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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting Hard Disk Drives | Booting or Operation Problems ]

I have a SCSI hard disk and IDE/ATA hard disk in the same system, and I want to boot the SCSI one but the IDE one always boots first

Explanation: You have a system with both IDE/ATA and SCSI hard disks installed, but the system insists on booting the IDE hard disk before the SCSI one. Since the SCSI hard disk (usually) has higher performance (often because it uses more advanced technology) it is preferable to boot from the SCSI drive instead of the IDE one.

Diagnosis: Unfortunately, there is no resolution to this problem in many cases. IDE/ATA hard disks are natively supported by the BIOS on most PCs, while SCSI hard disks are not. For this reason, the BIOS is programmed to look first for IDE hard disks and boot them if any are found. The SCSI drives are not looked at until afterward. There are now some newer motherboards (namely the Asus boards) that have a BIOS that will allow you to select booting from SCSI ahead of IDE on a system that has both. Most motherboards do not allow this.


  • Go into the BIOS setup program, and look for an option to boot from SCSI first in the boot sequence BIOS setting. You may or may not find this, depending on your system (most do not have it, unfortunately).
  • Check the motherboard or system manufacturer's web site for a possible BIOS upgrade that will allow booting SCSI first (it is unlikely that you will find one, however).
  • Replace the motherboard with another one that will allow booting from SCSI first. While this may seem radical, given the cost of SCSI peripherals this is not a very expensive move (although it certainly is a pain).
  • Remove the IDE/ATA hard disk from the system. If there is no IDE/ATA hard disk in the system, the SCSI disk should boot. (Obviously, this is less than ideal if you wanted to use both disks).

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