Safe to investigate 'failed' hard drive in its original home?


  No expert here, but I know I am among them.

I took out my HP desktop's secondary hard drive, a Western Digital 400B, and put it into an older computer whose hard drive and floppy I had just destroyed - or so I believe. Again got the message 'Primary hard drive fail' for the Western Digital as booting. Whether this is my fumbling of a cable or I've really fried things I do not know.  But am wondering if it is safe for my HP to reattach the 400B into my HP and try to examine it, and possibly work on it, from there? (Or could I  be asking for trouble just by trying this?)

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If the drive was originally a second hard drive and you installed it as a primary drive in another machine, it is no wonder that you got the "Primary hard drive fail" message.  First of all, it's a different machine, and if you are running WinXP or Win2K, the hardware abstraction layer will complain about the change and probably not boot.  Secondly, the drive was probably not set up as an OS drive to be booted from, so installing it in that position will fail.  You should be able to install it back as a secondary drive and use it.
If you pulled a slave drive and placed it into the other pc without changing the jumper to master, then the system would correctly advise Primary hard drive fail - as it wouldn't exist. Why do you think you have damaged the original drives?

Chris B
As to the actual question you asked: Yes it's safe to put it back.
You have several things going on in the other system.

First, some older systems can't handle 40 Gig drives.
Next you have to jumper the drive correctly.
Next, if you want to boot from it:
- You need to set the primary partition as active.
- You need to have an operating system 'installed' on the drive. (Not just the files, it needs to be installed.)
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