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How to add a second CD/DVD drive

Question asked on August 2, 2005 9:25 PM :: :: Comments (0) :: TrackBacks (0)

Although the links in this article are geared towards the Dell Dimension 4600, the actual steps are generic enough to be of use to anyone looking to add a new CD/DVD drive or replace an existing one.

Most CD or DVD drives do come with a new ribbon cable and mounting screws. If the drive is capable of burning a new disc, it will also come with some burning software. Two favorites are Nero 6 or Roxio's Easy Media Creator. The versions shipped are usually lite versions and don't have the full features of the store bought package.

If you do not have a new ribbon cable, no big deal since you probably already have a cable inside your machine that you can use. The mounting screws are usually the biggest problem. If your adding a new drive and don't have the mounting screws that come with it, you'll need to get a few 6-32 1/4 inch machine screws. Look for the smallest head you can find.

Once you have all your parts on hand, it's time to start the installation process. Full instructions for the Dell Dimension 4600 are available from Dell's web site here. Just scroll down until you reach CD drives. The condensed version is lsited below.

1) Shut the computer down, disconnect all cables, and move the PC to a flat surface that you can work on.
2) Remove the cover. The steps to remove the cover vary greatly. Some have a simple latch while others my need you to remove some screws. For the Dell Dimension 4600, you can read Dell's instructions here.
3) Remove the front panel and/or bezel if needed.
4) Set the jumpers on the drive to either Master, Slave or Cable Select to match your needs. Examine the existing CD/DVD drive jumper and set your to match. If the existing drive is Master you will want the new drive set as slave. If the existing drive is Cable Select (CS) then set the new drive to be the same since the cable will tell the computer which is the Master and which is the Slave.
5) Slide the new drive in the mounting bracket. Add side rails or alignment screws if necessary. Older machines usually used side rails on the drives. Some new machines, such as the Dell Dimension 4600 use an alignment screw.
6) Secure the drive to the mounting bracket.
7) Plug the IDE cable into the drive, the red stripe on the cable will go on the right side when facing the back of the drive, next to the power connector for the drive.
8) Plug a power connector into the drive.
9) Replace the front panel and cover.
10) Your drive is installed!

When you turn your computer on again, Windows XP will recognized the new drive and load the approriate drivers. You can then load any burning software that came with the drive or use Windows XP's built-in burning software.


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