How to get my hard drive to recognize other drives.
July 23, 2008 4:22 AM   Subscribe

I have two computer hard drives installed onto one machine, and no CD for the first hard drive. The computer doesn't recognize USB ports nor the DVD drive on one of the hard drives. How can I fix that?

To make things easier to understand. I had an older computer whose motherboard went out, we'll call that one hard drive A. I bought a new computer (computer/hard drive B) and installed the A hard drive.

It'll boot fine to the A hard drive, but it's only recognizing the hard drive itself. It cannot connect to the USB port nor the DVD drive.

If I go into Computer Management, there is no listing for USB nor DVD. How exactly would I fix this?

I prefer to use the A hard drive over the B hard drive because naturally all my files/software/etc. are located on that one. Some of that software was purchased online without a CD, so I don't know how to "move" it to another hard drive.

If it matters, both are running XP and both are and were eMachines.

So how do I fix this?
posted by magnoliasouth to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
On hard drives using IDE controllers there are jumper pins which, when shorted in a specific combination tell the BIOS which hard drive is the boot drive and which hard drive is the slave hard drive. These jumper settings are specific to the manufacturer of the hard drive, go to the web site and look up the model number listed on the Hard drive label.

The USB, CD, DVD are generally sensed from the mother boards BIOS on startup. Have you changed the BIOS settings - quite often that is accessed by pressing the DEL key on boot up.

Do have the mother board's manual in hand to explain terms when you do this.

Links are specific to manufacturer and model so none can be provided.
posted by ptm at 4:53 AM on July 23, 2008

If you bought a new computer and put in the hard drive from your previous computer and boot-up using the old hard drive, it's quite likely that you simply don't have the drivers to use the hardware in the new computer. Go to the the eMachine website and download all the drivers for the new computer and install them.
posted by lockle at 5:08 AM on July 23, 2008

id you don't know what "drivers" are - the computer sometimes needs extra programs to help it use things like cds and the usb. exactly which programs (drivers) varies with computer model. it keeps these programs on the hard drive. so your new model is finding the programs (drivers) for the old model, which it may not be able to use. this is a common problem and computer manufacturers provide these programs (drivers) on their websites - which is what lockle is recommending you go get.
posted by not sure this is a good idea at 6:00 AM on July 23, 2008

Several questions (going to assume that you need as much info as you can get - apologize if advice is overly simplistic):

Does the system BIOS recognize the peripherals? The BIOS is the system software contained on a chip on the computer main board that handles the basic operation of the system - such as what is installed, and how it is configured. Check this. If the BIOS does not recognize a device, Windows will never see it. Older systems had an extended boot screen that lists devices as they are detected on start up. Most newer computers have a "quick boot" option on by default, so that instead of seeing the system start-up info you see a big company logo, then the Windows start up screen. There should be an option listed on the system start-up screen (plain text or company logo screen) to enter system setup (something like "Hit DEL to enter setup", or occasionally F2, or control-alt-enter... depends on the machine. If you see nothing listed, try any of the above.) In your system BIOS you'll want to check the settings for peripherals and boot devices. Make sure it is detecting your drives, or turn on auto-detect if that option is available. You might need to look up generic directions for your specific BIOS if you can't figure this out (that is, if the BIOS is from American Megatrends look that up, or if it's Phoenix look that up, and so forth - the method for changing BIOS settings from any one company are fairly similar across systems).

Are your devices jumpered correctly? If the BIOS looks OK (all devices detected) you might be OK to move to the next step below, but if not check your jumper settings. Each flat IDE ribbon cable can have two devices plugged in to it, one set as Master and one set as Slave. The Master (device 0) gets priority over the Slave (dev 1) device. There should be a jumper on the back of each hard drive or CD/DVD drive, a little white or black connector that links two pins together. The jumpers can be moved to tell the device whether it is the Master or Slave. If you have conflicting settings (like two Masters on the same connection), things won't work. In addition, some drives have extended settings - like "Single" (=Master with no slave) or "Master, Slave Present" (when there is a slave device). There is often a "Cable Select" setting as well, which lets the computer decide which device should be Master or Slave (usually Master is at the end of the cable, while Slave is in the middle). If one device is set to "Cable Select" all the rest should be as well, otherwise explicitly change settings by moving the jumpers. There should be a small legend depicting Master/Slave jumper positions somewhere on the drive, either on the back or on the top label. Some basic pictures and info on how to do this. Change the settings if necessary, then restart the system, enter the BIOS and make sure everything is properly detected.

Reboot. Does Windows detect the hardware now? If everything works at this point, you might stop here, but it is possible that you will continue to have problems due to Windows looking for system devices that were present in your old computer but are not present in the new one. Best recommendation is to continue following advice below.

Did you reinstall Windows after placing your old drive into the new machine? If not you may need to do so. You will very likely have to start the system, go into Device Manager and remove everything. Restart the computer, using the XP boot disk, reinstall Windows (do a repair reinstall). What you are doing here is removing all of the system-specific drivers used by your old computer. The new one is an eMachine, but it is not likely an identical system - clear out all the old settings and start fresh. This should not affect any of your installed programs, but back up your data before doing anything just to be sure. Note that per the instructions from Microsoft that for the best chance of success you'll need to uninstall some MS software, such as IE 7, if it is present on your system before proceeding.

Reboot again. You will very likely have a lot of hardware detected and installed automatically. You will probably have to have the eMachines drivers disk for your new computer handy, to reinstall all of the motherboard-specific drivers (built-in controllers, onboard video, that sort of thing). If you don't have the disk, you can download drivers from the eMachines site for your specific model of computer. Add those in, reboot, and hopefully you should be golden (aside from reinstalling all of the Microsoft service packs and security updates...)
posted by caution live frogs at 7:00 AM on July 23, 2008

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