Ide master hdd: Install Hard Drive — A guide to installing an IDE hard drive

How to Identify Masters or Slaves on Hard Drives | Small Business

By David Weedmark

Master and slave settings on IDE hard drives are designed so you can put two drives on a single IDE cable. One acts as the master or main drive and the other is the slave. A hard drive’s master or slave role is determined by the position of a jumper which is placed on a series of pins on the back of the drive, usually located beside the power plug. When you look at the jumper, it looks like a small rectangular piece of plastic. Beneath this plastic is a metal connector that fits over two pins, creating a circuit between them. When you compare the jumper’s position with the pinout diagram for the hard drive, you can tell if the drive is a master or a slave.

  1. Examine the stickers on the hard drives for a master/slave pinout diagram. This diagram is usually near the pins or near the hard drive serial number. If there is no sticker, visit the manufacturer’s support website to find the pinout diagram for the hard drive.

  2. Locate the pins on the back of the hard drive, usually beside the power plug. The number of pins varies. Some models have eight or ten pins in two rows and others may have only three pins. Look for a jumper on the pins, which is a small plastic rectangle that fits over two pins, creating a circuit between them.

  3. Compare the location of the jumper with the pin settings in the diagram. One setting indicates a slave and the other indicates a master. Other jumper positions may be indicated, like a cable select setting, but these are not used in a master-slave configuration.

Examples of Pinout Configurations

  1. Look for two rows of four pins on a Seagate U Series or Barracuda ATA drive located beside the power adapter. If there is not a jumper on the pins, it is a slave. If there is a jumper on pins seven and eight, which are the two on the left, the drive is a master or single drive.

  2. Look for two rows of four pins on a 2. 5-inch Western Digital EIDE drive. If there is no jumper on the pins, it is a master drive. If a jumper connects pins A and B, which are the two on the right, it is a slave drive.

  3. Look for two rows of five pins on a 3.5-inch Western Digital EIDE drive. If a jumper connects pins five and six, which are the center pins on each row, it is a master. If the jumper connects pins three and four, which are the pins second to the right, it is a slave.


  • Seagate: Jumper Settings for Seagate and Maxtor ATA Hard Drives
  • WDC: Jumper Settings WD SATA and EIDE Hard Drives


  • If two drives are on the same IDE cable, one is the master and the other is the slave. You only need to identify one of the drives to know the designation of the other. If you identify one as the slave, the other must be the master.

Writer Bio

A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.

IDE Primary Master

This menu is used to set the data for the hard disk connected as master to the first IDE bus. The hard disk data (size, number of cylinders, heads, sectors, pre-compensation and home position of the heads when the disk is switched off) are displayed automatically for the connected hard disk.

Phoenix — AwardBIOS CMOS Setup Utility

IDE Primary Master

IDE HDD Auto-Detection

[Press Enter]

Item Help




IDE Channel 0 Master



Access Mode










0 MB














Landing Zone












↑ ↓ → ← :Move Enter:Select +/-/PU/PD:Value F10:Save ESC:Exit F1:Help

F5: Previous Values F6: Fail-Safe Defaults F7: Optimized Defaults

IDE HDD Auto-Detection

Automatic detection of the hard disk is initiated by pressing the <Enter> key. After a few seconds the physical data of the connected hard disk should be displayed in the lower section of the menu.

IDE Channel 0 Master

This parameter is used for configuring the IDE bus. The following options are available:

  • None (no hard disk connected to this bus connection)
  • Auto (auto-detection during each boot process)
  • Manual (the hard disk is addressed with the set parameters)

Access Mode

This option can be used to select the operating system for the hard disk. Setting options: CHS, LBA, LARGE, or Auto. Auto is the recommended setting. Normal (standard) mode supports hard disks with a capacity of up to 528 MB. This mode uses positions for data access that are specified via cylinders (CYLS), heads, and sectors. The older LBA (Logical Block Addressing) mode can support hard disks with a capacity of up to 8.4 GB. This mode uses a different method for calculating the position disk data to be accessed. It translates cylinders, heads and sectors into a logical address for the data location. Large hard disks support this mode. The BIOS supports the INT 13h extension function that enables the LBA mode to manage hard disk drives with a capacity of more than 8.4 GB. If the number of cylinders (CYLs) on the hard disk exceeds 1024 and DOS cannot support it, or if your operating system does not support LBA mode, LARGE mode should be selected. The following options are available for setting the hard disk access mode:

  • CHS
  • LBA
  • Auto

The following parameters are automatically determined and displayed.


