Monday, November 13, 2006

Weekend Projects: Fallout from the Installation of a Serial ATA Hard Drive, a WRN Special Update to the Special Report

The weekend has passed and I actually performed the task which I most desired. I purchased and attempted to install a 160 GB Serial ATA Hard Drive. The item in question is actually an SATA 2 drive, but the store clerk assured me that they were retro-compatible. Since this was a local computer hardware store and not a big box retailer that shall remain nameless and sucky, I took him at his word.

After fucking around with 4 attempts to squeeze sandwichslot the new drive in between my two older drives, I gave up and moved it into one of the other drive bays that are sized for CD Drives, burners, DVD drives and that sort of thing. It is being held in place by two screws on one side of the drive and the other side is just floating out in the air between the oversize mounting brackets. (That sounds like a computer geek romance novel, In the Space Between the Mounting Brackets, out next quarter from Harlequin.) Anyway, I figured that once I got it installed and formatted I would move all the music porndata from the old 20 GB drive onto the new drive and then remove the old drive and send it to my Dad for the War on Christmas.

That would have been a nice gift and would have continued the tradition I started two Wars ago, when I gave him the entire computer from which this drive originated. At the time, the computer was 3 years old and 1 GHz and the fastest computer my father had ever owned. It now runs Linux and he is really happy with it. Last year, in honor of the Grand Peoples’ Liberal Army’s continued breakthroughs in the War on Christmas, I gave my father a 1.2 or 1.4 GHz laptop, docking station and monitor. He was floored. I also paid him back some money I owed him and it was like I had told him that I was giving up computer games for engineering school or something. Anyway, my mother was not exactly pleased with the gifts of that year, but she has since come around due to functionality of the laptop. (It actually works and can be used to send and receive email, which is something new for my parents.)

But I digress yet again, I installed the new drive semi-properly and hooked up the power and information cables. These cables are only able to be hooked up in the proper manner, so I know I did that right. I used a can of air to blow out all the dust from the heat sink over the processor and then blew out the rest of the case.

I then turned on the computer and expected to see my standard load screen. Instead, I saw an unformatted HD screen and it told me to hit TAB to enter the BIOS. Well, I hit TAB and nothing happened. Then the computer told me to hit DEL to do something else and that didn’t work either. I put my Windows XP Pro disc in the drive and then rebooted. Nothing different happened and the keyboard didn’t work again. I then attached a Non-USB keyboard and rebooted. The keyboard commands were not recognized again. I decided that I would unplug the new drive from the motherboard and try to boot the computer to check to see if it still worked at all.

The computer booted up really slowly and then behaved…erratically. I became extremely pissed and annoyed at myself. I figured that I had broken something while mucking about in the innards of my poor processor. Well, the problems I was having running any program at all since installing the drive were solved when I removed the Windows disc. So that is wonderful. I haven’t broken anything yet, but the Windows disc sure does delay all functions of my computer.

Tonight, I am going to stick the Windows the disc in my drive, unplug my old IDE drives and then plug in my new drive and see what happens. I can’t remember if the Windows disc will act as a boot disc, but I hope it will, because then I hope to install Windows and format the drive and then I will either set the IDE drives to slave status or get the computer running with the SATA drive as Master and then reboot and muck about in the BIOS and set the new drive as a Slave.

Some might say that I am going about this in the extremely hard way. To them, I say that my Wang allows nothing less. Also, installing Windows isn’t the problem, installing my download-only virus protection and firewall. I don’t want to sit on hold with the virus protection people for three hours trying to get them to send me a disc with the software. This is an immaterial matter, some might say, since I already have to do that because the update I paid for and dowloaded does not work and my subscription does not seem to have worked either.

Oh, the plight of the genoius.

14 Comments:

14 Responses to “Weekend Projects: Fallout from the Installation of a Serial ATA Hard Drive, a WRN Special Update to the Special Report”

  1. almostinfamous Says:

    my 120GB drive hung in there on 2 screws for about 18 months. it’s still around, but stuck in an extl enclosure.

    btw, the last time i did this, i ended up with an iBook. i seriously hate upgrades

  2. Chuckles Says:

    Enh, it isn’t so bad. If this keeps up I may outpace ony of my brothers of indeterminate number’s grasp of computer hardware. And he went to school for computer engineering/programming. I was homeschooled in computer engineering.

