Idiot's Guide to Slaving a Drive Required!

  officersmess 00:46 12 Feb 03

Hi. I'm trying to help a friend whose dinosaur PC is on its last legs. We need to backup significant quantities of important data, with most of the critical documents too big for a floppy disk, besides which we'd need hundreds of 'em!

I have tried several times to attach an external CD writer, but PC threw a fit when the new drivers etc were loaded, and it's taken me 8 hours to get it booting again. I think the best option now is to slave their PC to mine and backup that way. Trouble is, although I understand the concept, I have NO IDEA how to go about it in practice.

Can anyone help point me in the right direction? - I would be most grateful.



  lacker 00:54 12 Feb 03

I think we need to know a little more about the dinosaur,computer spec and O/S,etc.The way you describe it sounds like an Abucus Mk1

  faichfolds 00:55 12 Feb 03

Or maybe Tiny!!

  Forum Editor 00:57 12 Feb 03

I assume you mean connect them with a direct cable connection?

You don't say which operating systems the two machines are running, but take a look in Start/programs/accessories/ and see if you can find 'Direct cable connection' there. If you can, you're able to transfer the files with nothing more than a direct connection cable, which you can buy at any good computer store.

The connection can be from parallel port to parallel port, ot from serial to serial, but you must use the same port type on each machine. The special cables come with both types of connector at each end.

Plug the cable into the computers and then enable direct cable connection by clicking on it in the accessories section of the program menu. You'll be asked to select one machine as the host, and one as the guest.

Sometimes this form of connection can be temperamental, and one computer can't see the other, but persevere and you'll get it right.

You'll find that the file transfer is a tad slow by this method, and you can leave it to run while you decorate a room or something.

  lacker 00:58 12 Feb 03

are you referring to my name or my mind!
Regards Tony

  faichfolds 01:01 12 Feb 03

No no, I thought you were saying AbacusIITony, tony being a brand name. It was a slur at Tiny computers, being not much better than an Abacus!!
All the best Andrew

  lacker 01:04 12 Feb 03

you're forgiven!

  faichfolds 01:06 12 Feb 03


  jazzypop 02:06 12 Feb 03

It will probably be easier and quicker to add his drive to your PC as a slave.

click here and click here to help reduce your fear of the unknown :)

The basic process is -

1. With his PC switched off, locate his hard drive, pull out the power cable and IDE (ribbon) cable from the back of the drive.

2. Unscrew the mounting screws (probably 4) and remove the drive from the case.

3. Carefully note the position of the little black jumper(s) on the back of his drive, draw a diagram to remind yourself later.

4. Look on the drive casing - if you are lucky, there will be a diagram showing how to alter the jumper so that it makes his drive a 'slave' drive. If there is no picture, go to the manufacturer's website, use the serial number to identify the drive, and find out how to reposition the jumpers. Set them to the slave position.

5. Now remove the case on your PC, find a spare mounting bay, and secure the drive in your PC.

6. Find a spare power connector, connect it up. Look for a spare connector, preferably on the same ribbon cable as the one already connected to your hard drive. Connect it to his drive - note that the cable will have a red stripe on one edge. This red stripe should be next to the power cable.

7. Power on your PC, and enter the BIOS (look for a message that says 'press Del to enter the BIOS', or similar, and press the appropriate key.

8. Make sure that all drives are set to autodetect, OK and save any changes then exit the BIOS.

9. Your PC will now restart, and Windows will see his drive as Drive D: (assuming you have only one disk drive yourself).

10. Use Windows Explorer to drag and drop any data you want onto your drive - make sure you create a folder specifically for his data.

11. Power off your PC, remove his drive.

12. Reset the jumper to Master, replace it back in his PC.

13. Have a large cold beer :)

It is not nearly as difficult as it sounds, and will probably take you less time than it took me to type this.

Once all is OK with his new PC, you can either burn the data to CD and give it back, or reverse the process and put your drive in his as a slave.

Let us know if this causes any hiccups, I'm sure we can help further if required.

Remember to ground yourself regularly by touching a radiator, or the PC case itself if the power cord is still plugged in (but switched off).

Let us know if you are running XP - there is one extra step to get his drive recognised on your system if you are.

Good luck :)

  officersmess 17:31 12 Feb 03

Well, there should be enough here for me to get started. Can't see any evidence of a "Direct Cable Connection" under accessories - I was kind of hoping I could get away without furtling around inside the box, but I guess I won't overcome the unknown unless I dive in and have a go! BTW, I am running W98SE and the PC I need to copy from is W95.

THANK YOU all so much. You are star players.

  jazzypop 19:22 12 Feb 03

If you would prefer not to furtle, click here for a step-by-step guide.

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