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How to Set Jumpers for Your Computer’s IDE Drive

Hailing from days gone by, IDE drives on a computer take more cajoling than today’s SATA drives. SATA drives each have their own cable that connects to the computer’s motherboard. Yesterday’s IDE drives, by contrast, share a single cable. When two drives share one cable, you give them different names. And in the archaic world of IDE drives, those names are “Master” and “Slave.”


Find the drive’s Master/Slave identification chart, usually printed in black on a sticker attached to your drive.

The sticker in the figure, for example, says to cover the middle pair of pins for Slave, and the right pair of pins for Master.


If your drive doesn’t have a sticker, visit the drive manufacturer’s Web site and download the pin settings.

Search for the Master/Slave pin settings for that particular model of drive.


Locate the drive’s Master/Slave pins.

These both live near where the data and power cables plug into the drive. You’ll find six or more pins, but they’re always set in pairs like the ones in the photo.


With a pair of tweezers or needle-nose pliers, place the jumper (a little plastic thingy) across the correct pair of pins, either Master or Slave.

If you’re replacing an IDE drive, set its jumpers to match the old drive’s settings, either Master or Slave. If you’re adding a second drive, set its jumpers to Slave, and leave the other set to Master.

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