View Full Version : Trouble trying to connect 4 IDE HD's

05-28-2005, 12:38 PM
Hello there. I'm a new member, so please be gentle, and thanks in advance for any help you may be able to provide....

Basically I have decided to separate my 2 pc's and use one for a "system" pc, and for writing cd's and dvd's, and the other one for strictly storage. So I have removed the dvd writers from machine #2 and have attempted to install 4 IDE HD's. However, the system doesn't seem to want to recognize them all at the same time. Actually, to be accurate, Windows XP, will not, as the system setup sees all 4 just fine. Does anyone know why this might be? One thing I am thinking may be a factor..... If there is an operating system on more than one drive, will one not be recognized? I have noticed that I see the WinXP logo for a long time before Windows actually starts. Here is my system information, and once again, thanks for any help you might be able to provide. I hope I have not forgotten anything. Incidentally, I have tried this substituting a 5th hard drive with similar problems, and that hard drive too has an operating system on it.

My system:

Intel 850GB Motherboard, P IV 1.6 GHZ 640 Megs RD RAM 300 watt power supply, ATI Rage 128 video and generic sound.

The Drives:

Primary Master: Western Digital WD 800 80 Gig HD with Win XP Pro
Primary Slave: Maxtor Diamond Max Plus 80 gig (data only)
Secondary Master: Western Digital WD 800 (data only)
Secondary Slave: Western Digital WD 1000 (

This last drive, while recognized in the bios, is not seen in Windows XP, and neither is the other WD 1000 I have tried in it's place. I have also just discovered that if I boot to a floppy boot disk, I see the contents of the first three, but the 4th HD is not there either, suggesting that this problem whatever it is, occurs before Windows is even started. Well, I'm stumped, I sure hope you all can help! :)



05-29-2005, 12:49 AM
If you have multiple partitions on your first drives, this could be the cause of your problem depending on how it was set up. Remember, some things haven't changed from the days of DOS due to maintaining backwards compatibility.

05-29-2005, 01:14 AM
I don't know your level of experience, but did you check for a new BIOS version for your motherboard? It is also possible that having Win on more than one disk is causing a problem, though I don't know for sure. Sorry I can't help you further.

05-29-2005, 05:35 AM
Thanks to both of you for your help. All drives are single-partitioned. And I was thinking that updating the bios may be worth a try, so will do that shortly. I am with you when you say that having an OS on more than one drive may in fact have something to do with it.....

Thanks again, and if anyone else has any ideas...... I'm listening :)


05-29-2005, 10:01 AM
If they are all single partitions, then you shouldn't be running into any compatibility problems. And having multiple drives with an OS installed will make no difference. Whatever drive is marked as the active drive will be used for the boot-up purposes. Try updating the BIOS and see what happens. If it still doesn't work out, we'll try to look at something else.

05-30-2005, 12:14 AM
Once again thanks for taking the time. Here is where I am at now.... My bios is the latest. I have connected the drives to the cables the way Western Digital recommends. And I have tried all combinations of master/slave/cable select. At this time, I have 3 of the 4 drives working and accessible in XP. However, at varying times, I have seen all 4 in the ide configuration and in the boot device section of cmos, only see 3 (or sometimes 2). Then when I boot, the WDC1000 is missing. (discs 0 1 and 3 present and accounted for). Not sure if it's relevant, but during this whole ordeal, WinXP has been extraordinarily slow to load. When we get to Window, Computer management shows C D and E but no F (WDC1000). Device manager however shows all 4 which I thought very strange. My Computer, and Windows explorer show only 3 of 4. Add new hardware shows all 4. One final thing, I changed the bood drive, from the WD 80 gig to another WD 1000 with WinXP on it, with no change. I hope this all makes sense to you guys, it's really got me baffled.

Thanks in advance,


05-30-2005, 10:01 AM
OK... so you're seeing the last drive under Device Manager but it doesn't get a drive letter? Silly question, but is it formatted? An unformatted drive will not appear under Explorer (My Computer).

05-30-2005, 12:35 PM
......300 watt power supply..........I'd start looking there, I ran into a similar problem trying to run 2 x hdd's and 2 x optical drives on a 300w psu. New psu no more problem.

While I'm not saying it is THE fix it is definately where I'd start especially if it is a generic psu.

05-30-2005, 09:40 PM
First of all, I am very impressed and very appreciative of everyone's help. Who ever said the internet's all bad? :)

The drive is formatted, and stuffed with music that I'd really like to have access to again..... Was working a week ago no problem as a slave in my other machine. As for the power supply, it is worth a shot, so I am going to go out and get one this morning.

Thanks again and I will report back later. Note: I have also sent an email to Western Digital to see if they have any ideas....


06-01-2005, 09:00 AM
Update time.....

Installed 450Watt power supply. No change.

Here's where we are now

Do not see the drive (100 gig) at all in Windows now, not in device manager, disk management or add new hardware. I DO however see it in the Cmos, under secondary master. However, upon boot it does not show. Clearly, there may be something physically wrong with the drive itsself. If I boot to a floppy, it says the drive is not partitioned. (it was a few days ago). My new question is this...... Since I cannot use partition magic, (because the drive does not show up in Windows) if I Fdisk the drive, what are my chances of recovering the data using Ontrack's Easy Recovery Professional? Or will an Fdisk wipe out any chance of that? Incidentally, I never did hear back from Western Digital on this.....

thanks again,


06-01-2005, 09:20 PM
You're using WinXP? If so then the reason that fdisk isn't seeing the partition is that it is using NTFS. fdisk is ancient in computer years and only recognizes up to FAT32. Since it cannot "see" the NTFS partition, it just tells you it doesn't have one. It would do the same thing if you were to use it on a Linux drive.

As to using fdisk to kill the current partition and repartition, while this process won't kill the data on the drive, it can be difficult to recover using any type of recovery software package. It can be especially hard to recover if your data is fragmented.

If you think the 100GB drive is bad, try hooking it up as the Primary Slave with just the bootable drive as the Master (no other hard drives) and see if you can access it. Also double check all hard drive jumpers as some are notorious for being very picky and not all drives have the same pinout for jumper settings. You might also make sure there is a small metal strip in the jumper. While rare, it is possible for the metal strip to work its way out and get lost, which makes the jumper useless as it can't short out two pins anymore.

Good luck.

06-02-2005, 08:45 AM
Sorry, I should have been more clear. While there is Win XP on this particular PC, I normally use Win2K Pro, and most if not all of my hard drives are Fat32 not NTFS. I have a few HD's I use for different purposes (testing, etc)..... As for your recommenation, I will try that, and will also try to boot it in my other (Win2k) machine.

Thanks again.