Two internal sata drives, both without jumpers.

Quick question for the forum, should be a simple answer (I hope). I have a custom built machine with two hard drives, a Western Digital Black 500 and a Seagate Barracuda 320. The 500 is being used for my windows install along with all my program files while the 320 is being used for my saved music and all my important documents, nothing installed on it, its just storage. I bought both OEM and I don't think either came with a jumper, if they were they were tossed out of pure idiocy. I originally used the 320 as the master as it was my only drive, but then bought the 500 to replace it and wanted to use the 320 like an external HD, so when I format the master drive (which is often), all the important stuff on the 320 will still be there. I have the 500 in my 1st sata slot, and the 320 in the 2nd, windows labels them as local disks c and d. When I first installed windows with both drives, it forced me to format the second drive before I could use it. If I format it again, I am afraid it will do the same thing and I will lose my data. Is there anything I can do in BIOS to set them as master and slave without using jumpers? Or if jumpers are the only solution, can I install the jumper without formatting again and save the data currently on it?

I have been building computers for a while and know my way around the BIOS, but mostly for overclocking stuff. I have never used two drives before so I am a bit new to this area. I am looking for the most practical solution here, any insight is welcomed.

P.S. Motherboard is an Asus P5B Deluxe Wi/Fi, P965 and Vista Ultimate x64
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  1. SATA drives have no master-slave relationship.

    It shouldn't be necessary, but - if you are worried about damage to your "D" drive - pull its data and power cables before doing the "format".
  2. First off, I didn't know that so thanks, I guess there is no problem then.

    Secondly, if SATA drives don't use the jumpers for master-slave stuff, what are they there for? Just the 150 MB/s cap?
  3. Best answer
    Master and Slave only have meaning in the context of identifying uniquely two drives sharing an IDE port. There are NO Master drives for the entire system! The confusion comes from the fact that over a decade ago it was common to have the Primary IDE channel Master drive serve as the default boot HDD called C:.

    Think instead in terms of Boot Drive and Other Drives. These are set these days in the BIOS Setup screens under Boot Device Priority Sequence. ANY device in the system might be used for booting as long as it has the right data in the right place. Occasionally someone might actually have more than one HDD set up to boot from. By default, Windows will assume that whatever device you boot from this time is the C: drive. But in all this there is no system "Master" drive.

    Excellent reference provided above by Twoboxer on how WD uses jumpers on their SATA drives. Seagate does it differently, but does use a jumper for forcing older 1.5 Gb/s speeds for older SATA systems. Other makers use other ways - at least one I've seen uses a software switch and a downloadable utility to force slow SATA speed. Bottom line is there is no universal use of jumpers on SATA drives, but one thing is universal. Jumpers on SATA drives are NEVER for setting a "Master" or "Slave".
  4. Thanks guys, this helps a lot.
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