How to Change Jumper Settings on a Hard Drive

By John Granby

SATA drivers do not require the use of jumper settings.
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Changing the jumper settings on a hard drive may be necessary depending on how you have your computer system configured. It is necessary to adjust the jumper settings on IDE and ATA type hard drives to configure them properly. The configuration depends on how the drive fits into the system with the other devices, such as other hard drives, optical drives, or other mass storage devices. This is sometimes required if you are replacing a hard drive that was damaged in your current system or if you are adding a newer drive to give your system more storage capacity. Whatever your reason, the steps are the same for all drives, and those steps start with having the proper documentation for your reference.

Shut down and unplug your computer before you attempt to remove the case or to install anything into the system.

Wear an anti-static wrist strap to eliminate any chance of transferring static electricity to your computer's internal components.

Open the side panel of the computer case. It may be secured with screws on the back or it may just slide toward the back. Remove the panel to expose the internal components.

Remove your old hard drive from your computer system removing the screws holding the hard drive in place. The hard drive is typically located near the front of the case near the bottom.

Look at the back of your hard drive near where the cables and power plugs are located. This is where the jumpers are located. On some hard drives the jumpers are labelled clearly to help you to know exactly where to put the jumpers. If your drive has these labels, move the jumper carefully to that location. Sometimes you can do this with just your fingers, but if the jumper is tight or in a difficult location, the needle-nose pliers will help.

If the jumpers are not clearly labeled, read your hard drive's user manual. If you do not have this document, download it from the manufacturer's website.

Install the drive into your computer and reconnect all the cables. Also put the side panel back onto the computer and secure it.

Plug in your computer and boot it up to test your drive.

Items you will need

  • Hard drive product documentation

  • Phillips-head screw driver

  • Needle-nose pliers


Newer Serial ATA, or SATA, hard drives do not require jumper settings for bus configurations.


Always wear an anti-static wrist strap when working on your computer's components. Even a small shock may render your machine useless and could be an expensive accident that is avoided with an inexpensive anti-static strap.