In last week's Boot Camp we considered the advantages of installing a second hard disc drive – to increase storage capacity, as a cheap backup device and an emergency boot drive  – and how to work out what size and type of drive you need. This week it's down to business, fitting the new drive and setting it up to work with Windows.

There are several methods but the simplest and safest way is to trick your PC into thinking that the new disc drive will be the main hard disc. You do this by disconnecting the data and power leads from the back of the existing drive. This also protects all of the information on your main disc drive, so if anything goes wrong you can quickly restore your system.

Begin by switching the PC off at the mains socket but leave the plug in so the chassis is earthed, and don't forget to touch the metalwork every so often to dissipate any static charges. Gently pull out the power and data cables from the back of the C: drive, making a note of which way round the ribbon cable goes – one edge should be coloured with a red stripe. Remove your new drive from its anti static envelope and check the back, you should see a set of jumper pins marked 'S' and 'M' or slave and master. There should be a layout diagram or label on the drive or on a supplied instruction leaflet; at this stage the jumper should be set to the M or master position. Now you can slot the drive into its bay, on some machines it may be easier to fit the ribbon data cable and power connector first, observing the correct polarity. The red stripe should be next to Pin 1 on the socket on the back of the disc drive. Be careful not to force the plug, as the pins on the drive are quite easy to bend.

Four screws secure the drive, check to make sure there is room between the drives and the top and bottom of the drive bay for air to circulate freely. Double check the connections and make sure no other cables or connectors inside the case have been disturbed, now you can temporarily re-fit the lid and switch the mains supply back on. The PC will not recognise the new drive since it hasn't been partitioned or formatted, this is where the Windows start-up disc (see last week's Boot Camp) comes in. Pop it in the floppy drive and switch the PC on. What happens next will depend on the age and type of your PC's BIOS or CMOS program (see Jargon Filter). Most recent PCs will automatically detect the new drive and configure the BIOS program accordingly. On some models you may have to do it manually. In such cases the BIOS main menu page opens. Read the instructions at the bottom of the page about how to navigate and make changes, select the option marked 'HDD Auto Detection' (or something to that effect) press enter and when prompted type 'Y' for yes or select OK. Check that the chosen settings are correct, press Escape to return to the BIOS main menu, save and exit.

The PC will continue to boot from the floppy start-up disc in drive A: and after a few moments the A: DOS prompt should appear on the screen. Type 'fdisk' press Enter and the disc partitioning utility will start. Assuming that your operating system is the OSR2 version of Windows 95 or Windows 98 you will be asked if you want to enable enhanced large disc support, press enter to accept default option 1. When prompted to do so choose the options 'Create DOS partition or Logical partition', 'Create Primary DOS Partition' and agree to this partition being the maximum available size. When it has finished at the A: prompt type fdisk /status and you should see a report showing how much disc space is available.

Switch the PC off and then back on again, re-booting from the floppy disc once more. When the A: prompt appears type 'format c: /s'. This will prepare the disc for use and copy across the system files on the floppy disc, to make it bootable. That means you will be able to start your PC from the new drive in the event Windows or the main hard disc drive fails.

Switch the PC off, turn off the mains at the socket and remove the lid. Change the jumper setting on the new hard disc drive from the Master (M) to the Slave (S) setting, re-connect the ribbon and power cables to your original disc drive and fit the lid. Switch the mains socket back on and power up your PC. If everything has gone according to plan the PC will boot up normally to Windows. When it has finished click on My Computer and the new drive icon will appear, Windows should automatically assign it drive letter D: if you have a CD-ROM drive or any other disc or tape drives they will be moved up one letter. Your new drive is now ready for use, you can copy folders and files to the drive using normal Windows conventions, if you want to use it for storing programs and applications remember to specify the appropriate drive letter during the installation process.

If you wish you could put a second copy of Windows on the new drive, so you can continue working should your original fail. You could make a copy but it is easier to start over with a fresh installation. Windows Set-Up searches the drives prior to installation and won't normally permit a second copy to be loaded. The solution is to disconnect your C: drive -- as outlined earlier -- and install Windows on to the new drive using the floppy start-up disc or use the system files installed when you formatted the disc. These contain the necessary CD-ROM driver to read the installation disc. If you are using a Windows 98 upgrade disc you will probably be asked for the registration key of your earlier version of Windows so make sure you have it to hand. When installation is complete re-connect the main disc drive. If for any reason Windows on the C: drive fails simply reverse the master/slave settings on the two drives and boot to Windows from your new drive.

Next week – clean and uninterruptible power for your PC




Basic Input Output System, a set of instructions that tells your PC what it is connected to, and how to communicate with devices like disc drives and memory chips


Complimentary metal oxide semiconductor – family of low power microchips used to store and process the BIOS program


Process of preparing a disc drive to store data by organising a file structure so that information can be systematically written and retrieved by the PCs operating system



Every so often a program window opens in the wrong position or the menus and toolbars have disappeared off the top of the screen and you can get them back. Here's a simple solution, press Alt + Spacebar to bring up the sizing menu then hold down the letter M and use the down arrow cursor key to bring the window back on to the screen.

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