Computer Support Professional - Installing A Secondary Drive Into A Modular Bay

Nowadays, most notebook computers have at least one modular bay. They're designed to let you easily add a swappable secondary IDE device, such as a CD-R/RW or hard drive, to your system. On some systems, you can even use the modular bay for an additional battery, which is great for those long flights to northern Siberia. In our next example, we'll walk you through the steps for installing a secondary hard drive in a notebook's modular bay.

Getting the parts you need

Some manufacturers offer a secondary hard drive module for sale only at the time of the notebook's original purchase. These units come with pre-installed hard drives. You can usually save money by purchasing the hard drive module and the hard drive itself separately. If you're persistent and can locate the part number for the modular tray, try calling the manufacturer's parts division. When you place the order, make sure the assembly kit is complete, including screws and any required adapters. If the manufacturer denies the part exists or won't sell it to you, chances are that you'll find what you need on any of the popular Internet auction sites.

Install the hard drive

Once you'e acquired the hard drive module and the hard drive itself, you're ready to begin. As we mentioned earlier, take some time to examine your notebook's current IDE configuration. Ask yourself, "How's the device that's currently in the modular bay configured?" Next, familiarize yourself with the jumper settings for the hard drive you're installing. You'll need to make those drive settings match the settings for the existing device in the modular bay.

To begin the actual hard drive installation, open the hard drive module. Locate the physical location to install the hard drive and carefully examine the interface cable's header. Make sure everything's going to fit as expected and that you have everything you need. For example some hard drive modules requires that the hard drive be inserted upside down. Furthermore, it rests on a set of rubber cushions and doesn't mount with screws or any other type of fastener. The only thing holding it in place is the top cover of the hard drive module.

We first configure the drive with the appropriate jumper settings. Next, we connect the IDE interface cable, making sure its sockets align properly with the corresponding pins at the rear of the drive. Finally, we lay the drive in its carrier and secure the top cover of the hard drive module.

Read the tip Using a secondary hard drive.

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