Storage capacity of the hard disk. This value is calculated from the individual hard disk parameters.


Define or set the number of cylinders. Depending on the BIOS version and the manufacturer it varies between 1,024 and 16,384 cylinders.


Define or set the number of heads. The number is between 1 and 16 heads.


Write pre-compensation, required for older hard disks. This parameter specifies the cylinder from which a difference in the information density is to be expected.

Landing Zone

This parameter defines the so-called landing zone or park cylinder. This is the resting position for the hard disk head when the hard disk motor is switched off.


Define or set the number of sectors per track. Up to 63 sectors are supported, for Phoenix up to 64.

Primary IDE Master, IDE Channel 0 Master, Primary Master

Other identical option names: IDE Channel 0 Master, Primary Master.

There are several options in the BIOS for configuring hard drives and other internal drives (drives). The Primary IDE Master option is one of the most commonly used of its kind.

Article content

  • How it works
  • Which value should I choose?

How it works

Typically, before the advent of the SATA interface, most personal computer motherboards only supported IDE interface drives. Typically, the user could install no more than 4 drives — hard drives or CD / DVD drives. Two of them can be located on the primary IDE channel (Primary), and the other two on the secondary channel (Secondary). In each of these two pairs of drives, one drive is the Master and the other is the Slave. Thus, in total, the BIOS, as a rule, has four options for configuring drives:

  • Primary IDE Master
  • Primary IDE Slave
  • Secondary IDE Master
  • Secondary IDE Slave

Each IDE channel is a connector that connects to an IDE data cable, which in turn has three connectors. One of them is designed to connect to the IDE connector on the motherboard, the other two are for connecting drives. The choice of which category the drive will belong to — the Master or Slave category, is determined solely by the installation of jumpers on the drives, which must be carried out in accordance with the instructions attached to the drive.

In the parameter you can see a number of sub-options that can define the type of drive, its characteristics, capacity and some operating parameters.

The most important of these options is the Type option. As a rule, it can take the following values:

  • Auto – drive type is determined automatically
  • User — the user can set the drive type manually
  • CDROM — the drive is a CD/DVD drive
  • ZIP — drive is an Iomega ZIP 9 type device0014
  • LS-120 — the drive is an LS-120 type device
  • None — this device is not used

Also in this option, you can sometimes select a predefined type of drive, indicated by some number, for example, from 0 to 50. cylinders and sectors.

The following additional options are also often found:

  • LBA Mode
  • IDE HDD Block Mode or Multi-Sector Transfers
  • Programmed I/O Modes

Which value should I choose?

Typically, after the drive is connected and the computer boots up, the BIOS will automatically set the drive’s Type to Auto. This means that the BIOS automatically detects all drive parameter values ​​and does not require manual configuration.

The vast majority of IDE drives support auto tuning. The only exceptions can be very old drives, occasionally found in ancient computers, for which you may need to manually set the number of heads, cylinders and sectors.

The LBA Mode option needs some explanation. This option is to enable the addressing mode used by hard drives larger than 504 MB. If you are using a smaller hard drive, then you must disable this option. For the rest of the settings, it’s best to leave the default values.

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Hard disk jumpers

So, dear readers, here we come to practice and now we will learn how to correctly place jumpers on hard disk . Jumpers on the hard drive (they are also called «jumpers») are used to indicate to the computer which of the two devices on the «channel» (controller) is the master (« Master «), and which is the slave (slave — ««). Slave «).

But, again, before you start configuring, placing jumpers, you must first clearly understand how it all functions!

