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[ The PC Guide | Procedure Guide | Physical Installation Procedures ]

CD-ROM Drive Physical Installation Procedure

This procedure describes how to install a CD-ROM drive into a system case. This procedure deals only with the physical installation of the drive.

Procedure Overview:

  • Difficulty Level: 2 (Low).
  • Risk Factor: 1 (Very low).
  • Hardware Required: Screwdriver and screws.
  • Software Required: None.
  • Time to Perform: Usually about 5-10 minutes. Can take slightly longer if there are fit problems.
  • Preparation / Warnings:
    • If you have not already done so, please read the section on general installation and assembly tips.
    • Ensure you have already decided how you want to configure the CD-ROM drive, and that you have already set the appropriate jumpers. See this procedure if you have not already done this.
    • Make sure that the interface cable will reach the drive in its intended location. Refer to the system layout planning procedure if necessary. Unlike with floppy drives, you cannot just get a longer cable in most cases when you are dealing with ATAPI CD-ROM drives. The length of the cable is limited to 18" and in some cases less. See here for more details.
    • Ensure that a power cable from the power supply will reach the drive.
    • If you are using a sound card, make sure that the audio connect cable that will run between the CD-ROM and the sound card will reach the CD-ROM in its intended location.
    • Make sure that you don't mount the drive upside-down. The eject button for the drive goes underneath the drive tray.
    • Most CD-ROM drives cannot be mounted sideways, because the CD will not stay in the tray if it is vertical. Some drives that use caddies can be mounted on their sides, however.
    • The system case should be open before you begin. For instructions on opening the case, refer to this procedure.
    • Some cheap cases are made from very flimsy sheet metal and may require you to flex them somewhat to get the drive to slide in properly.

Procedure Steps:

  1. Find Pin 1 On Drive: Take a close look at the drive and determine which end of the interface connector is pin 1. While this can be quite confusing with hard disk drives, most CD-ROM drives have decent labeling on the drive itself to tell you "which end is up". You'll need to know where pin 1 is when you connect the drive up, which may be much later on. It's much harder to determine which end is pin 1 after the drive is installed.

Tip: CD-ROM drives usually have pin 1 of the connector next to the drive's power connector.

  1. Mount Drive Into Case: There are three common ways of mounting a CD-ROM drive into the system case that I have encountered. Determine which of the following matches your case and follow the appropriate instructions:
    • Direct Mount: The simplest and most common mounting method is the direct mount, where the drive slides into the bay and mounts directly to the drive bay walls. Slide the drive into the bay, and align the drive's faceplate with the front of the case (you may need to put the front of the case back on temporarily to do this). When the drive is lined up correctly, secure the drive to the bay using four screws.
    • Drive Rails: Some cases, especially older ones, use two thin rails that are mounted to the drive, and then used to slide the drive into the drive bay. If your cases uses these, select two matching rails, one for either side of the drive. Place the drive into the bay without the rails first, to allow you to visualize where the rails need to mount onto the drive so that once inserted, the drive will line up correctly with the front of the case. Attach the rails to either side of the drive, using two screws per rail. Then slide the drive into the bay. Verify that the front of the drive lines up correctly. Some drive rail cases have spring-loaded clips on the front that snap into place when the drive is inserted all the way (mostly newer cases). Others require you to screw the drive into the bay anyway, using holes in the front of the drive bay. Either way, make sure the drive is not free to move around when you are done.
    • Mounting Box: Some cases, especially desktops, use a removable metal box into which the drive is mounted. The procedure here is similar to that for direct mount, above, except that you have to remove the box first and insert the drive into it, then remount the box. Be sure to check the alignment before you tighten the screws.
  2. Double-Check Installation: Make sure the drive has been fitted properly into the case and that there is no interference with other components. Ensure that it is not loose in the case.

Next: Processor Physical Installation Procedure

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