One of the most straightforward upgrades to your PC is installing a hard drive. Whether you are considering building your own PC or simply adding an extra hard drive to increase space, it’s almost as simple as plug and play. If there’s anything stopping you from taking that leap of faith, our article on 5 PC Building Myths Busted will inspire you to stop believing in them.
Yeah, undoubtedly at some point our computers run out of space and installing applications, games or working with large files gets sloppy. Perhaps this is the best time for buying a new hard drive to increase space without disturbing existing data.
While some consider using an external hard drive, the best option is to go for internal hard drives. These are must faster and obviously difficult to misplace.
This guide presents you a step-by-step approach to installing a hard drive both for new PC owners and ones looking to install a second hard drive.
Installing an internal hard drive is simple and anyone with proper tools (usually limited to a simple screwdriver) can do it following these steps.
Before we jump into the action, here are few basics you might want to about hard drives. You can also scroll down and dive right into the process.
Basic Details About Hard Drives Before Installation
The hard drives in use currently have the SATA III interface. This interface is capable of transfer rates of 6Gbps, i.e. a theoretical bandwidth limit of 700 MB/s approximately. There are also different types of hard disks based on size and data transfer rates.
Mechanical type hard drives (HDD)
Mechanical hard drives are the most widespread and use magnetic platters to store information. These are now available at peak storage spaces of 2TB. You might also want to look through our article on how Hard Disk Drives work for more information on that subject.
SSD Hard Drives
The latest models of hard drives are the SSD (solid state disks). Literally speaking, these disks are giant Pen Drives and are based on flash memory instead of mechanical disks. These are much faster than mechanical hard disk drives with a smaller size, usually 2.5 inches. However, these are of much lower capacity and are expensive.
SSDs can be used in desktop and laptops, thanks to small size and compatibility with SATA connectors. Seriously, if you are still using/ planning to buy HDD, you must go through this article as we try to convince you why you have to upgrade from HDD.
M.2 Type Hard Drives
These are also called the hybrid hard drives and combine features of both SSDs and mechanical hard drives. The best use of these Hard Drives is to use the SSD to dump the main burden of data and Mechanical disk to store all the user data.
How To Install An Internal Hard Drive
Before getting down to work make sure you have all the proper tools and components including SATA cable, power cable to the computer and a hard drive compatible size to your PC case.
Installing Hard Drive On A Desktop Computer In 5 Steps
- Remove the top of the tower and locate the hard drive bays, placed at the bottom front of the case. (below the DVD players).
- Once you find the bays use screws to fix the drive in place and use special plates for the 2.5 – inch hard drives (SSD) to perfectly fit in a 3.5 – inch bay.
- Once the hard disk is fixed, you must now connect two cables. First look for a free SATA power connector in the power supply of the computer. They are black, wide, and have a small rectangular notch in its shape). Then connect the SATA data connector, which is the small cable that goes from the hard drive to the motherboard.
- If the hard drive you install is the only drive on the computer, you need to connect the SATA data cable to the SATA connector 1 of the motherboard. In case if yo9u are adding an additional hard drive connect it to either of the remaining ones (SATA 2, SATA 3, etc.). This means that depending on the PC case, you can install as many as three hard drives.
- If the hard disk you want to install is a model M.2, you have to find the slot indicated as such on your motherboard and lock it. Most modern motherboards support M.2 but in case you if your board doesn’t have one, don’t worry. Then install this M.2 hard drive using the PCI Express adapters and SATA adapters.
Installing Hard Drive On A Laptop
Installing hard drive on a laptop is much simpler. Get hold of a suitable screwdriver to open the lids. However, unless it is a high-end laptop, you can only replace the older hard disk as you won’t have space for installing 2 or 3 like we did for a desktop PC.
- Firstly open the lid of the hard drive bay of the notebook (or the complete housing depending on the laptop model), and fit the drive into the bay or appropriate socket and connectors. Here you won’t need any additional cables. All you need is either a hard disk with SATA connector or an M.2 hard drive and a screwdriver.
- Once you have installed the hard drive into your desktop PC or laptop, turn on the computer and install the operating system (if starting with clean installation), or format the hard disk from the usual operating system to the NTFS or exFAT format and you can start using it as a secondary disk to store data.
Disclaimer: It is important to carry out this process with great attention to all the steps. Knowledge of the other components within the CPU or laptop are also advised. Also, make sure you are grounding yourself properly and minimizing chances of static electricity. You know that you are totally responsible for what happens in the course of the installation.