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well i have a friends computer over, a HELL 8400 Boot sector is gone. I had them contact dell support it's out of warranty they know it's been a repeating problem, but want fix it and I did some searching on the net about the problem and it seem that the Maxtor SATA drives in these computers are giving lots of boot sector problems. I ran several drive test and most failed. Question is I have never replaced a SATA drive before is it simply replacing the drive and reconnecting the power and SATA cable and reinstalling the OS if the drive picks up on boot or am I going to face a few more install procedures. Will be using a Seagate drive probably a 7200rpm 160gb. maybe smaller this drive was installed by dell before Seagate took over Maxtor.

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Hey res,


SATA drive installations are as easy as pie (which is presumably very easy...). Like you said, you pretty much just plug in the power and data cables and fire it up. A few things to note, since this is your first time with a SATA drive:


1. Make sure the mobo supports SATA! Make sure there are SATA inputs on the board (if you don't know what one looks like, I can post a picture for you).


2. If the drive you buy is listed as OEM, instead of Retail, you will most likely have to provide your own SATA data cable and hard drive screws, since all you will receive is the drive and some bubble wrap. OEM drives generally don't come with documentation, instructions, cables, screws, a box, etc. You pay less, but you get the bare minimum.


3. Make sure your PSU has a SATA power out, since SATA drives don't use standard molex for power. If the PSU has only molex, you can buy an adapter such as this one, which converts a molex end into SATA.


4. Seagate SATA 2 drives have a small gray-colored jumper on the back that forces the drive to perform in SATA 1 mode (1.5 Gbs bandwidth, as opposed to 3 Gbs). For some stupid reason, this jumper is installed by default, so if your mobo supports SATA 2, the drive won't take advantage of it. To fix this, just remove the jumper from the drive. Easy fix.


5. And of course, lastly, make sure your BIOS is set to boot from CD first, so that when you put in the Windows OS install disk, it will boot that up, instead of trying to boot from the new, empty hard drive.



Let us know how your first SATA drive install goes!

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I appreciate your very detailed instructions they will be very helpful. I'm printing out a copy for future use when I do the install. This is a Dell 8400 already set up to use the SATA drive I contacted Seagate and gave them the model # and S/N of the Maxtor drive since they own Maxtor now and they sent me a detailed list of compatible Seagate drives to choose from. I will probably go OEM since the power and the data cable are already there. BIOS is already set to CD boot from trying to reinstall XP to check out the HD. Thanks again :)

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You can write a new boot sector with the "sys" command.


sys C:


Not an option in the particular instance I don't think. You can't even get to that point, when you get to the XP start options page ie safe mode etc. It just locks up then boots to a blue screen with error message concerning the boot sector. This particular drive seems to have major problem not only on this computer but a few hundred others by the post I have come across so I'm just going to do this right to start with. I do appreciate the suggestion though. Thanks :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well I replace the bad Maxtor drive with a Seagate 160 Gb. SATA I just pulled the old one and dropped in the new drive It picked it up on first boot. I reinstalled windows and updated added a few of my favorite programs to help keep the computer clean and free of junk and took it back to my friend everything went well thanks for all the help. Seagate was a big help I sent them the make and model # of the drive I had and they emailed me a list of 10 drives to replace it with including some helpful suggestions about installing the drive. Thats one reason I have always used there HD's

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