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How do I set master / slave for SATA and IDE drives?

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December 18, 2011 4:54:53 PM

I have a SATA drive and an IDE drive. The IDE drive is always set as master and it seems like I can't change this configuration from the BIOS so I have to manually boot from the SATA drive every time I turn on the computer. I don't think SATA drives have master/slave configuration but I can't access the IDE master drive when I boot from the SATA drive.

How do I set the IDE drive as slave? thanks in advance =)
a c 260 G Storage
December 18, 2011 5:02:38 PM

There is a jumper on the IDE drive so you can force it to be slave. But you should be able to select your SATA drive as the first boot device in BIOS!
December 18, 2011 5:14:20 PM

ah you are a genius. In fact I can set the SATA as master from BIOS.

Maybe you could help on one more.
The SATA drive is set as master, but when I go to my computer when booting from the SATA drive, it cannot detect the IDE drive. However when i boot from the IDE drive, it can still detect the SATA drive through my computer. The IDE uses linux and SATA uses windows 7 if that matters
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a c 260 G Storage
December 18, 2011 5:18:40 PM

That could be a file system thing but it can as well be that the drive is not allocated on the windows system. Control panel/administrative tools/computer management/storage
a c 327 G Storage
December 20, 2011 3:08:08 AM

There's some confusion here between the Master / Slave functions on an IDE channel, and the roles of boot drive and data drive in a system.

Any IDE controller / port / cable can support up to two devices, so each needs a unique identifier. This is done using a jumper on pins on the back of each IDE device to set to either Master or Slave. Any IDE channel MUST have a Master device on it, and MAY have a Slave as a second device. If there's a second IDE channel (mobo port and cable), it also can have its own Master and may have its Slave. Those terms and settings pertain only to each IDE channel. In SATA systems, there is no Master or Slave because each SATA port can only handle ONE device.

Well over a decade ago, it was common to have the boot drive automatically be the Master device on the Primary IDE port. So too may people have become confused between boot drive and Primary Master device. For some time now, BIOS's have had a place where you specify which device in your system is the boot drive, and you can choose any device present. In fact, you actually specify a priority sequence of devices to try to boot from - if one fails to boot, it proceeds to the next in your sequence until it boots successfully or fails on the last allowed device. For example, this machine I'm on tries to boot first from a floppy disk drive, then one of my optical drives, then one of my hard drives. It does NOT try to use either my second optical or my second HDD, because I did not allow them in the Boot Priority Sequence. And note that it does not matter whether these devices are IDE or SATA, or whether an IDE device is Master or Slave on its port.

So, you set Master or Slave on an IDE port by physically setting a jumper on pins on the device at install time. But to select the boot device, you do that in BIOS in the Boot Priority Sequence section.

Alternatively (and I'm guessing you do this) you can use a keyboard key just after powering on to pop up a menu from the BIOS allowing you to choose which HDD to boot from - this allows for "dual-boot" systems such as you have.

As to why you cannot "see" the IDE HDD from inside Windows, I'm sure rolli59 has it right - Windows cannot understand the Linux File system installed there, so it cannot show you it. However, I don't know enough about Linux file systems to advise whether you can safely get Windows to deal with that HDD.
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