1> Physical installation

Open your computer (powered off) and locate a free IDE slot on either IDE cable (flat, grey cable with a red line). Connect the cable to the back of your hard disk drive, the red line facing the power plug.
Connect a power cable from your power supply to your hard drive.


Different hierachies
If your hard disk is the only peripheral on the IDE cable, set it to Master (MA). To do so, refer to the manual supplied with your disk drive. The configuring is generally done by positioning a jumper at the back of the drive. In this case you will find three pairs of pins labelled MA, SL and CS (Master, Slave & Cable Select).
If you have two peripherals on the same IDE cable, you may want to have the main peripheral as Master and the other one as Slave or Cable Select.

BIOS settings
Now power on your PC and during POST enter the BIOS editor. Find your hard drive according to its IDE hierarchy (Primary or Secondary IDE; Master or Slave) and set it to Auto (detection) or to User (defined). In this case, you will have to enter your IDE settings (see manual or label on the hard disk) according to the number of Cylinders (C), Heads (H) and Sectors (S).

Save your BIOS changes and reboot.

Frequent problems
If during reboot your hard disk is not 'seen' correctly by the BIOS, reapply the above procedure and change IDE slots, modify hierarchy or BIOS settings. If your hard disk is seen but displays a wrong size (despite correct CHS settings in the BIOS), your BIOS may be too old and may have to be flashed.
Note : older Pentium 1 motherboards recognize a total disk size of 8.4Gb. To increase this figure you may want to buy an IDE controller card like a Promise Ultra ATA33 or 66 -even 100 so that your motherboard can manage over 8.4Gb of disk space.

Feel free to swap IDE slots, MA, SL and CS configurations or even use jumperless configurations, since there is no "miracle" remedy for two peripherals to get along on the same IDE cable. Try every option until all your peripherals are seen correctly.

2> Logical Installation

Basic partitioning & formatting
Once your hard disk drive is installed and properly identified by the BIOS, you will have to partition and format it. Start in MS-DOS (w/ Windows startup disk for instance) and at command prompt type fdisk. This utility will allow you to partition your hard drive (creating logical drives on the same physical drive).

Choose FAT16 for Win 3.1 and 95 (2.1Gb max partitions) and FAT32 for other Windows9x versions (partitions limited to a few terabytes!). For Windows NT (and Windows 2000) the installation program will allow you to choose between FAT16 and NTFS, both systems offering advantages and weaknesses.

Complete the partitioning procedure and restart as prompted. Leave the floppy in the floppy disk drive. At command prompt, type format X: /u (where X is the letter assigned to your new drive(s)).

Your hard disk is up and running!

Note : This topic demands that the reference in hard disk management be quoted: the awesome Partition Magic from PowerQuest. Version 5 allows partitioning, formatting, merging, converting between FAT16 and FAT32, etc. And all this on the fly. Besides its use is way more user-friendly than Windows DOS utilities.

Adanced format
Sometimes, despite proper formatting, unwanted data can remain on the hard disk preventing it from working properly. You may then want to erase all data on your hard disk drive.

Master Boot Record Format

The Master Boot Record is the first bootable element on the hard disk drive. It contains vital starting information. Some OS's (NT, Linux...), multiboot programmes, even viruses, write data in the MBR. A simple formatting of the drive cannot erase it.
To do so, start in MS-DOS mode and at command prompt type fdisk /mbr. After a few seconds, the command prompt appears again; the MBR has been flashed.
NB : For NT, you may find it useful to find and erase the boot.ini file or, better, to rename it in case your hard drive would not boot any longer if you have several OS's on it.

Zeros writing

Erases all data on the disk (FAT, partitions, MBR). Very useful when fdisk and/or formatting won't work. Download one of our zero writing utilities:

-Seagate Disk Manager available below, or
-Gateway's Universal Boot Disk (also includes a surface test feature and can eventually correct physical errors on Western Digital drives ) -727 Kb

Low level format

Low level formatting allows resetting of a hard drive, including MBR. In some cases it can correct physical errors on a drive. This feature is found in some BIOS's. Otherwise, in case you don't find what you're looking for below, go to your hard drive's manufacturer website and download the proper low level format utility.

>>Seagate & Conner :

Seagate's Disk Manager offers low level format on top of interesting (but not vital) disk management features. Warning: this software does not give you the possibility to configure the CHS manually; if it gives you a CHS different from your hard disk's, don't proceed with low level formatting!

This utility works for Seagate and Conner hard drives.

Here is a mini-programme (79Kb unzipped) from Seagate that does wonders. It's a bit old (specifically designed for 286-486s), but allows entering customized CHS settings to perform a low level format and/or an error check of the drive.
In its most advanced format/check mode, it takes 5 hours for completion for a 1Mb hard disk!... Don't forget to read the Readme.txt file before use.

Seagate guaranteed, may work w/ other manufacturers.

-957 Kb
-54 Kb

>>Western Digital : Low level format utility for Western Digital hard disks. -188 Kb

>>Quantum : Low level format utility for Quantum hard disks, click here.

>>Maxtor : Low level format utility for Maxtor hard disks, click here.

Installing and formatting a hard disk © The Knights of the Boot - MMII

The Knights of Boot© disclaim any responsibility for any damage arising as a result of the implementation of these instructions.