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do the cold, dark days of winter have you dreaming of tropical beaches, sunny deserts, and the inside of your PC? You read right. The climate inside your com- puter can rival that of Death Valley in the summer, and triple-digit temperatures are bad news for your hardware.

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2. H A R DWA R E T I P S KIRK STEERS Fast Monitor Resets Find the Perfect Hard DO YOU FREQUENTLY change your moni- tor’s resolution and color-depth settings to Disk for Your PC accommodate various programs and graph- ics? Here’s a shortcut: Enable Windows’ Quickres utility, and a small monitor icon will appear in your system tray. Click it once to mp 3 collections , gargantuan software graph shows the display a list of all resolution/color-depth programs, and multimegabyte video files drive’s capacity, settings that your PC’s monitor supports. In have left PC owners scrambling for free the storage space Windows 98 and Me, select Start•Settings• storage space. The best solution for most in use, and the Control Panel, open Display, select Settings, PC users is to buy and install a new hard amount available and click Advanced; then, under the Gener- disk. Fortunately, now is a great time to (see FIGURE 1). al tab, select Show settings icon on taskbar. buy: Drives are bigger, faster, and cheaper 4.2GB or 3.2GB: than ever. (For more on the recent crop Some PCs manufactured before 1998 transfer speeds only in PCs with the latest of drives, see “Livin’ Large” at www. have BIOSs that limit disks to one of these chip sets. Most PCs made since 1999 sup- pcworld.com/reviews/march2001/large.) two capacities. To remedy this, either get port the previous Ultra DMA/33 mode, But not every PC can ac- a BIOS upgrade or buy a and many support Ultra DMA/66 mode. commodate today’s ATA new disk controller card. To find out which mode your PC sup- (EIDE) hard drives. Some 2GB: Any hard drive using ports, check your system’s documentation drives may have more stor- the FAT16 file system can or visit your PC manufacturer’s Web site. age capacity than your PC recognize only up to 2GB. There are six ATA standards (ATA-1 can recognize, some may This includes systems run- through ATA-6) and often several modes be too fast for your system, ning Windows 3.x and the for each. Manufacturers have assigned and some may not fit in original version of Win- their own names to some modes—some- your PC’s case. Before you dows 95. If you have an old times to denote added capabilities. FIGURE buy the latest drive, make FAT16 drive in a PC using 2 provides some ATA perspective. sure your PC can use it. Windows 95B or Windows Your new hard drive’s ATA mode does Hard disks with double- 98, you can upgrade the not have to match that of your PC. The lat- digit–gigabyte capacities disk to FAT32 using the est drives will operate at the fastest mode are no problem for most Windows FAT32 Drive your PC supports. Unless you often move PCs purchased in the last FIGURE 1: SEE DRIVE capacity Converter Utility. You can- huge files, a lower mode won’t cut perfor- three years. But older sys- as a graph in My Computer. not use any disk utilities mance much. Still, save money and buy a tems have drive-capacity designed for FAT16 drives drive that matches your PC’s capabilities. ILLUSTRATION: JEFFREY PELO limitations. Here are common size limits, after making the switch, but your 16-bit and how you can get around them. applications will run just fine. Find more tips at www.pcworld. 8.4GB: Systems with a BIOS date before A drive with the latest version of the com/heres_how. We welcome 1998 typically don’t support drives with ATA data transfer technology—currently your tips and questions and pay capacities greater than 8.4GB. If your the Ultra DMA/100 mode (also called $50 for published items. Kirk Steers is a BIOS doesn’t support large-capacity Ultra ATA/100)—will work at top data PC World contributing editor. drives, see if your PC vendor’s Web site offers a BIOS update for your machine. The Many Names of IDE If you install a drive with a capacity of STANDARD Introduced data transfer Also known as Maximum burst rate 8.4GB or greater and your PC fails to rec- mode (megabytes per second) ognize its full capacity (and you can’t find ATA-1 PIO mode 1 IDE 1 to 4 a BIOS update), you can bypass the BIOS ATA-2 PIO mode 3, 4 Enhanced IDE (EIDE), Fast-ATA 11.1, 16.7 and the onboard disk controller by in- ATA-3 No performance change; added diagnostic and security features. stalling an updated ATA disk controller ATA-4 Ultra DMA mode 2 Ultra DMA/33, Ultra ATA/33 33 card such as the$34 Ultra100TX2 from ATA-5 Ultra DMA mode 4 Ultra DMA/66, Ultra ATA/66 66 Promise Technology (www.promise.com, ATA-6 Ultra DMA mode 5 ATA/100, Ultra ATA/100 100 800/888-0245). To view your drive’s capacity, open My Computer, right-click FIGURE 2: THE ATA STANDARD HAS APPEARED in many variations over the years, so be careful your hard disk, and select Properties. A to choose a hard drive that uses a version of ATA that will work with your PC. 200 PC WORLD J U L Y 2 0 0 1
