What does hard drive signing do?

I bought a new 250 gig drive (WD2500JD, SATA) and installed it on my computer, running win2k SP4.

The drive was recognized in the bios correctly, got into windows, and went into the disk management console. From there, it was recognized correctly in terms of model, size, etc. but there was a dash in a red circle over the drive name, indicating some sort of error or something.

I couldn’t create a partition - the option was grayed out, and I was a bit confused. The only option I had was “sign drive” or “drive signature” or something like that, so I gave it a shot - it did something, and suddenly the drive was accessible, the error symbol removed, and I could partition it.

My question is: What did the “sign drive” process do? Is it some part of letting windows read > 137g drives with the LBA addressing problems?

The signature is apparently a unique identifier for the disk, and it’s there so Windows can find the disk even if you move it around in the IDE chain (or whatever the SATA equivalent is).

Interesting. When I switched the drives in my system, I was surprised that the drive letters didn’t change. I guess that’s because the drive letters are mapped to a signature, not a channel/slavery value.

Ah, I thought it might be something like that, but I’ve never had to do that before to my knowledge, so I dunno why I had to this time. It was either automatic before it wasn’t done.

Er, it was either automatic or wasn’t done before.