Although I covered most of the ways to speed up Windows boot time
in another article, I encountered a unique roadblock recently that made me write this article.
the last week I was asked by a customer to upgrade one of their office
computers from Windows 98SE to Windows XP. Normally this is pretty
standard, however because their current hard drive was only a 20GB with
a gig or so remaining I wanted to upgrade their hard drive as well.
I proceeded to ghost the drive
a larger hard drive and then installed an upgrade version of Windows XP
on top of Windows 98 to preserve all of their settings and programs.
Everything went flawlessly, until I was finished...
After checking multiple settings in the BIOS, I compared the old and
new hard drives. Everything seemed to be normal, except one. The old
hard drive was setup to Cable Select and as my normal routine I had set
the new hard drive as a Master drive. I changed the new hard drive to
Cable Select, rebooted the computer, and the Windows logo screen came
on seconds after the POST screen as before. Therefore, I have to add
one more item to my list of ways to make Windows boot faster. Try
changing the hard drive from Master to Cable Select, check the boot up
speed and switch back to Master if you don't see a change.
for a refresher course on hard drive connections. When connecting more
than one hard drive to a computer on the same IDE controller, you
generally have to assign one as the primary (master) and one as the
secondary (slave). You do this by changing the jumpers on the hard
drive next to the power connector. Normally, the drive will have a
diagram to let you know which jumper should be set for a master drive
and which to set for a slave drive. You'll notice in the picture below
the jumpers are circled on the end of the drive and the top of the
drive shows the diagram to follow.
changing the jumpers, connect the hard drive cable from the motherboard
to the hard drives. Under normal circumstances, the end of the drive
cable attaches to the Master hard drive, while the inside connector on
the cable connects to the Slave drive.
What About Cable Select?
Select (CS) settings were designed to make it easier to connect hard
drives because you didn't need to bother with setting the Master/Slave
jumpers. You just connect the drives and depending on where you
connected them to the cable the computer would know which is Master and
which is Slave...in theory. Now comes the confusing part.
cable select, you first needed a special 40 conductor IDE cable that
would determine master/slave connections. This was different from the
normal IDE cables at the time. Also, the Master connector on CS cables
was the inside connector not the end connector. This made for a very
confusing switch from everyday master/slave configurations.
conductor Ultra DMA cables WILL determine the Master/Slave settings
through Cable Select however. So as technology advances, Cable Select
as a concept may still catch on. With the newer Ultra DMA cables,
you can set both drives to Cable Select (CS), connect them and they
will work. Another change with the 80 conductor cables, the Master
connector is on the end of the cable where it should be. In situations
where you are using a newer Ultra DMA drive and cable, you can use
Cable Select or standard Master/Slave jumper settings and the drive
will boot properly.
In my scenario to start this article, the
change from Master/Slave to Cable Select for this particular computer
reduced the Windows boot time by more than 2 minutes.
For more information on Master/Slave settings versus Cable Select visit the following pages:Mike's Hardware: How to Connect IDE Hard DrivesConfiguration using Cable SelectUnixWiz.Net: Using IDE Cable Select