Starving for Storage?

Remember when a gigabyte seemed like an obscenely huge amount of hard drive space? That was before the days of digital video editing, 3-D animation, and CD-quality audio production - tasks that can burn through gigabytes in no time. Given today's data-intensive tasks, even the 12GB hard drives in some of the first-generation G3s and G4s seem puny.

Fortunately, it's easy to add another hard drive to these Macs, giving you plenty of additional storage. (Note: This technique works only on Macs that have a double hard-drive bracket; be sure to open your machine before you begin, and see steps 3 and 4 for pictures of the required bracket.) Installing a second internal drive on your Mac may seem like more trouble than simply plugging in an external FireWire or USB drive, but consider the advantages: internal drives cost at least $100 less than their external counterparts, you won't have to make room for another peripheral on your already crowded desktop, and you won't have to untangle any additional cords and cables.

Yes, installing an internal drive will mean poking your fingers inside your Mac's case, but relax - with Apple's more-recent case designs, this is a pretty painless process. Adding a second ATA drive of 20, 40, or more gigabytes, as described in the steps that follow, should take only a few minutes.

JOSEPH SCHORR is a coauthor of the soon-to-be-released Macworld Mac Secrets, sixth edition (IDG Books Worldwide).

1. Remove the Original Drive   To install your new hard drive, all you have to do is add it to the carrier that houses your original drive. But first you must remove the carrier from your Mac.

After you've unplugged your Power Mac, open its case using the latch on the side panel. Ground yourself by touching the metal on the PCI port covers A or the power supply box B. (Once you've done this, don't go walking around the room in your socks; stay put until you're done.)

Unplug the ATA C and power cables D from the internal drive. The ATA ribbon cable should detach easily. The power cable (the one with four wires) may offer resistance. Pull it firmly, but don't yank it. If necessary, use needle-nose pliers to grab the rectangular plug and pull it from the drive.

Remove the drive carrier E, which in most Power Mac G3s and G4s is situated in the third drive bay (closest to the rear of the computer, on the floor of the case). Unscrew the single Phillips screw from the front of the carrier and lift the carrier out.

2. Configure the New Drive   Configuring your new drive requires moving or removing jumpers (small square pieces of plastic) from the side panel of your drive. The exact configuration depends on how you'll use the drive, the type of drive, and the type of Mac into which you're installing the drive.

First, locate the small array of tiny pins on the side panel of your drive, between the ATA and power jacks. Some of the pins may already be connected to one another by one or more jumpers A.

Specific configuration instructions come with hard drives - and may even be printed on the drive. For example, using your drive as a primary drive in your system may require a jumper on the first pair of pins only. Using the drive as a secondary drive may mean removing all the jumpers.

You can use a sewing needle or a pair of small needle-nose pliers to pop off unneeded jumpers. Once the jumpers are properly set, you're ready to install the drive.

3. Attach the New Drive   Your next task is to screw the new drive to the carrier you removed in Step 1. The new drive should be locked into place just above the original hard drive.

Slip the new drive into the upper portion of the carrier so that it piggybacks on the original drive. On the sides of the drive you'll see four screw holes that correspond to four holes A in the carrier itself. Use the screws that came with your drive to attach the drive to the carrier through these holes.

When you're done, the new drive will be attached above the original drive. It's normal for the tabs on the drive carrier to bend inward as you're tightening the screws, but make sure not to overdo it.

TIP: Make sure that when you buy your drive, you specify that you'll be adding it to your system as a secondary drive and that you'll need the extra screws to attach it to the carrier. Otherwise, you might not get them with the drive.

4. Hook It Up   Next is the simple matter of screwing the two hard drives into the drive bay and plugging the appropriate cables into your original drive and the newly installed one.

Slide the whole drive carrier into the computer case, lowering the back of the carrier in first A. Two metal tabs on the bottom of the carrier line up with slots in the bottom of the computer chassis. Slide the tabs into the slots, and then lower the front of the drive carrier into place. Attach it to the chassis using the Phillips screw you removed earlier.

You must reattach the ATA and power cables to both drives. The ATA ribbon cable has two plugs B, one for each drive. Align each plug with a drive and attach them to the corresponding ATA ports. Do the same with the power cables. Push all the cables on firmly. Close the case, plug in your Mac, and start it up.

5. Initialize the New Drive   Unless your drive came from the store preformatted for the Mac, you won't see the drive on your desktop when you start up the computer. You must initialize it so that your Mac can recognize it.

Most drives come with their own utility software for formatting a new hard drive, but you can also format a drive with the Drive Setup software that came with your G3 or G4. (If you can't find Drive Setup on your system, you'll find it on the system software CD that came with your Mac.)

Launch Drive Setup. You'll see your new drive listed as "not initialized" in the Drive Setup window. Simply click on the Initialize button to format the drive as a Mac disk. Initializing the disk takes only a few seconds. As soon as the process is done, your new disk will mount, ready for you to fill. And you will fill it - sooner than you think.

The new drive, in place and plugged in.
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