Troubleshooting Windows XP
A Hard Drive (sometimes called a hard disk) is a mass-storage device that is typically connected through your computer's IDE or serial interface for internal drives, and through IEEE 1394, or USB for external drives (SCSI is an expensive option for either internal or external drives). You can currently buy new hard drives that are 300 GB for internal and 500 GB for external. Regardless of whether you buy an internal or an external drive, the drive will need some form of power and some form of communication interface for your computer. When purchasing your hard drive you will want to note a few characteristics about that drive besides the connection interface:
- Spindle Speed - Currently the fastest drive you can buy is a 10,000 RPM drive. The faster this speed is will usually correspond to a faster Data Transfer Rate. DO NOT by a 5400 RPM drive for anything but storage (MP3's collections, etc.)
- Data Transfer Rate - There are two parts to data transfer rates: 1) your computer interface's maximum speed, and 2) the drives data transfer rate. If you buy a drive that has a rate faster than your computer can handle you will not receive the full benefit of your purchase.
Intelligent/Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) Interface
An IDE interface is an interface for mass storage devices, in which the controller is integrated into the disk or CD-ROM drive. A computer will have two IDE ports (IDE1, or primary IDE channel and IDE2, or secondary IDE channel), both of which will have the capacity for a master and slave devices; allowing for a total of four IDE devices in current standard computers. The market may tend to shift away from IDE towards Serial devices (a new standard that has much more bandwidth).
In a computer, a jumper is a pair of prongs that are electrical contact points set into the computer motherboard or an adapter card. When you set a jumper, you place a plug on the prongs that completes a contact. Jumper settings tell the computer how it is configured and what operations can be performed. Computers come with jumpers preset. Instructions are sometimes provided so that the owner can reset the jumpers when new equipment is added. The latest trend, however, is Plug and Play equipment that does not require manual setting of jumpers. A group of jumpers is sometimes called a jumper block.
Hard Drives and Disk Drives must be set as Primary or Secondary drives when they are installed. This is done using jumpers. By placing jumpers in certain settings, a drive is set as either primary or secondary. Each IDE cable can have one Primary and one Secondary drive on it. To find out how the jumpers should be placed on a drive, look at the top of the drive casing. There is often a diagram showing jumper placements there.