives and other ATAPI devices.

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Will adding an Ultra-ATA PCI Adapter card increase disk performance? It really depends if the motherboard on the system supports the transfer rate of the hard drive. For example, if the motherboard on the system only supports ATA 66 and the hard drive is ATA 133 the drive will downgrade the transfer rate limiting the transfer rate to ATA 66. Adding an Ultra ATA 133 PCI Adapter card will increase the performance of the drive because the drive in not limited to ATA 66 and can now operate at a ATA 133 rate.

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How do I reformat my ATA drive in Windows? The quickest way to reformat a drive is to Double-Click on the "My Computer" icon. Right-click on the drive letter you want to format and select "format".

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Should hard drive manufacturers utility be used to prepare a drive added to an Apple System? The answer is no. Most hard drive manufacturers utility only works with FAT-Based Operating Systems on PC computers.

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My disk drive keeps spinning down. What should I do? In order to test your disk drive to determine if the either the spindle motor is failing or if a BIOS or operating system setting is causing the drive to spin down, try the followings: power off the system, remove the data (ribbon) cable from the disk drive, leaving only the power cable plugged in, and then turn on the system back on. If the drive still continues to spin down then the spindle motor is failing and you will need to have the disk drive replaced. If the drive does not continue to spin down, then either the BIOS or the operating system has the hard disk power-saving (standby) option enabled and is issuing a command to spin down the drive. You will need to disable this feature if you prefer to not have your drive spin down during periods of inactivity. In Windows 95/98 you can check to see if this feature is enabled by going to the Control Panel, selecting Power Management, and then view the Power Scheme setting for hard disks. Change this setting to "Never" to prevent your hard drive from spinning down. It is also possible for either a BIOS or a software application to cause this behavior, even though the power-saving (standby) options are disabled in the operating system. If this is the case, your motherboard or system or application manufacturer should be contacted to assist you.

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Can a hard drive be transferred to another computer without losing data? There is no guarantee that a new motherboard's BIOS will use the same translation scheme as its predecessor. Back-up data prior to system transaction is strongly recommended. It is also suggested that the hard drive be re-partitioned and reformatted once installed in the new system.

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What is an "Data Error Reading Drive X:" error? DOS was unable to read some of the data on the disk. When this error message appears: - Choose "Retry" two to three times before giving up.  - Quit the application in use.  - Type either CHKDSK or SCANDISK to see if either utility can locate/correct the problem.

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What is an "Error Loading Operating System" error? This is due to disk error occurred when DOS was loading from the hard disk, DOS does not start. Restart the computer. If the error occurs after several tries, clean boot the system with a system boot diskette. If the hard disk does not respond there may be a problem with the hard disk. If the hard disk does respond, type SYS.COM at the A: prompt. Increase to the number of FILES to 15 or 20 in the CONFIG.SYS file. Try another copy of the program. If this copy works, copy the functioning file to the affected media (e.g., hard drive or floppy diskette).

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Reduced hard drive capacity reported after installing the operating sytem. Why? All hard drives receive a low-level format at the manufacturing facility. This formatting creates the actual tracks and sectors on the disk drive. Logical formatting performed for an operating system, results in less capacity than the physical capacity shown. Hard drives are marketed and sold in terms of decimal (base 10) capacity. In decimal terms, one Megabyte (MB) is equal to one million bytes (1,000,000 Bytes), and one Gigabyte (GB) equal to one billion bytes (1,000,000,000 Bytes). Many operating systems use the binary (base 2)numbering system. Here, one Megabyte (MB) is equal to 1,048,576 Bytes, and one Gigabyte (GB) is equal to 1,073,741,824 Bytes. Microsoft's FDISK (DOS and Windows 95/98 Windows 2000, NT, Windows ME) program use the binary numbering system. When determining capacities in FDISK, one should multiply the Megabytes displayed by 1,048,576, in order to determine the Decimal Bytes which FDISK is representing. Here is an Example:
FDISK displays 8678 Megabytes -  Multiply 8678 by 1,048,576 to get 9,099,542,528 Bytes or approximately 9.1GB in decimal terms.

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What is the cluster size differences between FAT 16 and FAT 32 partitions?

