Add New HDD in Windows XP - How to Add a New SATA or IDE Hard Drive to a Windows XP Computer

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Hard Drive Types

Adding a hard drive to Windows XP can be intimidating. This tutorial will discuss two different types of hard drives, SATA and IDE. While solid state drives are available, this tutorial will focus on the aforesaid two drive types.

IDE Drives

IDE Drives have 40 pins and a set of jumper pins that make the drive a ‘slave’ or ‘master.’ These drives use 80 pin cables that attach to the motherboard with one of two controllers. The controllers on the motherboard are normally labeled Primary or Secondary.

SATA Drives

Newer computers today have SATA drives and controllers on board. These drives are simple to install and the only jumper on these drives controls the speed (not found on all drives). SATA drives are controlled by SATA controllers on the motherboard. The connection to this drive is much smaller than the IDE drive’s cable and is L shaped. The controllers on the motherboard are labeled as SATA 0, 1, etc. The number of controllers depends on the individual motherboard. SATA 0 usually controls the ‘main’ drive that contains the operating system.

Tools Needed

You will need the following items:

A crosstip screw driver and four screws for a hard drive (generally 6-32)

A power supply with a Molex connector for an IDE Drive or a SATA connector for SATA drives.

Installing the Drive into the Chassis (Case)

Generally most cases have 3.5” cages inside for hard drives. Find an open area and slide the drive into the cage. Use the four screws and snug these down. Do not over tighten. Always mount the label upright (label up). The open connector ends should be placed to the inside of the case.

Attaching the Cables


After installing the drive, plug the SATA drive controller cable (usually blue, red or orange) into the hard drive. This cable’s end will need to be aligned to the hard drive’s connector. (L-Shaped) Now plug in the SATA power connector. Plug the other end of the SATA controller cable into the SATA controller in the motherboard. Use the lowest number labeled on the motherboard. Do not unplug any drives unless you are replacing the drive.


After installing the drive, plug the IDE cable (usually gray or black with a single stripe down one side) into the hard drive. The striped side should be placed into the drive towards the power connector (Molex).

Note: If another IDE device is on the IDE cable, look at the jumper on this device and move the new drive’s jumper to the opposite setting.

Example for IDE installation: If you have a CD-ROM on a single IDE controller and wish to put the drive on the same cable, make sure you have an IDE cable that supports two drives and look at the CD-ROM’s jumper. If it is on ‘slave’, move the jumper on your new drive to ‘master’.


To configure your drive, enter the BIOS turning on your computer after the installation and hit DEL, ESC or another combination to enter your BIOS. (See your computer’s or motherboard’s documentation)

After entering the BIOS, let the BIOS detect the drive. If you are replacing a hard drive because of a failure, set the boot sequence to CD/DVD. Put your operating system in the CD/DVD drive and reboot to start the installation.

If you are adding the drive as extra storage, reboot the computer and enter windows. After doing so, right click on My Computer and go to Manager. Click on Disk Management. Right Click on the new drive and partition the drive. After partitioning the drive, right click and format the drive. The drive is now ready for files.

If you are replacing the drive and need to clone your old drive, use the hard drive manufacturers disk (CD) and boot to the CD and follow the onscreen instructions. The program will find and initialize the drive, copy files and have you pull the old drive and move the cable of the new drive to the old drives position. (IDE drives may need to have the jumper moved after the program copies files)

Follow all instructions from the manufacturer and always shut your computer down when installing cables or moving jumper pins.


If you have an older Windows XP CD, you may need to use an application such as nLite to slipstream the latest service pack. If your drive is detected as 127 GB (But is much larger), it will need to be installed after you get the latest Windows XP service pack. If your drive is not detected, recheck the cables and all BIOS settings. Some BIOS settings will need to have the AHCI or IDE Native mode selected (SATA Drives).

Pictures and Details of SATA device connection


Western Digital