I propose to start acquaintance with the very interface cable IDE aka — ATA aka — PATA 🙂 Find out why such a leapfrog with names from the previous article.

There is a general rule — we connect the blue «block» to the connector on the motherboard, and connect (ATA / ATAPI) devices to the gray and black ones.

BUT! As Mr. Constantine said in the film of the same name: «Everything has a catch!» 🙂 The fact is that various manufacturers of cables can decorate these very «pads» — as God puts on the soul (there are green or red). I don’t know, maybe they match the color of the motherboard? 🙂

So color is not our helper. What then? This is the spec , which clearly «says» that the end of the longer cable is connected to the board, and the remaining two connectors (on the shorter cable) are connected to the devices. Moreover, «Master» is always at the end of the cable, and «Slave» is closer to the middle.

Do you think you can’t do the opposite? Can! 🙂 And it will work great, but in the article I will periodically mention the word « standard » or « specification » and here we will have to respectfully shut up and agree, relying on the fact that people from « INCITS » (InterNational Committee for Information Tecnology Standards) write documentation for a reason 🙂

You see how not easy it is for us to get to the jumpers on the hard drive! The topic is quite confusing and clinically complicated by the fact that at one time (even before the final regulation of all the nuances of the above organization) hardware manufacturers managed to make enough equipment that turned out to be incompatible with each other.

At the same time, some hard drives from different manufacturers refused to work on one channel, the operating system could not boot if the only drive on the controller was configured as “Slave”, an inverted IDE cable will not work on all motherboards, Chinese interface cables may “fail” etc.).

But these are «childhood diseases» of devices of the transitional period, and if something does not work, then we look at « standard » and — shut up… shut up… 🙂

We continue to move on — to our jumpers on hard drives. I promise we’ll get to them! Now I want to draw your attention to the fact that on any (standard) ATA cable, the first pin (wire) is always marked (usually red). Pay attention to the photo below:

Self-respecting manufacturers (I include Seagate as such) place visual clues on the upper surface of their products that you can navigate.

As you can see, the first «vein» (Pin) is honestly written on the disk itself, with an arrow indicating which side of the connector it should be connected to.

I hasten to reassure you: even if you connect the cable the wrong way (upside down or something else), the equipment will not burn out, there will be no short circuit, and it will not fail. Maximum — the system will not start (when the computer is turned on, it will rotate all the fans, but there will be a Malevich square on the monitor :)).

The above is also true for connecting to the controller on the motherboard. You ask: How can an IDE (ATA) cable be connected incorrectly if it has a «key» on its connector?

The fact is that during the period of transition from an interface cable with 40 conductors to 80 conductors (with additional grounding), the first of them did not have this «key» and it could easily be plugged into the controller on the wrong side. One of the photos above is just a close-up showing both types of interface cable (80-wire has one missing pin in the middle of the connector).

What is left for us in such a situation? Only rely on the conscience of motherboard manufacturers, which (according to « specification «. .. remember — we are silent and tolerant 🙂 ) must number the first contact (pin) of the IDE connector on their products.

See the number «1» circled in red? This is the very first contact. What is the result? Knowing (by marking) where the first pin is located on the interface cable and the first contact on the board itself, we will definitely be able to correctly connect all this economy the first time 🙂

Another hint is that the data cable should always (think briefly about different Chinese manufacturers) be installed with the first (marked) pin towards the hard drive power connector. Sounds kind of confusing, right? It is better to see once in the photo below:

First, we see here the full version of the connection prompt from the manufacturer. Secondly, we see that the conductor marked in red is deployed to the Molex connector, which comes from the computer’s power supply. This is the Feng Shui connection 🙂

Let’s take a closer look at the section on hard drive jumpers.

What hints are there? «Jumpers» they are — jumpers can (according to this table) provide five different modes of operation. We will be mainly interested in the first two, because they are the most commonly used in practice.

According to them, (the location of the jumper is indicated by a rectangle) our hard drive can operate in the “ Slave ” mode (“ SL” — slave, slave, secondary) or in the “ Master ” mode (“ MA” — master, master, primary) device on the controller. The jumper on the hard drive, in this case, is located on the right edge. Subordination here is more conditional and necessary rather to comply with the order of priority for accessing the controller.

