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Dude, where's my disk?

So I have this Dell Inspiron 1100 with 2 IDE hard drives and 2 optical drives. I figure I'll slip a SATA controller in there and get some extra storage going.

Find the drivers, install them, plug in the controller and the disk... and nothing.

Went to my BIOS setup screen and I can't figure out how to get this extra disk recognized by the system.

Any ideas from the w1z4rd h4xx0rz out there?

[Edit:] Huge thanks to my commenters who found an answer for me - It turns out that the Disk Management option is something I had never played with in all my years of using XP, and it was waiting to create a new volume and format it. Huzzah!]

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Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:56 am (UTC)
This is Tricksy.

I strongly recommend parsing the Dell tech support forums at dell.com for the solution for that specific model.

Mar. 3rd, 2010 07:40 am (UTC)
Did you upgrade the bios?
Mar. 3rd, 2010 10:22 am (UTC)
I've never tried this myself. Either my MBs have built-in SATA support or I don't bother with SATA.

But at least here's how I think it would work:

The drive itself probably won't be recognized directly by the BIOS. It will be the controller card that accesses the drive; you just need the computer to recognize the card.

If you won't be booting from the new drive, you can probably get away with just installing your controller's drivers (you might not even need any aside from standard IDE controller support) in Windows (or whatever you use) and that should be enough to get the new drive working. (Windows usually just bypasses the BIOS whenever possible anyway, because it's faster.)

If you want to boot from the SATA drive, look for something in the BIOS setup that says "Boot from option ROM" or "Enable other boot devices" instead. The controller card might have its own setup utility too (look for a "press TAB" prompt during bootup) for enabling booting from the drive. Depending on how your BIOS supports this (assuming it supports it at all!), you'd technically be booting from the controller card instead of the drive, but it's pretty much the same thing anyway.

Well, that's my theories at least. I hope I helped, at least a little! (Don't make me come down there!)
Mar. 3rd, 2010 11:15 am (UTC)
>If you won't be booting from the new drive, you can probably get away with just installing your controller's drivers (you might not even need any aside from standard IDE controller support) in Windows (or whatever you use)

I won't be booting from the drive - just want it for extra storage space. This bit confuses me, because I did install the card's drivers before I put the card in, and it was recognized and properly installed at bootup. Am I missing something when you say "install the drivers in Windows?"
Mar. 4th, 2010 12:26 am (UTC)
As said previously, there's also the BIOS limit of the drive size, though this shouldn't matter when using the SATA card. Don't know what OS you're running though, but each has its limit on hard drive size: http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_drives/hard_drive_size_barriers.htm

Though, that Dell Inspiron is pretty old, around the year 2000, correct?
Mar. 4th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
Probably not.

Right-click "My Computer", choose "Manage" and find "Disk Management". Your new drive should show up there. (If not, something else is wrong. Try to find it in "Device Manager".) If it really is a new drive, and hasn't been partitioned and formatted yet, it will show up in the bottom list with a black bar and the word "Unallocated". Right-click there, choose "New Partition" and you will be guided through the process of setting up a file system on the drive.

If there already is a partition set up and formatted with a valid file system (preferably NTFS but FAT32 is supported too), and it shows up on the list as "Healthy", confirm that it has a drive letter assigned. If not, you can quickly right-click and assign one.
Mar. 4th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, I forgot about this. Brand new un-partitioned drives do not show up in My Computer.

Though, since Windows 2000, they designed a limit of 32GB partitions using FAT32 (Despite the 127GB limit of FAT32). It is best to use NTFS for its reliability and ability to self heal.
Mar. 4th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
Dude! Awesome! Doing what you said brought up the new disk wizard. I'm off to the races!

Mar. 4th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)
Glad I could help!

Just out of curiosity, how much memory do you have in that computer?
Mar. 4th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
I'm maxed out at 2GB. I just upgraded from 1.25 last month. I now have one extra slot on my SATA card, and another disk to install as soon as I can figure out how to get power to it. The original power cable only had one SATA power canon on it. So I can get at least another year's use out of this box before I need to upgrade.
Mar. 4th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
You shouldn't be confused by "install the drivers in Windows?" since you had already done that before installing the card in the computer.
Mar. 4th, 2010 04:29 am (UTC)
And thanks to you K-sama for your input! :D
Mar. 4th, 2010 04:30 am (UTC)
Heh, you're welcome.


The Old Wolf

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