daunting task of installing a new hard drive

Posted on 2004-11-14
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have always found a way to shoot myself in the foot, and this time is no different.

I thought that installing a new hard drive that replaces an older one is such an easy task.

I thought all I needed was swap hard drives,  pop in a cd and install drivers and I am set.

Well, I am encountering all sorts of problems.

I am wondering if any kind soul would be patient enough to help me out of this mess.

I can still use my old hard drive but the reason I am replacing it is because it is a 4g hard drive and it is full.

I figured I just replace it.

I am giving all the points I have and will buy more if I have to to get assistance with this.

Thanks in advance
Question by:sammySeltzer
    LVL 32

    Assisted Solution

    by:Luc Franken
    Hi sammySeltzer,

    As you said: "It's a 4GB hard disk" I'm figuring this is an older computer. Most likely it just doesn't support the disk size you put into it. Your bios is limited to either 8.2 GB or maybe, if you're lucky 32GB.
    To get it working you have two good choices:
    1) A bios update that will support disks that large
    2) A PCI-IDE controller to which you connect the disk.

    Another solution might be a drive overlay, but note that that'll give you an extra point of failure :(



    Assisted Solution

    thanks for the prompt response.

    I failed to mention that I was trying to install a 20 gb hard drive.

    I didn't think that would be a problem, besides, the problem I am having is that I have zero knowledge of hard drive installation.
    I thought it would be similar to installing say, a modem or something like that.

    I had instruction to configure bios and cmos to allow it to boot from the cd that came with the harddrive.

    How do I do this?

    I guess that is what I mean by running into problem.

    I want to ensure that i have done all that was necessary.

    If in the end nothing works, then I can blame it on incompatible controlller.

    If you have time and patience to work me through all the steps, this will be greatly appreciated.
    LVL 31

    Accepted Solution

    1) Physical installation.
    I think the task pivots on BIOS recognition. If the BIOS can recognize your new hard drive at its labelled size, the installation boils down to physical installation in the box, like attaching screws, data and power cabling and, of course, checking that the master/slave jumper is in the correct place - master for a bootable drive. Or CS.... do check how the old drive is jumpered!!

    2) O/S installation.
    Once the HD is installed, hooked up and recognized by BIOS you should install your operating system. If you are using windows, you have probably bought a license and an install CD. Boot with that CD and install the O/S.

    Your system may have come with a restore CD. You can use that one for installing O/S and restoring the system to factory-default status.

    Before doing ANY of this, backup all your documents, so you can restore them on your new hard drive...
    LVL 28

    Author Comment

    I went to mass right after my last post, sorry about that.

    According to you:

    >Once the HD is installed, hooked up and recognized by >BIOS you should install your operating system.

    Should I assume then that when it keeps telling me "missing O/S, insert o/s cd, does that mean that hd installation is not right?

    I am getting conflicting feedbacks from posts I read elsewhere where I keep hearing that installation should be left for seasoned professionals.

    LVL 31

    Expert Comment

    No, this is not "rocket science".

    If you can verify that the BIOS has found your HD and can recognize it at the proper size, you are set for an O/S install.

    A message that says "missign O/S" or something to that effect, is indeed a message that tells you that the boot media (usually the HD) is not a system drive (doesn't have an O/S on it) but it is probably found in BIOS as a HD without any problems.

    Next step is to install your O/S.

    You need to have some kind of install media that is bootable - a floppy or a CD. Insert this media in a proper drive (FDD or CD unit) and try to boot up the computer. If this does not succeed, you may have to get into the BIOS setup to change the order of boot drives to reflect the situation - the computer must try to boot from CD or FDD before trying the HD - the HD being empty.


    "Should I assume then that when it keeps telling me "missing O/S, insert o/s cd, does that mean that hd installation is not right?"

    No, the installation is probably OK, but a new hard drive is usually clean (no O/S) so you need to run through the O/S install procedure.

    To proceed with this you really must be able to verify that the computer has recognized the new HD (a BIOS thing, and you can only check this in the POST messages or through the BIOS setup) and you have to have an O/S install media (CD or floppy).

    Accessing the BIOS setup is normally done through a key press during the start-up process. See the computer manual or a hint on-screen during startup.

    LVL 33

    Assisted Solution

    On some older systems, you have to go into the BIOS and manually detect the harddrive, for it to see it corectly and use it.

    It would help if you said what kind of system specs you have.
    LVL 28

    Author Comment

    I apologize again for "running away" from this.

    It has been resolved with all your help.
    Using rid's feedback helped me install the harddrive successfully.

    Thanks and again I apologize for not coming back here sooner to give you your due credit.

    It took me awhile to resolve this given that this is my first hard drive install.
    LVL 31

    Expert Comment

    I'm please to hear our commetns helped you.
    LVL 33

    Expert Comment

    Thank you much.    : )

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