I'm not even implying the pins are jumpers for the same application as IDE, which is of course, pre-dating it quite a bit, but the pins on the back of the drive serve some purpose.
With my mating USB HDD connectors (internal conversion to external), the four power pins are left disconnected, they are grouped by themselves, away from the main lot of pins. For those less technically inclined, they might have a hard time visualizing the hardware if it's not in front of them
Look up a few images online if there's some confusion
Anyway, it's always miffed me as to why the external method can eschew these pins! haha
Since you bring up IRQ like it's legacy, it's worth me saying it's still very much part of the software/hardware equation, it's just that perhaps more "under the hood" for the casual PC and laptop user
IRQ as I think of it, in terms of associating commands within the driver context and in relation to hardware commands that must be specifically engaging a device at any given time, these are assigned ahead of time, mostly in the BIOS sense, but later in the Control Panel System Properties if need be. Usually if you set your BIOS to automate the process, it can, but in Windows, check your SYSTEM control, where you can remove or just "turn off" driver devices, I feel it's a good idea to turn one off rather then remove it if you lack the disc to reinstall, and you want to try another one, just make sure they are segregated or removed before you re-enlist the service of the former.
I'm sure I made this more confusing by forgetting some specific terms! hahaha I'm in Vista now.
I'll be trying to get a bootable USB going myself, so drop a PM if you're interested in following up, I may post, but it sounds like you're getting fairly discouraged already
Edited by Slamman, 07 April 2012 - 01:59 AM.