Unable to boot a IDE hard drive connected with an ide to usb cable

My computer crashed and won't reboot. I have some hard drive failures. I have an old ide hard drive with a copy of WinXP on it and I am trying to boot up my pc using an ide to usb cable. When I go to setup the computer does not recognize the hard drive. Does it need to be setup as a master to be recognized? Any ideas, thanks.
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  1. I'm assuming your bios is able to boot from a USB drive? If not, you are out of luck. Try plugging it into a working computer to make sure the adapter is working correctly.
  2. Ditto what Hawkeye22 just wrote:

    Check the "Boot Priority" in your BIOS:

    chances are good that your BIOS will not allow your computer
    to boot from a USB device.

    Your BIOS may also have a category for "hard drives":
    if a HDD does not appear in that list, then
    it's almost a sure thing that your computer cannot boot from it.

    Also, as a general rule, you can expect the least amount of trouble
    if you cable an IDE/PATA HDD to the "Master" position on the ribbon cable:
    that's the connector at the very end of the cable (usually black in color).

    Also, you should force "Master" mode by adding the required jumper
    on the IDE HDD. This will eliminate any possibility of a chipset and/or
    HDD that does not operate in "cable select" mode.

    The middle connector works best in "Slave" mode.

    There is a color code convention for Ultra-DMA ribbon cables:

    blue => motherboard
    black => master
    grey => slave

    (If you know what you are doing, you can switch the jumpers on both HDDs
    and then black => slave and grey => master.)

    HOWEVER, never EVER connect a single IDE/PATA HDD to the middle connector
    with nothing connected to the black/end connector:
    that will cause signaling problems with the dangling end of the ribbon cable.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Thanks for the responses. I have a Dell 8400 and when the machine starts to boot up I hit F2 for System Setup. Under System is has boot sequence and lists the following:

    -Onboard IDE Hard Drive (not present)
    -Onboard or USB Floppy Drive (not present)
    -Onboard SATA Hard Drive (not present)
    -Intel Array
    -Onboard or USB CD-Rom Drive
    -USB Device (not present)

    Should the IDE hard drive I am trying to hook up show up as a USB Device? Thanks for your help!
  4. If the IDE to usb cable doesn't present itself as a mass storage device then I don't think you can boot from it.
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