Add a Hard Drive
Every computer system is unique, so your
installation may differ slightly from ours. The type of computer you have (desktop vs.
tower model), the type of hardware you have installed in the PC, and the computers
software configuration all affect the installation process. Use our guide to assist you in
the upgrade, but refer to the drives installation manual if you encounter a
contradiction between the two.
1. It is very
important that you back up your data before replacing your current hard drive. Otherwise,
you will lose access to all the data stored on it.
If the new drive has been stored in extremely hot
or cold temperatures, let it reach room temperature before you install it. Also, leave the
drive in its protective packaging until youre ready to install it. You dont
want dust, static electricity, or an accidental bump to damage the drive before you have a
chance to use it.
2. Locate your
current hard drive inside your PC. It is a thin metal box, approximately 1 inch thick, 3.5
or 5.25 inches wide, and 6 inches long. It may be mounted near the other drive bays, near
the power source, or anywhere on the computers frame. Your computers users
manual may include a system diagram detailing its exact location.
Check how the hard drive is positioned
in the computer; you must install the new drive in the exact same position. For example,
if your current hard drive is positioned horizontally with the label facing up and the
cables extending from the back, you must install the new drive in a horizontal position
with the label facing up and the cable connectors facing the back.
You may have to remove expansion cards and
disconnect cables attached to other devices in order to remove your old drive and fit the
new drive into your PC. Take note of anything you remove or disconnect so you can get your
system put together correctly when youve finished installing the hard drive.
3. If the hard
drive you are replacing is the only drive in your system or if it is the primary drive in
the system, it is referred to as the master drive. If the hard drive you are replacing is
the secondary drive in your computer, it is referred to as the slave drive. You must know
whether the drive is the master or slave drive in order to complete the installation.
For this installation, we assume you are replacing
your systems master hard drive.
current hard drive should have a flat, gray ribbon cable and a multicolored power cable
extending from the back of it. The ribbon cable, which is called the data cable, carries
data to and from the hard drive. The data cable may have multiple connectors attached to
it, and the connectors may be attached to other devices as well as the hard drive.
Disconnect the ribbon cable and the power cable from the back of your
current hard drive. Grip the connectors between your fingers or use the needle-nose pliers
to remove them. You should be able to remove the connectors without exerting much effort.
If a connector seems stuck in the drive, you can rock it back and forth to remove it from
Keep track of which cables you removed from the
drive because youll plug those cables into the new drive. Use a piece of tape to
mark the cables as you remove them. Dont disconnect the cables from the computer or
from any other devices to which they are connected unless you have to do so in order to
remove the drive.
5. Remove the
screws that hold the drive in place. You may need to hold the drive with one hand as you
remove the last two screws to keep it from crashing onto the motherboard. Keep track of
the screws as you remove them. You may need them when you install the new drive.
youve removed the screws (there should be between four and eight screws), gently
slide the drive out of the bay. If it does not slide out easily, there must be a cable or
screw holding it in place. Carefully extricate anything that is hampering the drives
removal, then try to remove it again.
Once you have removed the old drive from your PC,
treat it with care. It contains all your old data, and its much easier and less
expensive to retrieve data from your old drive if its in good shape than if it has
been damaged. The drive also may come in handy if you encounter any difficulties with your
new hard drive. If you have to remove the new drive and send it back to the manufacturer,
you can put the old drive back into your PC until a replacement arrives.
yourself by touching the computers frame, then remove the new drive from its
protective packaging. Handle the drive by its edges, and be careful not to touch the
fragile circuitry on top of the drive. Write down the information listed on the
drives label. The information you should record includes the drives model
number and the number of cylinders, heads, and sectors on the drive.
7b. See how
the drive will fit inside the computer. If its too small, youll need to attach
mounting brackets to the drive before you can install it. To obtain mounting brackets for
your new drive, contact the drives manufacturer.
Also, save the drives packaging. You can pack
your old drive in it when youre done.
8. Position the drive for installation.
Remember, it must be installed in the same position as the old drive. Use the screws that
held the old drive in place to attach the new drive to the computer frame. Make sure the
drive is held securely in place but dont attach the screws too tightly.
Overtightening the screws can bend the frame of the hard drive.
the data cable and power cable. Make sure youre using the same cables you removed
from the old hard drive (unless you replaced the old cables with new ones). The power
cable connector has notched corners and fits into its socket in only one way. The data
cable also connects to the drive in only one way, but the proper fit may not be as
Connecting the data cable should be easy if the
cable connector has an upraised tab in the middle of it. Just match the tab to the notch
in the drives receptor, then insert the connector.
If the connector doesnt have an upraised tab,
however, youll have to align the colored strip, which runs along one edge of the
data cable, with Pin 1 on the drives receptor. Pin 1, which is the bottom-right pin
(or upper-left pin, depending on how you look at it) on the receptor, usually is
designated by a tiny 1 printed next to it. If youre not sure how the
data cable attaches to the receptor, check the installation manual for details.
Dont force either cable connection, but make
sure they are snug and secure. A loose connection is all it takes for a drive to
10. Make sure
the cables arent pressing awkwardly on any other components inside the PC and check
that you didnt accidentally disconnect any cables while installing the hard drive.
When youre sure everything is in its proper order, replace the computers
cover. Connect the external peripherals to the computer and plug the computer into the
11. Insert the
system diskette in the diskette drive. If you received a bootable diskette with your new
hard drive, insert it in the diskette drive instead. Our drive came with a bootable
diskette, so we inserted it in the diskette drive. Dont turn on the PC until
youve read the instructions for the rest of the installation.
The install is nearly complete. Please follow the
To prepare the drive for use (click here)