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How to add a new SATA / IDE Controller Card & Hard Drive

This is a discussion on How to add a new SATA / IDE Controller Card & Hard Drive within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Procedure to install a Controller Card and Hard Drive to make Drives Operate as a Boot Drive or Slave Drive

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Old 11-25-2008, 07:29 PM   #1
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Procedure to install a Controller Card and Hard Drive

to make

Drives Operate as a Boot Drive or Slave Drive

This guide will outline the procedure to install a new PCI slot add-on controller card and new IDE or SATA Drive. This process would be a viable solution to replace or duplicate your boot drive/operating system without any chance of data loss. The outline will also apply if you want to add a Sata storage drive or an IDE storage drive, which is also called a slave drive.

• Sata drives are becoming the industry standard in newer computers. Therefore this guide will be based upon the install of a PCI slot SATA controller card. The installation of an IDE controller card is almost identical in nature to this type installation except that SATA drives do not need control jumpers. IDE drives must be jumpered as Master/Slave or Cable Select to operate in the computer environment.

The example below is a typical PCI slot Sata controller card:

Promise Controller Card

This card is capable of running four sata hard drives!

This is a high quality “retail” controller card. There are more reasonably priced cards that will be from $15.00 up to $30.00, but the set-up process many not be as easy or smooth.

For $70.00, the illustrated Promise Controller comes with all driver disks, installation instructions, and it is bootable. This controller also cures the 137gig drive limitation experienced by some older operating system versions such as native (no service packs) Win XP.

Here is a typical example of an IDE controller card which has two IDE connectors / channels allowing 2 drives to be operating at each connector; a total of four IDE drives


*** You can also use PCI express slot controller cards if you wish. However, only newer motherboards have pci express X1 slots. Ask us for assistance determining which type of card you want or need if you are unsure.

Make sure when buying hard drives and controller cards; the specifications of the devices must be compatible. Some hard drives do not have Sata 150 drive speed reduction jumpers, therefore will not work on a Sata 150 mb/s controller. Dont just shop by price, shop by specfication of the drive and controller!

Guide to installing the controller card:

 The first suggestion is that you “prowl” a bit in the bios to make yourself comfortable with the bios options. There will come a time when you need to set the boot order if you want to boot from this controller card. Often times when you add a new hard drive or controller card, the bios will reset or even change your drive boot order; this scares some inexperienced computer builders when they do their first boot up and the system cant find windows. There is a very easy cure; simply enter the bios and go to “boot device priority” in the bios that is most often found in the “advanced” section of the bios. Once in there, you will need to select your boot device order so your boot drive is listed FIRST. When in there be sure and set your Boot Drive Order. Probably the most common boot order today is:
1st boot = Cd-rom
2nd boot= Floppy Drive (floppy drives are not always the norm).
3rd boot = Hard Drive
Don’t forget when you make changes in the bios you must hit the “ save & exit” command to keep the changes permanent in the bios storage.

Please view the bios screen shots at bottom of this guide for an illustration of what to look for.

 Assuming your computer is shut down, pull the power cord from the back of the computer which feeds the power supply to ensure the motherboard will not be powered. Even when a computer has been shutdown there still is active power being supplied; hence the green LED you see glowing on the motherboard indicates the motherboard has power.

 Install the PCI slot controller card into any open and available PCI slot.

 Reconnect the power cord to the power supply and boot the system. Once you are in windows you can install the driver needed to operate the sata controller card. The driver will be in the retail package of the controller, and if you purchased an OEM controller, you may need to visit the manufacturers website to locate and download the driver. This is why I suggested that you pay the extra $10.00 or so dollars for the retail version and make things easier on yourself.

Now that the controller card is installed and the drivers are installed, you need to check in the windows device manager to make sure the new controller is present under “scsi raid controllers.” One must also make sure that no yellow exclamation marks appear next to your controller. If the yellow exclamation mark is present the driver has not been loaded and the controller is not ready for use!
(see screen shot in my first follow-up reply to this topic)

Step #2: Adding a hard drive:

• Shut down the computer again and pull the power cord to ensure no accidents occur!

• Install your new SATA or IDE drive in an open drive bay with the screws that should have come with your new drive if you purchased the “retail” packaged drive. The retail version of the hard drive will get a software CD and screws, but if it is an oem drive, then you will need to obtain these items as mentioned before with the controller card version.

• Connect the data cable to the hard drive and the other end to the controller card. Also make sure to add a power cable from the power supply to your new hard drive.

• Boot the computer; enter the bios then “prowl” to see if the drive is showing by name brand and model number. If the drive is showing as “present,” then we are ready to continue with the set-up. Please note, a drive can not be used by windows until it has been partitioned and formatted. That procedure will be our very next step after you verify a few settings. (see screen shot #3 / shows 4 hard drives listed)

• Verify in the bios that your boot order has not changed since the last time we checked it; the cd-rom should still be first booting device, the floppy drive second to boot, and your old boot hard drive should still be the third device to boot. If adding the new drive has altered this order, then one must change it back. A friendly reminder to save before you exit if any changes have been made.

Drive Partitioning and Formatting

• My personal favorite way to partition and format a drive is with the hard drive manufacturer’s set-up tools. Western digital for example calls these tools “ Data Lifeguard.” Seagate calls them “Disc Wizard” Here is a link to most Hard Drive Manufacturer’s utilities that serve the same purpose as the previously mentioned utilites:
Hard Drive Utilities
There are other methods to prepare the drive with 3rd party applications like Partition Magic but they are not FREE! We suggest you take advantage of free tools when they are available.

