How to set Jumper Pin settings on a CD rom or hard drive

When installing a CD/DVD rom drive or even a hard drive, there are some tiny little pins at the back that sometimes need to be adjusted.  If you do not have the jumper in the correct position, your device will not be recognised by the computer.

There are three basic jumper pin settings

  1. Cable Select
  2. Master
  3. Slave

Cable Select To use this setting you will need a cable select compatible IDE cable. They have a blue end. This will allow you to connect Two devices on the same cable. The cable decides which is master and which is slave. By default the device plugged in on the end of the IDE will be the master. For Example: If you installed two hard drives you will definitely want your computer to boot to the main one with the operating system on it. Therefore that harddrive will be plugged in on the last connection and the slave hard drive will be on the middle connection. The other end will be connected to the motherboard.

Master If you do not have a cable select cable, set your main hard drive to master. This also applies if you have two CD Roms.

Slave Use this setting when you install a second harddrive or cd rom and use the same cable for both. The main is the master..

Note: Don’t put a cd rom on the same cable as a hard drive. But you can have two hard drives together or two CD roms.

How do you find the Jumper pin settings combination?

The Jumper pin order of a CD rom or hard drive is usually written somewhere on the drive. It could be at the back, like in the picture below, or it could be on the top or sides. Sometimes there is an elaborate diagram which confuses some people, however if you look for a familiar word or letter, you will know that it is the pin order. Below they have abbreviated the settings to CS (cable select), SL (slave), MA (master).

CD ROM jumper


  • A blue endon the IDE cable means it is a cable select. A normal black one means you have to set the hard drive jumper pins to either master or slave. The blue end connects to the motherboard. Sometimes the connection on the motherboard is blue also.
  • A mastergets plugged into the end of the IDE cable.
  • If you wanted to add another hard drive you should have a master and a slave, selected with the jumper pins at the back of the harddrive. However the easiest way is to set them both to cable select. Then connect them on the same IDE Cable( they usually have two connections) but put the main hard drive on the last or end connection of the IDE cable. This way the one connected on the lower is the slave.
  • Nowadays the default settings are cable select. All new cables, devices, and motherboards are compatible.


  1. says

    Hi Jason La Gese
    I guess you are talking about the hard drives with the old IDE connections on the back.. I have an external case for them that I still use if I have to access one of these oldies. I usually take the pin out completely which means that it becomes cable select. I have never had any catch fire and smoke…It sounds pretty much like mine. Do you think too much power is going through the old hard drive? I can’t think of anything else that can make it catch fire.