Optical IDE and SATA Drive Install Guide


So you’ve chosen your nice new optical drive and now you need to install it in your PC.

Read on for our comprehensive optical IDE and SATA drive install guide. This guide covers the installation of DVD drives, CD drives and Blu Ray drives.


Optical IDE and SATA Drive Install - Faceplate Change

Firstly you need to choose the color of the front faceplate if you haven’t already selected a drive with the correct color faceplate.

Some drives come with the color of your choice and others come with a selection of fascias, silver, beige, black which you can use to match the colour of your PCs case.

If you need to change the fascia it’s all very simple.

First locate the small pinhole on the front of your optical drive. Next, take a paper clip and unfold part of it so that you can insert the straightened section into the pinhole in the front of your drive.

Push slowly and carefully into the hole and the drive tray will emerge – note there will be some resistance as you push the straightened clip home.

Now you can remove the front bezel of the drive tray by carefully unclipping from the tray.

Likewise unclip the rest of the drive fascia by carefully pushing the clips inwards around the outer edge, usually four of them, inwards to release the plastic fascia.

Now simply replace the front fascia, then the tray fascia with the colour of your choice and finally push home the tray

Optical IDE and SATA Drive Install - Drive Fitment

Now to fit the drive into your PC case – start by removing your PC case sides which are usually held in place by two screws on each panel at the rear of your PC.

If you are replacing an old optical drive with a new model then a slot will already be available and its just a matter of removing the power and data cables (simply pull on the plugs easing them out carefully – don’t pull the wires themselves as you may damage the connections within the plug) and then removing the four screws, two on each side of the drive.

For a new drive fitment you will need to select a spare 5.25 inch slot and then remove the blanking plate by popping it out from the front using a thin blade or screwdriver to coax it out.

Behind the blanking plate you will find a further metal blanking plate which can be removed by the action of twisting it from top to bottom back and forth until the thin metal strips weaken allowing you to remove the plate.

Optical IDE and SATA Drive Install – Interface

If you are installing a drive with an IDE type interface then you will need to set the drive to ‘Master’ or ‘Slave’ by using the jumper (small plastic clips at the rear of the drive) to select whether it is a ‘Master’ or ‘Slave’.

Blu Ray and most new drives will use the newer SATA interface.

Your motherboard, if it supports SATA, should include SATA drive cables in the packaging that came with it.

Slide the drive into place from the front of your PC case, easing back along the metal guide rails down each side of the drive housing.

Now connect up the IDE or SATA interface cable to the rear of your drive.

SATA connection is simply a matter of plugging the cable in to the back of the drive and the other end of the cable to a spare SATA socket on your motherboard.

IDE cable fitment requires a little more thought.

An 80 wire IDE interface cable will have three connectors fitted to it. The two connectors that are fitted closer together on the cable are for fitment to your drive / drives; the other connector goes to a spare IDE interface slot on your motherboard.

If your drive is to be the only one connected then the small plastic jumper at the back of the drive should be set to select it as a ‘Master’ drive and then ensure that you fit the end connector of the closely fitted pair to the IDE interface socket at the back of the drive.

If you are installing an extra drive to this cable then you need to determine if it will be the ‘Master’ or ‘Slave’ drive and configure this drive accordingly Slave drives will need to be fitted to the innermost of the two closely positioned IDE cable connectors and the drive jumper set accordingly.

Optical IDE and SATA Drive Install – Power Supply

You will also need to provide your new drive with power.

Locate a spare power connector on your PC power supply cable loom and connect up to the rear of your new optical drive.

Your power supply, if it is a recent model, should come with SATA power cables fitted but if not you can purchase a Molex to SATA cable adapter. A Molex power connector will be required for IDE drives.

Now line up the front fascia of your drive with the front panel of your PC case and fit the four screws through the guide rails into the holes in the side of your drive housing.

Careful now, don’t over-tighten those screws or you’ll strip the threads which are quite soft.

Optical IDE and SATA Drive Install - Tidy and Test

Make an effort now to tidy up the cabling ensuring that the cables are kept away from any case, processor or graphics card fans and that they do not impede the case airflow as far as possible.

Pop the case sides back in place and refit the side panel screws.

Now power up your PC and during the POST (Power on Self Test) screen that appears when first booting up you should see your new drive listed.

You can confirm installation by checking ‘My Computer’ for a listing of your new drive.

Windows Vista and XP should recognise your drive.

Optical IDE and SATA Drive Install - Software

Now that you’ve confirmed that your new drive is recognised and up and running you can install any software that came with it such as Nero or Roxio.

Also install the Lightscribe software if your drive supports it, which can be used for burning a black and white label to the top of suitable media.

If you didn’t get Nero free with your drive don’t worry, just go to www.nero.com to obtain a copy.

You can also access Nero Info Tool here. This is a useful aid to determining your drives firmware version and it will also report on which media types your drive can support.

Optical IDE and SATA Drive Install - Firmware Updates

Once you know your drives firmware version you can visit the manufacturer’s website to see if there are any updates available which may give you extra functionality like being able to recognise or write to different media etc.

Be careful with firmware updates though, choosing the wrong firmware version for your drive or a system error whilst updating your firmware could render your brand new drive useless!

Be sure to turn off your anti-virus software and quit all other programs before attempting to update your firmware.

In short, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly and you should be fine.

Quick Install Cases

Many cases are now coming supplied with screw-less brackets which allow you to install your drive without the need for screws.

The drive will slide into the 5.25 inch bay as before but to secure into place a sliding or hinged bracket just needs to be snapped into place, one on either side of the drive, to lock it in position. Much simpler!

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