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How to Install a SATA Hard Drive

Guides to help you install a SATA hard drive into your Computer

The main reason for adding or replacing a hard drive is to increase storage capacity and then to increase system performance. SATA drives are faster than the traditional standard drives and with the low prices of storage more people are looking for space to store all of those music or photo files they have been colleting. Or of course looking for a additional drive to use mainly for backup purposes.

Power down your PC and switch it off at the wall. Remove the screws holding the sides of the case on and carefully slide off both panels.

Step 1 Removing your case ready to install your hard drive

Wearing an anti-static wristband is preferable whenever working with sensitive electrical equipment. Keeping one hand on a metal part of the case will have the same effect, though you may need both hands when installing certain items of hardware.

If you are replacing a current drive, you will need remove the power and data cables, then unscrew the drive from the cage. Carefully slide the drive out backwards - you may need to remove some additional cables and/or expansion cards if space it tight.

Step 2 Install your hard drive by locating a bay and sliding into placeRemove your new drive from its anti-static packaging and slide the drive into the cage. Secure it tightly with four screws, with two in each side of the cage.

Locate the drive away from any other drives to allow air to flow as freely as possible.


Whilst not essential, doing this will help keep temperatures down within your case and extend the life of your drive.

Next, you will need to plug in the SATA data and power cables. The data cable needs to be plugged into your motherboard on the first available SATA channel. If you have replaced your primary drive, this would be SATA1, though if it is an additional drive, may be SATA2, for example.

Step 3 Securing your hard drive into place

SATA drives have a different power connector to IDE drives, and you will need an additional cable to convert a standard molex power connector to a SATA one. Newer power supply units may have SATA connectors, though the majority don't so you will need a cable similar to the one shown below.

 

 





Check that the data and power cables are secure and replace any cables or expansion cards that you removed prior to installation.

Step 4 Give your hard drive some power by connecting the power and data cables

Replace the sides of your case and boot your machine up. The drive should be recognised during POST, though you can check it is present in Windows in either Device Manager which is located in Control Panel - System - Hardware, or in an Explorer window. If you have replaced your primary drive, there will be no operating system present and you will need to install one using the appropriate CD.

Closer view of the hard drive connections

Finally, you will need to format the drive to use it.

You can either do this from Disk Manager, located under Computer Management in Control Panel - Administrative Tools, or by right clicking and selecting properties in an Explorer window.

If you are currently using NTFS on any other drives, then select the NTFS file system, otherwise use FAT32.

Check that the data and power cables are secure and replace any cables or expansion cards that you removed prior to installation.

Step 4 Give your hard drive some power by connecting the power and data cables

Replace the sides of your case and boot your machine up. The drive should be recognised during POST, though you can check it is present in Windows in either Device Manager which is located in Control Panel - System - Hardware, or in an Explorer window. If you have replaced your primary drive, there will be no operating system present and you will need to install one using the appropriate CD.

Closer view of the hard drive connections

Finally, you will need to format the drive to use it.

You can either do this from Disk Manager, located under Computer Management in Control Panel - Administrative Tools, or by right clicking and selecting properties in an Explorer window.

If you are currently using NTFS on any other drives, then select the NTFS file system, otherwise use FAT32.

 
Boost your Computer by adding more memory (RAM)