My computer won't recognize an old hard drive

I recently bought a new desktop computer (P4-2800, 512MB DDR @ 333 MHz running Windows XP Home edition SP2), and I am in the process of transferring all my data from a couple of other machines to this one. I’m having a problem getting my new machine to read an old secondary hard drive I had in a machine running Windows 98. I believe the old drive was FAT32 format, and I want to convert it to NTFS and just get all my files off of it, and then I’ll be done.

I connected (IDE) the old drive to my computer and booted up, but it did not find the drive. The LED’s on the drive are blinking and you can hear it spin up, but that’s about it. I might mention I have the jumper across the “secondary” pins on the drive. There’s also a set of pins called “cs” that I could use the jumper on, but I’m not sure what those do.

From what I understand, XP should still be able to recognize FAT32 formatted drives, and is able to convert them to NTFS with a one time only process. Is this correct, and if so does it work on secondary drives as well? Any suggestions are appreciated.

When the computer is in the process of booting, go into the BIOS and see if the drive can be seen frmo there. If yes, then it’s most likely an OS problem, if not, then it’s most likely a problem with the hard drive, the BIOS, or the motherboard.

Another suggestion:

You said you put the jumper into ‘secondary’ mode, I assume this is what that drive refers to as slave mode. I find this wording unusual, because usualyl ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ refer to the two different IDE channels on a motherboard, wheras ‘master’ and ‘slave’ refer to the two different devices on those channels. So you can have a prmary master, primary slace, secondary master, and secondary slave all on two ID channels.

What I would do in addition to the previous suggestion (well, do this if you can’t see the drive in the BIOS,) is unplug everything on your secondary IDE channel and plug in the old hard drive (I assuem you don’t need anything on the channel to merely boot up, right?) Then go into the BIOS to see if it can be seen. If it can whilst on the secondary channel, but not on the primary as a slave, then it’s probably an incorrect jumper setting.

To clarify, I did unplug everything on my secondary IDE and plug the drive in there. I also thought it odd that the drive says “primary” and “secondary” instead of master/slave. I’ll try checking from the BIOS tonight and see if that helps. The last time I used my old computer that the drive was originally in was about 10 months ago, but since then it has just been sitting in my closet, unplugged and undisturbed, so I would feel safe saying it’s still in good condition. If all else fails, I will boot my old system with the drive in it and verify that it still works. Thanks for the replies.

If you’ve sorted out the jumper issues and still can’t find the problem there, it’s possible your old drive was installed with a software based BIOS overlay. If this is the case the only way your drive will be recognized is if it boots itself or is in a system where the master drive also has an overlay.

CS stands for “cable select” where the drives boots as M or S depending on where itls attached on the cable (Closer to MB = master / end cable header = slave).

Try booting the old drive in single or as a stand alone mode on the secondary channel with no other IDE devices attached.

I don’t have much to say - making sure it shows up in the BIOS is a good idea.

Also, make sure you copy your data off before converting the drive to NTFS - you mention it like it may be a prerequisite, but it’s not.

You mentioned in your first post that the drive is set to “secondary” (which is probably the same as “slave”) If the drive is the only IDE device on secondary channel, you need to set it to “master” (what this drive apparently calls “primary”).

I think I have the answer. The drive is there and it is configured properly - there is nothing wrong. That’s not the problem. XP needs to write a signature to the drive in order to access the drive/assign a drive letter. See - the old computer wasn’t running XP, so it will need to write that signature to address it.

What you can do is right click on My Computer and left click on Manage. From the Computer Management Screen, on the left side click on Disk Management. It should prompt you that a new drive without a signature was found – do you want to write a signature? Select yes – It should also assign a drive letter – the next one available starting with C: but if it doesn’t here is where you’d do it.

I think setting the drive to master is probably going to fix it. I neglected to take into consideration that I now have the drive on the secondary IDE, whereas before I had it on the primary IDE. I’ll also check in disk management if XP needs to write its signature to the drive. I’ll let everyone know how it went tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestions!

If it’s on it’s own channel Primary or Secondary IDE - won’t make a difference if it’s master or slave if it’s alone.

So it turns out that it was in fact the jumper problem. Having it set to slave on the secondary IDE channel was not something the computer liked for some reason. All I did to fix it was move the jumper to master and it recognized the drive fine with no problems. Thanks again for all the suggestions.