Reader Rick Goodier wrote me about the problems he was having adding a SATA hard drive to his new computer.
Hi, Terry. I am a new subscriber just signed on.
Perhaps I will have some suggestions for you as time goes on. I have been playing around with computers for more than a few years.
But today I have a question. I am working to max storage on a new comp I have built. 3 GHz processor, I GB memory, medium video card. I want to have at least two (three better) optical drives, so my ide slots were mostly used up. I put in an extra ide controller card I picked up years ago with an early large capacity hard drive I bought. So I am currently running three drives, one as primary, and two as storage on the extra ide card. Yet I would like to have that PCI slot free for another function, a video recording card.
So, because a 300GB SATA drive turned up at a great price, I got one, realizing that I had two SATA controller connections free on the mobo. I hooked up the drive and booted up, thinking I would see the drive as an unformatted drive in the drive manager function of “manage” under “my computer”. Not there. Bios seems to recognize it, because a new request comes up during boot up, asking if I want to set up a raid array. I tried Acronis Partition Manager, and even dusted off Partition Magic. But no joy while in Windows.
So, here’s my question, do I need to fdisk the drive first, before windows will recognize it? Or is there some magic software that will recognize it, even though windows doesn’t? I have been a bit too busy lately to experiment the way I should with this, which would be to boot the computer with the acrois partition manager boot disk, or to boot it with the windows xp disk, to see if the drive is recognized in that way. I can still do that, but thought I would ask your opinion first.
Thanks in advance. And I look forward to receiving your newsletter.
Rick Goodier in Arkansas
The answer is, yes, you have to prepare the hard drive before Windows XP can use it.
The good news is that you can do this in Windows XP while WinXP is running, and even while you are doing something else.
You want the Disk Management part of
Start, Control Panel, Performance and Maintenance, Administrative Tools, Computer Management , Storage, Disk Management (Local)
This will display the multiple hard drives (Disk 0, Disk 1, etc) and the partitions on them.
Right-click on the SATA drive and create the partition size you want and then format it (NTFS format, unless you have a particular reason that you want FAT32).
At this point, Rick wrote back to say that he wasn’t getting that far — Windows wasn’t even recognizing that his SATA hard drive was connected.
I advised him to look in Control Panel, System, Device Manager.
If you have an “unrecognized device” — that might be your SATA drive or even the SATA ports on the motherboard.
Or, you might find the SATA drive listed under hard drives and some info there (I think it even has its own category in the Device Manager list, so keep looking if you don’t find it under Hard Drives.
If you find it listed, I suggest selecting it and then clicking on the “Remove” button. Then, reboot Windows would allow it to be found again and maybe the driver will set up right this time.
Your SATA ports are on the motherboard. Did you install the SATA drivers for the motherboard? Early versions of Windows XP didn’t come with SATA drivers — I’m not sure if they were added with the most recent XP CDs.
ALSO, check your SATA cable connections. The SATA connections are notorious for being flimsy and coming unconnected.
You should have a SATA data connection and EITHER a SATA power connection or a standard 4-pin power connection, BUT NOT BOTH (don’t hook up both)
If you only have one SATA drive, you DO NOT want RAID. Also, there is a difference between Windows recognizing the SATA ports and SATA drive (2 different things!) and the BIOS recognizing them.
It sounds to me like you need a Windows SATA driver for your motherboard’s SATA interfaces.
[Continued in Adding a SATA Hard Drive to Your System, Part 2]