FAT 16 FAT 32  Partition Size  Cluster Size  Partition Size  Cluster Size

128 MB 2 KB  512 MB to 8 GB 4 KB
256 MB  4 KB  16 GB  8 KB
512 MB  8 KB  32 GB  16 KB
1024 MB  16 KB  32 GB  32 KB
2048 MB  32 KB  Not Applicable
KB = Kilobytes MB = Megabytes GB = Gigabyte

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 I can't create a partition larger than 2 Gigabytes (2047 MB) under DOS or Windows 95A. Why?
This is a limitation of the MS-DOS and Windows 95A operating systems. The FAT16 file system used by DOS and Windows 95A can only address a certain number of blocks. The current limitation is a maximum partition size of 2 Gigabytes (GB) per logical drive. If your drive is larger than 2.1GB and you are using DOS or Windows 95A you will need to create multiple partitions/logical drives to utilize the full capacity of your disk drive.

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What is an "Invalid Drive Specification" error? DOS reports this error when a drive needs to be partitioned or has lost its partition. The drive needs to be re- partitioned by using the FDISK Command.

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After installing my new hard drive Windows 95/98 shows it as a removable drive. What happened?
This situation arises when a hard drive is installed into a system using SCSI adapters, Zip or Jazz drives. If this happens, remove the SCSI adapter and/or the Zip or Jazz drive and reinstall the new drive. Once the hard drive is configured, reinstall the removed devices.

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Why does Windows NT report that my drive has bad blocks during installation? More than likely, this has nothing to do with hard drive corruption. Rather, it is a problem caused by corrupt NT installation disks. It is recommended that you attempt re-installation with a new copy of the NT Installation diskettes. To create new floppies, format 3 disks on the computer where you are planning to install Windows NT, then from the CD-ROM i386 directory type "WINNT /OX." This builds a fresh set of install floppy disks.

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Why is the hard disk drive NOT as fast as advertised? Advertised transfer rates are based on the fastest speed at which the drive can send data across the ribbon cable from the drive buffer. The transfer stops every time the buffer re-fills. This process continues until a command is complete. Data transfer rates differ as much as system configurations. The one thing that analysts have control of is the speed at which data transmits across the data ribbon cable from the drive's buffer.

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After installing a new disk drive, the drive letter assignment for my CD-ROM chnaged. It is  no longer my D: drive, why? When you add a new drive to a system the lettering scheme can change and what had been your "D:" drive may be reassigned another letter. This is due to the hierarchy that Windows uses to assign drive letters.

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Why is the 20th hole plugged on the IDE (ATA) Ribbon Connector? It is a means of preventing the cable from being installed (plugged in) upside down. Users that inadvertently plug a cable in backwards can cause damage to both the hard drive and the interface. If your system does not have the corresponding missing pin, you may remove this plug by "teasing it out" with a straight pin.

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Does Ultra DMA Provide Any Other Advantages? In addition to increasing throughput, Ultra DMA improves data integrity by using a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) to flag any data transfer errors that may be made over the ATA bus.

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 What is Ultra DMA? Ultra DMA (UDMA) is the latest advancement to the ANSI ATA Specifications. ATA-4, among other improvements, supports Ultra DMA modes 0, 1 and 2. UDMA mode 2 supports burst data transfer rates up to 33 MB per second (MB/s). ATA-5, among other improvements, supports Ultra DMA modes 3 and 4. UDMA mode 4 supports burst data transfer rates up to 66 MB/s.

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What is an "Bad or Missing Command Interpreter" error? DOS does not start because it cannot find the command interpreter (COMMAND.COM) probably due to the COMMAND.COM is not on the hard drive, COMMAND.COM from a previous DOS version is resident on the disk., or a conflict exists between IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS files. To resolve this issue, reboot system with System Boot Diskette. After booting to the A: prompt, type "SYS C:" and press [Enter]. This will transfer the system files back to the hard drive.

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Two hard disk drives will not function even after verifying jumper settings... what is wrong? There may be a compatibility problem between the two drives. Here is a step to verify this assumption:  - Test the new drive by itself. If both drives work by themselves then it is best to conclude that there is a compatibility problem. - If this is found to be the case, try "swapping" (switching) the drive's roles. In this case, what was the master will change to be the slave and the slave will change to be the master.

