Thursday, March 22, 2007

Formatting Windows

…When You Decide to Format Windows.

New Hard Disk in Old Computer: My friends find it very easy to do and I used to think the same way when I added a new hard disk to my not-so-technical friend's computer. But this time Murphy was with me and happened exactly what he says – easy tasks get tough exactly when you don’t want it to be. I did install the HDD but with minor modification; I had to make it primary and hence install everything into new drive – a marathon job of long 8 hours. (Yeah, I have archaic computer with 256SDR, 1.6 GHz P4 and CRT monitor!)

Here are few things if you are installing extra HDD in your computer. (It’s kind of layman’s approach for all the laymen who, like me, afraid of reading long technical details.)

Rule 1: IDE-HDD connectorBuy maximum hard disk capacity you can because no matter how capacious HDD you buy it can never accommodate the things you always wanted on your computer.

But must read your mother board manual for maximum HDD capacity it can accommodate. As far as I know up to 320 GB is supportable by all MoBos, yet you check MoBo manual or dig internet (In case you’ve lost the manual.)


Rule 2: Make sure your HDD comes with a warranty and in case of malfunction during installation you can reach the service centre to get help.

Rule 3: Ask the procedure to install the HDD in your computer and provide all information about your computer’s configuration even if you think s/he things you’re retarded or something.

Get an expert or you can or follow the steps given below.

Rule 4: Open your computer’s cabinet, see a wire stripe running from your MoBo to your existing HDD. And also see this wire has three pins on pinned into mother board, another in existing HDD and one empty (most common case.)

Rule 5: Ensure that your previous hard disk is attached to the pin which is at the end of the 80-pin striped wire. AnHDD Pin Configurationd secondly put the jumper of both the HDDs in cable select mode.

(By doing so, you say to your computer, “Hey! I don’t know which one is master and which one slave, you decide it based on the pin which I connect it to. The one, which I connect with pin at the end of the cable, would be the master and other one slave.”)

See the image, click to enlarge it.


Rule 5: Place your new HDD into cabinet slot screw tight it. Power it with one of the 4-pin power chord coming from SMPS. Do not worry, the grooves are made in such a way you can not connect it wrongly.

Rule 6: Connect the pin at the end to the hard disk having OS (Your older HDD) and the middle pin to the new HDD.

Most of the cases it works. But if you’re as unfortunate as me, it won’t. In that case you’ll meet people saying, “Buddy, you’ve got faulty disk get a new one.” because while formatting you’ve got an error saying “Drive did not format successfully.”

I tried everything from Partition Magic to Seagate’s Seatool nothing worked. Few diagnoses say disk is ok, other say disk is faulty and still others get hanged while checking the disk.

Whole drama took some 4 good hours of my busy day and then I decided to install windows in new HDD and use only that one and if it worked, I would sell old HDD for dirt.

I removed old HDD, gave primary connection to new HDD and tried to install it. It worked. Then just for experiment sake I connected my old drive in secondary pin. Wow, both were working. But shit I’d to install windows and many soft-wares which added another four hour and a day wasted.

Some says the error was because I attached a higher RPM HDD to secondary or high capacity disk to 2ndory connector. But still these configurations work in other’s computer. Why it didn’t in mine?

5 things you must do before you format your HDD

  1. Copy and save all of your documents; especially, your projects, memorable images and everything else which you can not find on other computer.

  2. Most of the time good and handy application data are created by long use of some software like Firefox (your shortcuts, Bookmarks, saved passwords etc), DC++ (Hashed files, hub address, favorite hub and user, passwords), Media player information database (where your music ranking, frequency and favorite and tagged song data are saved). Save them so that you can replace them and work as easily as you used to do. Without tweaking new settings.

  3. Keep your MoBo CD with you. If you’ve lost it download and burn it from MoBo manufacturer’s website before you format the computer.

  4. Keep installation files few essential software like Firefox, Antivirus, Winrar, All audio, graphics, webcam driver, Delete recovery programs.

  5. And check the calendar if it is a proper day to format your computer without hampering any thing more important.

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