Windows disk management can also used to partition and format a drive, but I am not a fan of this method as it writes the new drive’s set-up parameters to the boot drive which makes them co-dependent! (That issue can cause you problems later if and when you remove or lose the old boot drive = utt-ohh / Yuck)

• During this guide we will be using Western Digital’s Data Lifeguard for this tutorial. You can download the instructions for Data Lifeguard Here:

*** you will also need the free Adobe acrobat reader to view .pdf files

• We want to follow the instructions outlined in the “set-up your hard drive section (left pane of table of contents)
Then look for “Install an Additional Storage Drive

It’s important to set this drive up as a slave drive at this time even if your objective is to boot from the drive when we are done. We are going to image the contents of your old boot drive and import them into this new drive later in this guide.

• You will need to download the Western Digital data lifeguard bootable file. The instructions for making the bootable disk are in this guide,
CD Rom version HERE:

Floppy Disk Version HERE:

• For this step we are going to assume you have the bootable Data Life Guard CD or Seagate Disc Wizard whichever you plan to use. The instructions are in the guide and link above for navigating in the drive set-up features.

• You need to partition the drive first. Even if you want your new hard drive to be one big “chunk” that still requires a partition, it is just a 100% of space available partition.

For those of you who want to keep a back up image of your boot drive or have an extra partition, please feel free to set this up as you desire. One note of consideration, to image your old boot drive; the primary partition on this new drive must be as big as your old drive or slightly larger.

You can not image a 100 gig hard drive then restore it to a 50 gig partition, because it simply will not work! There is also another note of consideration when making the second partition on your new drive. An image file of your old boot drive will take just a tad over one half of your old boot drives size. [example = if your old boot drive is a 40 gig partition; then the image file from that drive will be just a shade larger than 20 gigs]

• Formatting: this is the easiest step. One must always choose the NTFS file system unless you have a special need for a Fat32 file system. Remember Fat 32 was not designed for drives larger than 127gigs and the Fat 32 file system does not support 48bit LBA.

Those of you who jumped on this train only to achieve a storage or slave drive you are done! Enter windows and you should see and be able to use your new slave drive as you wish.

For those of you who are in this for the long haul and want to image your old boot drive and want the new drive to take its place …….. let’s get back to work !

Boot the computer and upon entering windows; navigate to “My Computer” and verify you can see the new hard drive you just set-up. Verify it has a drive letter next to each partition. Verify you can open the drive when you click on each drive present.

If everything looks the way you wanted it to be setup, then lets proceed. If you did not get the results you were looking for, then please start a thread in the hard drive forum to ask for assistance.

The Boot Drive Image Process:

• The first thing we need to do is make a back-up image of your boot drive. To accomplish this we will need some more free software. Go to this link and download “Drive Image XML” HERE.

• Download this software into your old Windows operating system boot drive and install the program.
• Now we need to watch an 8 minute YouTube tutorial of how to use Drive Image XML HERE.
It is very easy to use !

• Now you are ready to start the image process. Begin by opening the drive image program and then create an image file of your old windows C: drive. (that will be the source drive) Store it on your second partition of the new drive.

• Then use the “restore an image” feature from within Drive image program to activate your boot drive image that we stored earlier on your new slave drive. However, select your new primary partition on your new drive as the target drive. This will copy the entire contents of your old boot drive and make the new drive bootable as well.

• Once the restore has been completed; it is now time to reboot your computer and enter the bios.This time when we enter the bios, we will select the new hard drive as the one to boot after the cd-rom drive. Don’t forget to save before you exit. This process will permit you to boot your old windows world on this new bigger drive!

Do not worry if you hit a bump in the road, because we are here to help you with those issues. If you have difficulty, simply start a new thread in the hard drive forum asking for help. We can assist you with filling in the blanks of any information you may be misinterpreting or didn’t understand.

You can also PM me personally (linderman - private message) and give me a copy of your thread link where you asked for help. Hardware team members (as per the forum rules) are not permitted to assist with a thread issue via PM. However, when I get the link you have sent via PM, I will visit the link to assist you.

This info at first may appear to be daunting to you. Therefore, I suggest you print the info and read it several times before jumping in to do the actual work. You can also do a mock rehersal at any of these steps without actually doing them. When your confidence grows, just jump right in and make the plunge.

The best part of this whole adventure is there is no risk at all of losing your data from any drive in the computer and that includes the contents of your old boot drive. You certainly have nothing to lose and plenty to gain in this adventure!

Enjoy ………..

Links for Seagate Disk Wizard HERE
How to use links HERE
Included below will be a screen shot of how your controller card should show up in the windows device manager.

When it comes time to make your new hard drive the boot "boss" you may get the option as shown in bios screen #4 in main guide ...... at which time you would move that "bootable add on card" to the highest priority.

This guide may seem deep when one first approaches this subject. That is the reason we asked you to spend some time with the whole concept before beginning the new task of setting this up. Being familar with the total components and processes will add to your success.

We would be happy to assist you with any tough spots that you may encounter if you will simply ask. The Hardware team is ready, willing, and able to provide any further assistance.

A final thought - The beauty of this project is that you get the best of both worlds. You are able to set up the drives you need, but you don't have to compromise your present data. Good luck and feel free to post a thread with any questions that you may have.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to Tumbleweed 36; our Assistant Hardware Manager for his assistance in editing and proofing this guide.
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