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Support for desktop computers by Gateway. Gateway is owned by Acer these days, and anything new by Gateway is supported under the Acer Group.

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Telling Master from Slave Hard Drives

I have a Gateway desktop that stopped working. The technician said that the power supply was out and that I needed to go to Windows 11. I told him I would try to replace the power supply - having put together a desktop from parts some years ago. He removed the hard drives saying that it was for their protection while I worked on the power supply. However they are unlike the hard drives I worked with before. No jumpers! And he did not mark them. The power and data connections are also very different now! I wish he had left it all hooked up as is!

If someone could point me to an article on the evolution of power and data connectors, it would be a big help!

Update (11/22/2022)

All he did was test the power supply. It was arcing! Otherwise he did nothing except to remove the two drives and put them in static free bags. There are the big 24 wire ribbon data connectors which are clearly marked master and slave. but they don't seem to be usable for these drives. It is a much different picture than I had envisioned a month ago when I told him the upgrade to W11 would be unnecessary and too expensive! I just wanted things back to were they were so my wife could get back to her writing - she loves the old keyboard! I can send some pictures.

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Did he replace your logic board to a newer SATA board? As there connections are very different than the older IDE/ESDI/PATA parallel connections

It’s been awhile since I worked on an old IDE system. If I remember correctly the very end of the dual connections of the cable is the Master and then the next on in line toward the logic boards connection is the slave and there should be a twist in the cable between. If not the slave needs a jumper.


Please give us your exact model.


Also here’s how to post pictures that show the connections both logic board and drives Adding images to an existing question


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It sounds like you had 2 legacy PATA drives in a master/slave configuration, and the technician upgraded them to newer SATA drives without consulting you first. The new SATA drives should perform better, but if your wife can't complete her writing, the technician should return and get the PC up and running again.

The article below explains the difference between PATA and SATA:

Difference Between PATA and SATA - GeeksforGeeks

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My desktop tower is a GT5404. The hard drives are both SATA drives, Western Digital. There was the big PATA or IDE ribbon that I am familiar with hanging out, so i thought that it had been connected before, but there is one red SATA seven pin cable also hanging out ready to plug in. But it seems there should be two! There is one other red SATA cable for the CD/DVD drive. The hard drives both have clusters of 7 pins and next to that 15 pins. Is the 15 pin arrangement an alternate system? There is no place t plug in a jumper, so no hint about which is master and which slave. Is that even hard wired in these SATA setups.

I know the owner of the shop. I'll see if I can talk to him.

Thanks for the help! This is a great forum!!


@daverlea - SATA doesn’t use Master/Slave so don’t get lost in the weeds here.

SATA gets set from within the systems setup setting which drive is the boot. With your drives connected restart and get into your BIOS settings drill down to drives and select the correct drive.


Again, thanks for the advice and brain power here!

I picked up a SATA connector. I am wondering if the young tech just wanted to prank me by pulling one out! There was only one connector for two hard drives! There was the old IDE ribbon with Master and slave written on the ribbon. That's what through be off. Now I have a new problem, but I will put that in a new question so I can add a photo or two. Thanks Dan!


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