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The capacity of my ATA hard drive is limited to 95MB. Why? When a BIOS cannot support an ATA drive's full capacity, problems can occur with various symptoms. One of these symptoms is called "Wrap Around". The way "wrap around" can be identified is the hard drive will only present a small percentage of it's true capacity for partitioning and formatting. For example, the FDISK program may report a 6.4GB hard drive as only having 95MB in total capacity. This wrap around or truncated capacity occurs as a result of the method used by the BIOS to calculate the drive's actual capacity. There are two solutions for this condition. The best solution is to obtain a BIOS upgrade if available. You should contact your system or motherboard manufacturer for details on available BIOS upgrades. If a BIOS upgrade is not available then the next best solution is to use the hard drive manufacturers software.

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Does the DOS operating system have any partition limitations? Yes, the DOS operating system is limited to partition sizes of 2.1 Gigabytes (GB), you must divide drives larger than 2.1 Gigabytes into 2.1 or smaller partitions.

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What is Enhanced-IDE (EIDE) and Fast-ATA? Enhanced IDE (EIDE) was a marketing program first initiated by Western Digital. EIDE has two sides: Software - the Enhanced BIOS Specification that surpasses the 504 MB hard drive capacity limitation  Hardware - hard drives that conform to the ATA-2 and ATA-PI Standards Fast-ATA , EIDE's counterpart was a separate marketing program that was introduced by Seagate and Quantum. This program leaned conservatively toward the ATA-2 specification.

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What are the main features of EIDE? These are the main features:  Faster transfer modes- PIO modes 3-4, DMA mode 2 and UDMA.  Multiple Read/Write commands LBA mode, translation for drives larger than 504 MB  Four devices on the ATA controller (secondary port)  CD ROM and Tape Drive support

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What is the difference between a Quick Media Scan and a Full Surface Scan? Quick Media Scan checks only the critical areas of the hard drive, approximately the first 300 MB and the last 100 MB of a drive. The first 300 MB is where the operating system and critical files are usually stored. The last 100 MB is typically where most errors occur as a result of shipping or handling damage. The Quick Scan takes approximately two minutes to complete. The Full Surface Scan checks the entire hard drive so the length of the test will vary depending on the drive's capacity. The average run time for a 9GB drive under the Full Scan is approximately 15 minutes.

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How Does Ultra DMA Compare With Ultra SCSI Controllers? Ultra DMA has tested faster than Ultra Wide SCSI under WinMark97. User's can anticipate the high performance of Ultra DMA at half the price of SCSI.

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What does the IDE (ATA) interface actually do? The primary job of the IDE interface is to transmit/receive data to and from the drive.

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What is ATAPI? AT Attachment Packet Interface (ATAPI) is a proposed standard implementing SCSI like devices on the ATA bus. Devices like CD-ROM's, tape drives and other removable media. The advantages of ATAPI are:  It is inexpensive
It is easy to implement in current systems.  ATAPI's disadvantage is that it requires the use of software drivers for operability.

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What is Ultra ATA/100? Ultra ATA/100 is the latest generation of the ATA interface. ATA, also known as IDE, is the most common interface for desktop and workstation computers. As ATA disc drives have become faster internally, the need has arisen for faster interface or external "burst" transfer rates. Recent examples of this include Ultra ATA/33, UltraATA/66, and now Ultra ATA/100. The numeric portion of these interfaces denotes the maximum burst transfer rate of the interface in Megabytes per second.

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Why Ultra ATA/100 when Ultra ATA/66 is so new? The internal sustained data rates for drives in the ATA realm have been increasing at a rapid pace in the last 18 months due to new read/write technologies. Because of this, the ATA interface has seen the need for a faster transfer rate to accommodate drives that may soon surpass 66 MB/sec sustained transfer rates. In general, the burst rates of the ATA interfaces stay a generation ahead of the actual sustained rates to simplify introduction of newer, faster drives.

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How is Ultra ATA/100 different from Ultra ATA/33 or Ultra ATA/66? The most significant difference is the increase in transfer rate. There are also some enhancements to error checking with Ultra ATA/100. In addition, these new drives include an enhanced command set to ensure compatibility with future interface additions.

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