PATA Hard Drives - Still Using Them?

PATA hard disk jumper settings
The PATA interface used additional jumper settings to configure how the hard drive worked.

Life is full of surprises or so the saying goes, and when it comes to computers and computer technology there's always something old and antiquated waiting for you around the next corner.


At the weekend a friend of mine was working on his home recording studio which is based around an old Tascam multitracker that records his music to hard drive.

For some reason, the Tascam was no longer recognising the hard drive that was inside it so I told my friend I'd take a look at it for him to see if I could sort the problem out.


Once I'd disconnected the system and opened it up, I was presented with an old hard drive - a 6.4 GB Fujitsu hard disk ! - I'd forgotten that Fujitsu even used to make hard drives and by my reckoning the hard drive must have been about 10 years old - it also had a PATA interface to and was connected to the main board by a large ribbon cable.

If you know about the PATA hard disk interface you'll also know that you have to manually configure jumper settings to instruct the drive how to work properly - see the diagram. I had expected to see jumpers on the drive setting it to MASTER or CABLE SELECT but instead noticed that there were no jumpers on it.


A little reading on the subject of PATA interface hard drive jumper settings informed me that various manufacturers did things differently: Seagate were different from IBM who were different from Fujitsu, some of these manufacturers helpfully put little diagrams on their hard drives to help people and others didn't :(


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Hard Disk Drive
This is a hard disk drive. These are the things that store all the data from your computers, tablets and phones. There are billions of them in the world, but most people know absolutely nothing about them.