My desktop computer is 11 years old, running Windows XP. The hard disk was crashing periodically, so I decided to buy and install a new hard drive. The computer design uses the Parallel ATA (=IDE) interface, which apparently is hard to find these days, but I managed to order a Western Digital 250 GB PATA hard drive.

I opened up the computer and installed the new hard drive into an empty slot, and connected it to the cable as Primary Slave. (I did not remove the old hard drive as I will want to copy the data from it to the new hard drive.) I then installed Xubuntu 12.04 LTS (since Windows XP is approaching end-of-life) onto a partition of the new hard drive, using an install CD.

The BIOS recognizes the existence of my new drive in the Primary Slave position. However, I am having trouble configuring the BIOS to boot from the new drive.


When I enter the Phoenix Award BIOS CMOS Setup Utility -> Advanced BIOS Features and choose "First Boot Device", the available choices include HDD-0, HDD-1, HDD-2, and HDD-3 (as well as others that seem to be irrelevant, as far as I can tell). HDD-0 goes to the original (old) hard drive. Selecting HDD-2 or HDD-3 leads to an immediate "SYSTEM BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER" when trying to boot. Interestingly, if I set "First Boot Device" to HDD-1 and try to boot, I still get "SYSTEM BOOT ERROR..." as above, but it takes an extra 65 seconds before that error message is displayed.

So my question is: How do I configure the BIOS to boot from my newly installed hard drive? More specifically, it appears that when setting the "First Boot Device" to HDD-1 it may be trying to boot from my new drive for 65 seconds, but the result is unsuccessful. How do I fix this?

  • How about just switching the jumpers on both drives, and make your old hard drive a slave?
    – cybernard
    Mar 25, 2014 at 23:11
  • @cybernard I don't mind if you turn this comment into an answer, but can you please explain how to change the jumpers? Installing this hard drive was the first time I've ever done anything to the inside of a computer box. Mar 26, 2014 at 3:19

4 Answers 4


If you are using the older PATA instead of SATA, you need to set the Hard disk jumper settings.

PATA Drive Jumper Settings


PC. How to make hard drive slave or master?


Thus, the old drive, you need to dismount the old drive, set the jumper settings as. I assume the new drive, you don't need to do anything.

Jumper settings

  • Note that jumper positions vary between drives. It's usually printed on the drive's identifying label which jumper positions correspond to which features, including master/slave/cable select, delayed spinup, etc. Make very certain to double-check the jumper positions before you apply power.
    – user
    Mar 26, 2014 at 9:29
  • And if it's not on the identifying label you can probably still Google the technical specs for your drive ('drivemodel' jumper settings)
    – Jan Doggen
    Mar 26, 2014 at 13:57

That should be possible to do from the BIOS, I guess you are missing the menu or the keyboard shortcut to switch among the boot drives, double check carefully all of them or use the BIOS help if available. I installed hundred of PC's of that age and never found one without that option but I admit some of them haven't intuitive menus

You may search for the motherboard manual on Google as well by it's part number to check the BIOS menu or even upgrade the BIOS firmware version.

  • I've added some details to the question to address the BIOS settings that I've tried to change. Any further help you can provide would be much appreciated. Mar 26, 2014 at 8:05

It sounds like the boot loader (GRUB i think) was installed in the wrong location which is likely if the original hard disk was still connected when you installed Xubuntu.

The easiest option would be to use a boot repair tool like this one:


and follow the instructions paying close attention to the install location: sda is the first hard drive, sdb the second and so on. Ensure you are installing to sda/sdb NOT sda1/sdb1 as this installs it at the start of the partition which is used for something called a chainloader. If you don't believe you will be dual-booting another operating system down the track, allow it to install to ALL hard drives..

Alternatively, I'm not sure if there is a boot repair feature on the Xubuntu install CD, but if you don't need the original hard drive, you could disconnect it and try re-installing again.


Switching the jumpers on both drives, and make your old hard drive a slave?

The jumpers are between the data cable and the power cable.

The number of jumpers vary. If you have 3 pairs of pins, one has a plastic cap on it. The 3 settings are master,slave, and cable select. Use a tweezers or pliers to remove the jumper and move it over. @buttercup has an excellent picture in his answer. If you have 5 jumpers instead of 3 use those settings.

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