Mundane computer HD question

I was working on a friends PC tonight and came across a vexing problem. I was installing a new harddrive (the brand is actually Generic) on her Compaq Presario (Win98) Machine. I was unable to get windows to see it, although the Bios seemed to know it was there. I set her old drive up as primary and the new drive to slave. Any tips and tricks from windows junkies out there?

youve got to setup a primary partition with fdisk, partitionmagic, or some other comparable program.

do this:

go to DOS (Start-> ShutDown -> Restart in MSDOS mode)
type fdisk
now, maneuver through the menu options here (been a while since I have done this) … you will want to change the phyiscal disk to your new disk then set up a primary partition … once this is done, reboot your machine, and again shut down to dos
now, type format x: (replace X with whatever drive letter was assigned for your new hard drive - possibly D)

To be on the safe side, you may want to disconnect the original drive lest you accidentally format it or repartition it, both of which amounting to pretty much the same thing.

If you choose not to do this, you can find the right disk to format (this is after the fdisking) by going through the drive letters (a:, b:, c:, etc) until you find the one that gives you a “invalid media” (IIRC) error. That’s your partitioned, but unformatted, drive. Drives that don’t exist give a different error (drive not found, I think).

Don’t you guys think fdisk is a bit extreme as he has mentioned that the old drive is set as primary, which would mean its just the same place as it was before.

I never heard of a generic HD, they all have info on the top of them somewhere on what they are.

How did you position them on the cable?

A concur with the group, Windows will not see the drive until:

  1. It has a partition
  2. It is formatted

You will need to use FDISK or Partition magic or something to partition it. The reason beaing the BIOS simply identifies the Hardware as being present. The operating system needs certain instructions and information to be on the drive to be able to read it.

As for errors while partitioning the drive, there is little danger of that. When you run these programs you will see there is one drive with a partition (the existing drive) and one without (the new drive) simply upt a partition on the new drive.

If your’s worried about formatting the existing drive, open the drive first in windows explorer to see if there is any data, if there is data for mat the other one instead.

I hope this helps.

fdisk sounds correct to me, AFAIK all new disks come from the factory unpartitioned. Win98 is not smart enough to see the drive without creating a partition on it first.

Cable positioning shouldn’t be relevant, that only matters if you use cable select, and he stated in the OP that he set the old drive to master and the new one to slave.

This is not entirely true. If you replace the old drive with the new drive and boot from floppy (Win98 boot disk), Windows will tell you whether or not the drive is partitioned. If it is not, you will get the message;

“Windows 98 has detected that drive C does not contain a valid FAT or FAT32 partition.”

The message goes on to explain the various reasons why it may not have detected the drive.

Most machines allow you to chain two devices per IDE channel, and it may matter where in the chain you place them. Sometimes, depending on the manufacturer, you cannot place a slave drive on the primary interface, with the master using the second interface.

Also, some boards do not support the master/slave configuration at all and may require you to set the HDD jumpers to Cable Select.

If you boot the machine and there is no newly assigned drive letter to designate the new HDD, my advise would be to swap the old drive out with the new drive (changing the jumper back to master or cable select) and booting from a windows boot disk. If an active partition is needed, you will know right away.

I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. If the drive is not partitioned AT ALL, Win 98 or DOS will not see it. If it is partitioned but not formatted you’ll get the aforementioned message. DOS will assign a letter to the drive once it sees the partition (otherwise you’d have no way of formatting it).

Can’t comment about motherboards not recognizing master/slave as I’ve never encountered one like that (and I’ve built and modified quite a few different PCs).

I should comment that I’ve encountered a couple of (likely defective) hard drives that would work as a master but not a slave, or vice versa. If that’s the case the OP should exchange the drive.

The top of the HD actually says “Generic.” I have no idea who makes it. Thank you all for your suggestions. I’m not going back there until Friday, so I’ll see then which one works.

Another one here just to chime in that the drive hasn’t been partitioned.

Inside of Fdisk:
choose option 5 to change physical disk
choose option 4 to verify partition info of physical disk you choose above