  3. Adorable Girlfriend Says:

    This is a post of epic nerd proportions. Where’s dEn and the fun posts?

    Spinach dip!!

  4. Chuckles Says:

    This blog is titled Well Rounded Nerds, AG.

    This blog is not Overly-Critical Girlfriends.

  5. Res Publica Says:

    I wish I could tell you why you can’t access the BIOS…that’s weird. I think you are barking up the wrong tree with the “master/slave” stuff, even though it’s hot. Your SATA drive isn’t on the same bus as your IDE/PATA drives. I don’t think SATA even has a “bus”, properly speaking; each drive has it’s own host controller off the southbridge. There is no such thing as “master” and “slave” on SATA, because the underlying physical architecture is point-to-point, so there’s no need for bus arbitration.

  6. Chuckles Says:

    OK, I may have spoken waaaaaay too soon about knowing jack about booting.

    The only thing I know about bus systems is that the one in DC sucks santorum. All the bridges in DC are in the south, too. I don’t think that helps me any.

    I have to work my other job tonight, so I won’t get back to this until almost ten o’clock. I plan on disconnecting the old drives and trying to boot off of my Windows CD and see what happens. If if doesn’t work, I will take it to a store and pay them to fix it. Then I will demand a detailed report in five paragraphs, so I can learn from the experience. Or not.

  7. dontEATnachos Says:

    Res,

    I don’t think Chuckles is going to understand anything you just said. He’s kind of more in the “Does this shapey plug fit into that size port?” type of computer upgrade guy.

    I was out of town so I wasn’t able to walk him through the upgrade but could foresee this outcome from the first post.

    The problem is most likely the fact that he’s running mixed mode SATA and IDE hard drives and trying to use one of the slower IDE drives as his primary boot device.

  8. Chuckles Says:

    Yeah, what dEn said. With all those words that mean stuff.

    If I hit my computer with a rock and yell at it, will that change the situation? That usually works with girlfriends and other oddities of nature.

    I have another friend that finds this problem intellectually stimulating but was busy yesterday. He also says that you two have an “old mindset” when it comes to reinstalling Windows XP every year. I foresee a nerd off.

  9. Res Publica Says:


    If I hit my computer with a rock and yell at it, will that change the situation?

    Yes, but not for the better.

    As re: reinstalling XP on a regular basis…I am open to being taken to the woodshed on that particular point. I don’t think your average home user necessarily needs to reinstall (or wouldn’t, if the average home user didn’t so thoroughly excel at hosing his/her PC). In my case, I have installed and uninstalled a lot of software (beta and otherwise) over the past couple of years, and crap starts to pile up. I suppose any system problems can be individually repaired, but sometimes it’s just easier to reimage the system.

    As I said, Microsoft is claiming that SuperFetch will cause the average performance of a Windows Vista installation to actually improve over time. I didn’t keep it on my notebook long enough to verify that claim, but I hope it’s true.

  10. Res Publica Says:

    Chucks, why don’t you just get a second SATA drive and ditch the IDE granny-drives? You could get a relatively small one just to hold the OS and software for a very reasonable price, and then you won’t have to mess with all this dual-mode crap. Make a clean break with the past! EMBRACE THE FUTURE, MAN!

  11. almostinfamous Says:

    i went to school for electrical engineering.

    i can put together my own computer, though not macgyver style like some nerds and i STILL hate upgrades.

  12. almostinfamous Says:

    Microsoft is claiming that SuperFetch will cause the average performance of a Windows Vista installation to actually improve over time. I didn’t keep it on my notebook long enough to verify that claim, but I hope it’s true.

    they said the samething about their (now-abandoned) new file system.

    the proof of the OS is in the not-crashing, Res

  13. Chuckles Says:

    Res, I could just ditch the old drives but that would be easy and productive. I am not the kind of man that does things the easy and productive way. I do things the hard way and educational way.

    aif: That almost seems like a shame, since you certainly have more artistic ability than the average engineer.

  14. Adorable Girlfriend Says:

    If dEn continues to rip on Chuckie like this, AG is going to have to formulate a crush on him too!

    And Chuckie, shut it!