I'm about to start building my computer after receiving great advice from this site. I just had a quick question. I bought a 500gb ATA133 hard drive for my old computer maybe a year ago. My new hard drive is SATA 3gb/s. Can I run the OS and mainly use the SATA hd while using the ATA one for storage/backing up? How exactly do I do this? This is my first build...
My recommendation is install everything with just the SATA connected, then install The IDE drive. Go into your BIOS to make sure it reads the SATA as the boot drive. Start the PC up and go into you Disk Manager in the Admin function of the Control Panel to format the IDE drive, so you can begin using it.
Agree with all above. I'll add a couple notes. First, do not get confused by the term, "Master" that causes problems for some. When you install your only IDE drive, is will need to have jumpers set so it is the Master of the IDE channel it's connected to. You may have a jumper setting for just "Master", or some call this "Master with No Slave". This has absolutely nothing to do with which drive is your boot device - that is what you already have set in BIOS for the SATA drive. When the drive is set and installed, connect it to the end connector on the IDE cable (some have a middle connector, too, some don't).
If you have an optical drive which is on a SATA port there's not much more. About the only other idea I can contribute is that many people set the Boot Priority Sequence to try the optical drive first and look for a bootable disk there; if there is none, it will automatically fall through to the next choice, which should be your SATA HDD, and that's what will happen most times.
IF your optical drive, however, is an IDE device, you will have a little juggling to do. When first installing the optical and SATA HDD (but not the IDE HDD), you will have to set the optical drive's jumpers to be the Master - any IDE channel MUST have a Master to be used. Then you should set your BIOS to use the optical drive there as a boot device just so you can boot from an OS Install disk to load the OS onto your SATA drive and get things set up.
After that's all done and you go to add the IDE drive, set that drive's jumpers to Master, or to Master with Slave Present, and change the IDE optical drive's jumpers to Slave - it is good practice, when both optical and HDD devices are on one IDE channel, to have the HDD perform the Master role. The end connector of the IDE ribbon cable should connect to the Master (HDD), and the middle connector to the Slave (optical). Then check your BIOS Boot Priority so it still uses the optical disk (IDE Primary Slave) as you plan (first device or whatever), and does NOT try to boot from the IDE Primary Master any time.