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Table Of Contents  How to Build Your Own PC - Save A Buck And Learn A Lot
 9  Chapter 5: Installing Drives
      9  Installing the Hard Drive

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Installing the Hard Drive
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Multiple Hard Drive Options and RAID
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Setting Hard Drive Jumpers

This is a good time to examine any instructions that came with your hard drive to see if any jumpers need to be adjusted. Jumpers are little connectors which connect adjacent pins. They “jump” between the pins. The jumpers are probably set fine, but it’s a good idea to check them, just in case.

The usual jumper settings for a hard drive are:

  • Cable Select

  • Primary

  • Secondary

Cable select means that the mainboard will choose whether to make the drive primary or secondary. Most mainboards today support cable select. And, most drives will have their jumpers already set to cable select. You can just have all your drives set to cable select, and the mainboard will take care of the rest.

“Primary” means first and most important. Think of the primary as the one that usually takes control of the cable and gets its way. The secondary is like a little brother who must usually wait.

You usually want your main hard drive set as primary, or set it as cable select and have the mainboard set it as primary. Because we know we want this hard drive set to primary, we read the Western Digital instructions which tell us how to set the jumper. Rather than going up and down, as it looks like it should, the jumper in this case goes across pins on the lower, longer line of pins. We set the jumper to primary.

Incorrectly set jumpers are a common problem when building a PC. So, double check the orientation. Does the jumper go on the top row, bottom row, or across the top and bottom rows? Does the jumper go closer to the side of the drive with the power supply connector, or is the jumper closer to the side away from the power connector? Count pins on each side of the jumper. All this will help assure you have the jumpers set as you want. Be sure to push the jumper in all the way.

To remove jumpers, longer nails are handy, or you could use a small needle nose pliers (Figure 78). Be gentle. There’s no need to crush the little feller, no matter how frustrating he is to deal with.

Figure 78: Changing the jumper on the hard drive from cable select to primary

We could have left it as “cable select” and it would have worked fine.


After the jumper has been changed, the drive will appear as in Figure 79.

Figure 79: The jumper is changed

It sits across the bottom row of pins when set to primary. We learned this from the instructions that came with the hard drive.


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Installing the Hard Drive
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Multiple Hard Drive Options and RAID
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How to Build Your Own PC (http://www.PCGuide.com/byop/) on PCGuide.com
Version 1.0 - Version Date: May 4, 2005

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