3. U P G RA D E G U I D E STAN MIASTKOWSKI Install a Bigger, Faster Hard Drive t Go under the hood. Turn off your PC and unplug it before you remove the cover. And before you begin working under your Find a space for the new drive. Most PC cases have an eas- ily accessible space for fers, but the overall performance differ- PC’s hood, put on an antistatic wrist your new drive, usually installing a new hard drive remains T H E T O P D O W N ence is not that dramatic because the strap (available from local electron- right next to the exist- one of the most popular upgrade projects Benefits: Higher bursts involve only tiny amounts of data. ics supply stores) and clip it to a ing drive. for PC users. And it’s easy to see why. capacity, better Still, if you want the best performance grounded metal object. Today’s drives are bigger than ever and performance out of your new drive, your PC must have Find the drive. Note bargain priced, and they offer a perfor- Cost: $100 (20GB) on-board Ultra DMA/100 support. For where the red wire of the mance boost, as well. You’ll need that to$325 (80GB) about $40, you can buy a card that adds ribbon cable meets the drive extra space for the increasingly roomy OS Expertise level: Intermediate Ultra DMA/100 to your PC from a com- (Pin 1) so you can connect the installs and gigabyte-eating applications Time required: 1 to 2 hours pany like Promise (www.promise.com). Find a free power con- new cable correctly. (Hint: Mark that are the norm these days. And don’t Tools required: Phillips screwdriver, Or you can just settle for the interface that nector. You need power the location with masking tape.) forget graphics, audio, and video files. needle-nose pliers, antistatic wrist strap your PC uses now. for your new drive. If If your budget is limited, you can up- (recommended) Because your new hard disk will be big- your power supply has grade to a 20GB drive for as little as$120; Vendors: IBM (www.storage.ibm.com), ger and faster than the one your PC cur- no free connector, a medium-size 40GB drive will set you Maxtor (www.maxtor.com), Quantum (www. rently uses, plan on making the new drive get a Y-adapter back $150 or thereabouts. For maximum quantum.com), Seagate (www.seagate. com), Western Digital (www.wdc.com) your primary drive—the new home for that turns one storage space, you can invest in a 60GB your operating system and applications. connection or 80GB behemoth, although prices for If you need… You can attach the old drive as a secon- into two. these larger drives are in the$200-to- Ultra DMA/100 card: Ultra100 $40 (www.promise.com) dary hard disk and use it for archives and$300 range. If you’re comfortable making less frequently accessed data. the upgrade without installation software, The newest IDE hard drives are back- All major drive makers pack software Use the new cable. Current drives require an 80-wire you can save a few bucks ($10 to$30) by ward-compatible with the Ultra DMA/66 with their upgrade kits that prepares the cable for best performance, and most drives ship with one. Remove purchasing a bare drive. interface found on most PCs made in the drive for data (partitioning and format- the old cable and replace it with the new one (the connectors are compatible). Manufacturers offer most drives in both last few years. But most of today’s drives ting) and can also copy exactly what’s on 5400-rpm and 7200-rpm versions. While the 5400-rpm drives are slightly less ex- support the Ultra DMA/100 interface your current drive to the new one, helping u Set the drive jumpers. i Put it all back together. Install the new drive. Attach the (alternatively called ATA/100), which to make the upgrade a snap. Usually, you’ll install your two connectors on the new ribbon cable to the old and new pensive than the 7200-rpm models, the offers burst transfer speeds of up to new drive as the sec- hard disks. (It doesn’t matter which of the connectors goes latter deliver a genuine performance boost 100MB per second. In some operations, Stan Miastkowski is a PC World con- ond drive on the where.) Make sure the red wire on the cables goes to in the form of quicker access times and the new interface can speed up data trans- tributing editor. p rimar y IDE Pin 1. Also make sure the other end of the cable is improved data transfers. channel (the securely connected to the primary IDE connector on e Prepare your PC’s existing hard drive. To prevent future problems, make sure the cur- r Run the new drive-installation software. same chan- the motherboard, and that it’s correctly connected rent drive in your PC is trouble-free. Run ScanDisk (Start•Programs•Accessories•System Almost all hard drives ship with installation soft- nel where the so that the red wire on the cable goes to Pin 1 on the Tools•Scan Disk) and check the Thorough test option. Then run Disk Defragmenter ware that takes care of formatting and parti- current drive motherboard connector. (A secondary IDE connector (Start•Programs•Accessories•System Tools•Disk Defragmenter). These tests sometimes tioning. Some even help you transfer data from is connected). is used for things like your CD-ROM and CD-RW drives.) take hours to complete if you haven’t run them before, but you’ll save time and headaches your old disk to the new one. You must run most When two IDE drives Plug in the power connectors to both drives. Double-check later in the installation process by ensuring that you will be copying error-free data. installation software before you physically install are connected to a single all your connections; don’t put the cover back on until you’re Next, make a full the new drive, but check the drive’s manual or cable, one must be desig- sure that everything’s working correctly. backup of your installation poster. You’ll either install and run nated ‘Master’, and the hard drive if you’re the software from within Windows, or boot from other ‘Slave’. o Check your system’s setup program and finish up. Make sure the hard drive installation utility disk is in able to, or at least a floppy disk. Program details vary by drive man- The jumper settings are the floppy drive; then turn your PC on. Enter your PC’s setup utility (usually by pressing , , or back up your vital ufacturer, so read the directions carefully. printed on the drives. If at start-up, although details vary by manufacturer). Then make sure drives 1 and 2 are set to AUTO. If they’re data and configura- you’ll be using the new disk not, your PC may not detect your new drive. tion files from your as your PC’s boot drive, set Save the setup settings, and reboot from favorite programs. its jumper to Master, and the installation utility floppy disk. Follow the Don’t forget files change the jumper settings directions to set up your new drive and copy l i ke n o r m a l . d o t on your old drive to Slave. the data from the old drive to the new. PHOTOGRAPHS: MARC SIMON from Microsoft (Check the included instal- Finally, remove the floppy and reboot your Word and Book- lation software to make PC. It should start Windows normally. When marks or Favorites sure that it supports copy- you’re sure everything’s working, reformat f r o m yo u r We b ing of the data over to your your old drive to wipe out its superfluous browser. new hard disk.) data and to prepare it for new files. 194 PC WORLD J U N E 2 0 0 1 J U N E 2 0 0 1 PC WORLD 195
4. HERE’S HOW ly and offers better data security. Win- dows 95, 98, and Me can’t “see” the data STEP BY STEP in an NTFS partition; however, Windows 2000 and XP can read from and write to both NTFS and FAT32 partitions. S TA N M I A S T K O W S K I If you’re starting with a new, blank hard drive, partitioning is easy. The installation routines of Windows NT, 2000, and XP give you some control over partitions. Partition Your Hard Drive Other versions of Windows come with FDISK, a basic partitioning utility that no matter the capacity of your PC’s ing out XP, or even installing Linux), then you copy to a bootable floppy. hard drive, chances are that it’s set up to you’ll absolutely need multiple partitions. But if you want to have extensive parti- function as one giant data dump. Though Think of a partition as a container for tioning options, you’ll need a utility such that’s fine for most users, dividing your data, like one drawer of a file cabinet. as Partition Commander ($40, www. drive into multiple partitions (additional Each partition uses a file system to store v-com.com) or PartitionMagic ($69, drive letters) can make life easier: At the and name data. Windows 98 and Me use www.powerquest.com). They offer such least, keeping all your data—such as doc- the FAT32 file system. FAT32 allows for options as changing the size of partitions uments, worksheets, and images—in a greater maximum partition sizes and and converting from different file sys- partition separate from the operating sys- stores data more efficiently than the tems. And, given enough free space, they tem and applications simplifies backups FAT16 file system used by DOS and the preserve the data stored on your drive. and can increase your PC’s performance. first versions of Windows 95. And if you plan on using multiple oper- Windows NT introduced the NTFS file Stan Miastkowski is a PC World contributing ating systems (adding Windows 2000, try- system, which uses space more efficient- editor. 1 Check, optimize, and back up your drive(s). First, select Start•Programs•Accessories• Sys- 2 Plan for partitions. Before you run the partitioning software, tem Tools•ScanDisk, click Thorough, and check the decide how you want to orga- Automatically fix errors box. Then click Start. nize your hard drive(s). Con- Next, defragment each drive by selecting Start•Pro- sider the size of the grams•Accessories•System Tools•Disk Defragmenter. drive, whether you To use Windows 9x’s or Me’s built-in backup utility, wa n t to s i m p l y select Start•Programs•Accessories•System Tools• segregate data Backup and follow the directions. (If the utility isn’t from the operat- there, then for Windows 9x, check Start•Settings•Con- ing system and applica- trol Panel•Add/Remove Programs•Windows Setup• tions or create a more complex Accessories, and for Windows Me, run Msbexp.exe structure, and whether you want to run Windows XP from the Addons/MSBackup folder on the Me CD.) In more than one OS. Read your partitioning soft- Other OS Windows XP Professional, select Start•Control Panel• ware’s manual for suggestions. Major partitioning util- Apps Performance and Maintenance•Back up your data. ities also have wizards that lead you through the process. Data 3 Run the software. Once you’ve decid- 4 Reboot and reorganize. Once the partitions are creat- ed, reboot your PC to complete the process. You can ed how to set up your then move your data around or install a new operating sys- partitions, follow the di- tem. If you plan to store all your data in one of the new par- rections to install and titions, you’ll have to tell your applications where to save run the partitioning soft- files in the future. Usually, you can set this from the Pref- ware. Although the soft- erences menu or File Locations tab in each application. ware won’t let you make PHOTOGRAPH: RICK RIZNER incorrect choices, you should check and dou- 5 Problems? If you have problems accessing or using the new partitions, use the emergency disks that came ble-check the new partitions to make sure you’ve allocated all the drive’s space. with the partitioning software to double-check that the par- Creating and moving partitions may take 30 minutes or more, depending on titions were created and formatted. If they still don’t work, how full your drive is. The software will also format the new partitions for you. then it’s time to contact tech support. 152 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M FEBRUARY 2002