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Adding a hard drive to an older computer

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Adding a hard drive to an older computer

Postby georgeg on Fri Oct 24, 2003 5:13 pm

I want to add a second hard drive to my wifes old HP Pavilion, primarily to have a second drive to send Ghost backup files to prior to writing them to CD. Its been a while since I've been inside the HP and I've never really examined the hard drive. I would assume its IDE and probably ATA-33 compliant since ATA-66 made a big splash about a year later. What problems might I encounter buying a small drive today that will be compatable? I understand that most current drives are ATA-100 but are backwards compatable, but then there is the question of the IDE cable. I imagine the Pavilion uses a 40 pin connector rather than the later 80 pins. So, what do I do?
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Postby CDRecorder on Fri Oct 24, 2003 6:48 pm

All IDE drives use a 40-pin connector; however, newer IDE cables use a 40-pin cable with 80 wires which is backward compatible. A new drive should be compatible, but make sure you have the latest BIOS before you add the new hard drive. Many computers which are about the same age as yours don't support hard drives larger than 32 GB unless the manufacturer released a BIOS update to fix this problem. If your BIOS doesn't support hard drives larger than 32 GB and there's no update, you can add a PCI IDE controller card (Promise and SIIG make such cards) and attach the new drive to that.
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Postby georgeg on Sat Oct 25, 2003 1:04 am

So if I can find a drive under 32 meg (several used drives for sale on eBay) then I should be able to use most any IDE drive. OK, now to see what's available.
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Postby CDRecorder on Sat Oct 25, 2003 1:37 am

That's absolutely right. However; I wouldn't recommend buying a used drive; you can find new drives for very low prices after mail-in rebates (if you live in the US).
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Postby CowboySlim on Sat Oct 25, 2003 3:05 pm

CDRecorder has provided good advice. However, in the reality of the marketplace, I don't see drives less than 40GB advertised (with or without rebates).
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Postby CDRecorder on Sat Oct 25, 2003 4:42 pm

Good point, CowboySlim. I haven't seen anything under 40GB since last summer (and when I saw one then, I was very surprised).
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Postby TheWizard on Sat Oct 25, 2003 9:47 pm

Nothing wrong with shopping on eBay. :) I would not recommend a used drive either, unless it was used for literally one day and the seller guarantees it is in excellent condition. You can find plenty of smaller capcity drives that are brand new or like new on eBay. Just search thoroughly and be patient, then you'll get a wonderful deal. :wink:
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Postby David on Sat Oct 25, 2003 9:54 pm

CDRecorder Wrote
If your BIOS doesn't support hard drives larger than 32 GB and there's no update, you can add a PCI IDE controller card (Promise and SIIG make such cards) and attach the new drive to that.


Another option if you don't have or want to purchace a PCI IDE controller card is to use the software which comes with the drive to set up the drive and give you access to the drives full capacity.
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Postby georgeg on Sat Oct 25, 2003 11:35 pm

I admit to reservations about buying a used hard drive but the few "new-old-stock" drives I see often bring prices higher than brand new much larger drives.. And buying a used disk, you don't always get the software that originally came with it..

Anyway, it may all be moot. I was looking into this because of a problem in backing up my wife's HD using Ghost. Today, I managed to get a sucessful backup set. The only thing I changed was to go to slower CD-R media!
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