Moreover, the controllers themselves located on the motherboard fall under exactly the same classification. Usually the leader (master) is blue. If we connect two devices to different channels and go into the BIOS, we will clearly see this picture:

We carefully look at the photo above and delve into it 🙂 A Western Digital hard drive (WD2000JB) is connected to the primary IDE controller ( Primary ), in the « Master » mode. And to the secondary controller ( Secondary ), similarly in « Master » — an optical drive. Positions «Slave» on both controllers, as you can see, are not occupied.

Let’s stop for a moment and think about what all this leapfrog with jumpers on a hard drive is for? As you remember, the ATA standard is parallel in nature to . This means that each channel can only process one request to one (from one) device at any given time. The next request, even to another device, will wait for the current request to complete. Different IDE channels can work completely autonomously.

And that’s it in order for the computer to «understand» from «who» the request came from (DVD-rum or — which specific hard drive) and jumpers are needed on the hard drive, CD or DVD drives.

With this, I hope, figured out, roll on! 🙂 Let’s (for the sake of completeness) analyze the remaining positions of the jumpers in the photo above. What is “Enable cable select” (abbreviated as “ Cable select ”, very short as “ CS ”)? This is a mode in which (depending on the location on the loop) «Master» and «Slave» are determined automatically.

And everything would be fine, but the problem with this mode of operation is that a special loop is needed to implement it. It is symmetrical, i.e. if you fold it in half, then exactly in the middle there will be a connector. It is he who is connected to the motherboard, and both remaining extreme «blocks» — to IDE devices. As you may have guessed, this mode did not take root and we continue to set jumpers on hard drives manually 🙂

Look at the photo above again. What do we have next in line? «Master with non-ATA compatible slave» (master with non-ATA compatible slave). It’s hard to figure out right away why such a mode might be needed … Perhaps when the computer does not recognize the «slave» and we thus refuse to identify it, but loading the operating system becomes possible. As you can see from the picture, in this case we need to use two jumpers at the same time. The second one can be taken from any other drive, or you can close the two necessary pins with something from improvised means 🙂

What do we have in the photo? « Limit drive capacity to 32 Gbytes » (limit the «visibility» limit of the hard drive for the system to 32 gigabytes). Do you think this is a crazy idea? Remember Mr Constantine? « There’s a catch in everything !» 🙂

The fact is that during the next (no doubt heroic) jump in hard drive capacity (due to an increase in the amount of addressable space) from 32 to 137 gigabytes, the BIOS of old motherboards simply did not «see» more than 32 gigabytes and refused to work. with big values.

I had such a situation when I bought a friend on the radio market for his old computer a used 40 gigabyte hard drive, but after installing it, things did not move further than the BIOS. The computer simply didn’t detect it on the controller. I had to set the jumper to the «Capacity to 32 Gbytes» position. Naturally, we «lost» 8 gigabytes, but everything worked! It would be possible to reflash the BIOS, but looking for its «new» version for the old motherboard is another task 🙂

I wanted to show you one more photo with information on how to arrange jumpers on a hard drive from Fujitsu.

I brought this photo in order to show you that such stickers (stickers) are very different, the principle of designating jumpers on a hard drive is the same. Only the designation « Master » (or — « MA» ) and « Slave » (or — « SL» ) will remain unchanged.

The jumper itself on the hard drive is a plastic rectangle with a metal plate inside, the main function of which is to close two contacts on the hard drive connector. Here’s what it looks like:

You can remove the jumper with your fingers (with some skill) or with thin tweezers. Just pull it out and rearrange it to two adjacent contacts, according to the marking.

This is what the jumper looks like on a standard DVD-ROM drive:

At the end of the article, I would like to give general recommendations on connecting heterogeneous devices to one IDE controller. It is clear that at first you will have to set jumpers in a certain order on hard drives or ATAPI devices (CD or DVD drives).