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House M.D.’s Influence, or RTFM September 8, 2007

Posted by Wilz in Personal, Technology.

So today I bought a brand new 250 GB HDD after getting sick and tired of juggling files around my 60 and 120 GB HDD. So being someone who’s somewhat tech-savvy, I screwed and plugged in the new SATA disk happily, cleaning up the box a bit while I’m at it, cursing at the old screws a little (the head’s totally worn out and can’t be gripped by a screwdriver properly).

Boot up Windows. DVD Drive disappears, but SATA disk detected. Ok good. Install drivers, blah blah, restart computer. I thought I’d fix the DVD Drive later. After I reboot, I happily opened My Computer, and the SATA disk isn’t there.

My computer also have this quirk of randomly failing to boot-up. This usually happens if I touch anything on the motherboard- and plugging IDE/power cables around usually have that effect. I attribute this to my computer being old, and I usually just jiggle the motherboard to try and fix it.

For the next 1 1/2 HOURS I plugged and replugged all kinds of crap on my computer trying to get my SATA HDD to show up on My Computer. After 1 1/2 hours, I decided to check Device Manager to see if XP have actually detected it. It has! /shock

I go to drive management… the reason why the new disk isn’t showing up is because it isn’t formatted.

/deep breath


I activate the hard disk, I format it. It’s been too long since I last installed a disk, and one that’s not factory formatted at that, I told myself. (My computer is still randomly refusing to boot all this while.)

What I realized was that the moment both the new disk and the DVD Drive ‘disappeared’, I was thinking that it was a cable detection or ordering problem (friend Jared didn’t help by continuously suggesting that I rearrange the cables). Read: ONE problem. You know how on House M.D. usually multiple complex medical symptoms are caused by only one real root problem? Argh. Turns out that the disk not showing up is not the same problem as the DVD Drive disappearing.

Time to fix the DVD – another series of cable unplugging and replugging for about another 1 HOUR. Nothing I tried worked. Finally, I opened the frickin’ motherboard manual. My reaction:

  1. Damnit, that POST LED indicator at the back could’ve told me that my random failures to boot was due to graphics card and RAM 2 1/2 hours ago. Tightening the graphics card and exchanging the two RAM chips (silly aint it) fixed the problem.
  2. $!@#!@$!@# you BIOS programmers!!!

### optional reading starts here ###

If you had two types of drives, some of the PATA type (old parallel wide-cable IDE-based Drives) and some of the SATA type which one out of these three options would you pick:


PATA + SATA? WRONG! You can pick either SATA ONLY or PATA ONLY, but you can’t pick PATA + SATA, or one of your IDE channels gets overwritten.

Why on earth do the settings have the word ONLY next to it!? Any normal sane person with both types of drives would pick PATA+SATA!!! But noooooo… The PATA + SATA setting is supposed to help ‘Legacy’ OSes (yeah that’s another setting that lurks around at the top, that mysteriously gets disabled if you change this setting) deal with SATA drives by putting them as part of the second channel, effectively turning that channel off if you had a third IDE device, like say a DVD Drive. Windows XP and above are ‘Native’ OSes and therefore, can handle SATA being placed in a separate channel.

EVEN THEN, there is no reason to put the word ONLY there, when it applies to only ‘Legacy’ OSes! The only thing the ‘only’ settings does is that SATA ONLY orders the PATA drives as first, and PATA ONLY orders the SATA drives as first in the four ATA channels. Like @$!#!%!#$#@!!!

### optional reading ends here ###

To keep it short, don’t trust computer programmers to name their settings in a way which you can understand it. RTFM. Being a tech person, I should’ve known better…

/throws a bolster at the wall




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