How do you install 2 PATA hard drives as a secondary drives on a Dell XPS 720 PC?

I have a Dell XPS 720 PC with Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz and  Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit operating system.

My primary hard drive is a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive. In addition to that I have a  Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5-TB 7,200 RPM 32 MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive. I want to add two PATA drives to this computer in addition to the two drives I already listed. I used to have these drives in my old PC.

Being able to install them on the XPS 720 will save me the time and trouble of turning onmy old PC whenever I need to retrieve data from those drives.

I've already opened my XPS 720 and I connected both drives to the IDE cable and I connected the drives to the power supply. When I turn on the 720 I go into the bios version A06 and I go into the DRIVES section and I  turn on the PATA but the 720 does not detect the drives. I get an error messsage telling me nothing is connected to the two pata connectors. When I reenter the bios I noticed that my two pata drives aren't being listed by the bios under their respective sections under pata. I tried switching the pata drives from cable select to the master/slave settings, but still no change. I took out the IDE cable and used another IDE cable in it's place but no change.

The connection used to work fine when i used it for my IDE dvd-rom drive. I read in the manuel that you could use the cables for hard drives too, but it doesn't give specifics on how to connect them. Can you connect PATA hard drives to the 720? I did read on another thread that you could only connect one pata hard drive at any give time, but that was for another Dell PC other then the 720. Should I turn on the RAID? Will that work? I'm afraid to because i read a thread where a person lost all their data by doing that. I've been back and forth on the tread trying to find a solution. Please help.


Also on a side note, what is the maximum amount of hard drive storage the 720 can use at any given time? Right now I'm noticing my 1.5TB hard drive will only let me format 1TB.

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Re: How do you install 2 PATA hard drives as a secondary drives on a Dell XPS 720 PC?

I do know that I had an issue with my IDE drive that if I enabled it in the bios it would cause the system to not get past post BUT if i left it disabled Windows did see and recognize the drive. So you might want to check that out. Seems like SATA and IDE don't play well together on the 720.

As to your other questions, DO NOT enable RAID. That function is for your SATA drives, and yes it will cause you to lose your Data as it will overwrite the MBR on the two SATA drives you all ready have.

There really is no limit on the amount of storage you can have running XP SP2 or greater.  Remember that a good portion of a hard disk is reserved for file management and disk operating memory so .5 out of a 1.5 TB is about right.


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Re: How do you install 2 PATA hard drives as a secondary drives on a Dell XPS 720 PC?

Well, I tried doing a few things in the FAQ. (http://en.community.dell.com/forums/t/19240903.aspx)  From there i used the wizard. From the wizard I learned that I needed to put my hard drives on cable select. I did this but the bios still couldn't detect the hard drives. To check to see if their was a problem with my ide cable or the connector on the motherboard I reconnected one of my IDE DVD-ROM drives to the master portion of the cable (the very end of the cable). My bios was able to detect the DVD drive. Then I disconnected the DVD drive and placed it in slave portion of the ide cable (which is the connector in the middle of the ide cable). It worked again. The bios was able to detect the drive. So I tried to connect two ide DVD-Rom drives to the master and slave portions of the ide cable. For some reason the bios was able to detect only one DVD-ROM drive. SO I determined nothing was wrong with the cable or the connector on the board. Apparently it is some type of incompatibility. I tried connecting only one pata hard drive to cable on the master portion of the ide cable and the bios was able to successfully detect the hard drive, but when I connected it to the slave portion it didn't detect the hard drive.

So basically I learned that I can only connect one pata hard drive, set to cable select, to the master portion of the IDE cable and I can add one IDE DVD-ROM drive to the slave portion of the cable, but i can't add two PATA hard drives at the same time and I can't add two IDE DVD drives at the same time.

I did read somewhere that you could only add one PATA hard drive at one time, but I wasn't sure if the info could be applied to my PC because the tread I read was talking about another Dell PC.

Davet50 , thanks for answering my post. I'll be sure never to turn on RAID. Are you sure about the limit to the 1.5 TB. I think the storage is limited by the actual computer, not the OS. most of the .5 TBs is raw.

.5 terrabytes = 500 gigabytes I think. That's an abnormally large amount to reserve for file management and disk operating memory.


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