Installing A New Hard Disk Drive – A Beginners Guide

Random Access Memory (RAM) in our computers handiest holds records whilst the computer is grew to become on. Your word processor sits in RAM – as does that 5 web page record you spent two hours typing in.

Turn your laptop off, or (heaven forbid) you’ve got a strength reduce, the contents of RAM is emptied and the phrase processor together with all that paintings surely disappears in a flash. You manifestly need a way to shop your paintings and that’s wherein the difficult disk pressure (hdd) comes in.

Essentially magnetic media, the disc (or platter) within the hdd works in a comparable manner to a cassette tape in as tons because the facts on it does not disappear when the electricity is grew to become off.

But, after we’ve got had our computers for a while, the hdd can either top off or maybe start to fail, causing gradual loading times and mistakes messages. In this article, we will study the former – adding any other hdd whilst your contemporary hdd is full.

How long your tough disk takes to fill up relies upon on how huge it is and what you use your computer for.

For a everyday pc person, this could take a completely long term. In fact, some users will by no means fill the hdd in their pc.

But, if you’ve taken up newbie photography as an example, and take hundreds of snap shots per week, you could refill the hdd in some months. If you’ve sold a brand new video digicam and want to create, edit and save films, filling a hdd can occur an awful lot faster.

So in case you get a message on your display screen telling you which you have become low on disk area, it’s time to start deleting stuff… Or sort out a brand new hdd.

Yes, you could constantly plug in an external USB difficult disk, but in case you are on a budget, you can fit an inner hdd for lots much less – or spend the equal and get a much larger hdd!

The actual manner is fairly straight forward and if you recognize a way to use a screwdriver you ought to find it quite smooth.


The first factor I do is take a look at the computer’s BIOS to look the modern-day hdd configuration. The chances are that the BIOS screen is something you have never seen earlier than and I strongly advise that once doing what I’m going to speak you via now, you don’t cross into it once more.

We are handiest going to look at present settings now, however there are things within the BIOS that you can alternate to the wrong values and although your computer may not blow up or something drastic like that, you may forestall Windows loading or maybe prevent your laptop from switching on.

To get to the BIOS, turn on (or restart) your computer and watch the bottom of the display screen for a message which tells you what to press to enter the Setup display.

On most computer systems it’s the Del key (the Supr key on Spanish keyboards where I live), however on a few computer systems it’s the F2 or F10 key. I’ve even visible the Ctrl+S aggregate used.

Once you’ve got seen what key(s) you need to press on the display, hit the Reset button on the front of your computer and start tapping the specified key(s) whilst you listen your laptop ‘beep’.

If all goes properly, you need to see a undeniable textual content screen (both blue or black) and the words BIOS or Setup on the pinnacle of the screen in conjunction with the name of the business enterprise who made the BIOS. Depending at the motherboard to your computer this will be Award (Phoenix), AMI (American Megatrends Inc) or some other organisation.

Award’s Phoenix bios is probably the most common and includes some of ‘pages’ – displayed in two columns. Using the up, down, left and proper cursor keys, you highlight the page you need and press the enter key to enter the page. Pressing the Esc key backs out and returns to the preceding display screen.

Each page consists of some of alternatives which you could trade. Right now, we handiest need to examine the hdd configuration and NOT change anything, so that is all I’m going to say approximately the BIOS for now.

Other producers BIOS screens work in exactly the same manner, but in place of two columns there can be a single column or even a menu going for walks horizontally across the pinnacle of the display screen.

To see the hdd configuration in a Phoenix Award BIOS, you want to focus on the Standard CMOS Features page and press Enter.

My own computer has the AMI BIOS with the menu going for walks throughout the top and the equal of Award’s Standard CMOS Features web page is the primary page you see and is entitled ‘Main’ – you do not want to choose something else.

On this page, it shows all the available hdd ports (IDE and SATA) and the model name of the hdd that’s connected to it. Models starting with ST are Seagate drives and people beginning with WDC are Western Digital 초보운전연수 drives. Samsung and Toshiba actually say Samsung and Toshiba inside the version name.

If no hdd is hooked up to a port it may show ‘Not Detected’. My Asus motherboard handiest has a single IDE port (supporting IDE drives, master and slave), along with 4 SATA ports. Your BIOS will likely be different. It may additionally simplest show ports that drives are honestly linked to.

If your BIOS isn’t always like the ones mentioned, you will truely must open each page in flip, seeking out point out of Primary IDE Master, Slave, or SATA 1, 2, 3, four etc. Remember, spotlight a page, press Enter to head in and press the Esc key to again out if it would not incorporate the information you’re searching out.

When you get to the display which indicates the drives to your computer, be aware down what they’re linked to. This consists of any CD/DVD-ROM drives.

This data tells you what ports are unfastened to connect the brand new power to, however it’s also a short indication of the way successful the job become while you’ve completed. If to procure the entirety right, the new drive will seem on the listing. If no longer, it won’t seem and if you purchased the settings incorrect on an IDE drive, the power that changed into there earlier than you started could also disappear off the list!

Having were given the info we need, as we’ve got now not made any changes inside the BIOS, we are able to maintain down the on/off button for 5 seconds to turn off the computer.

Before we genuinely start, you need to work out what you’re going to need for the process – other than a Phillips move-head screwdriver. For example, as a laptop engineer, I have a large stock of cables I can pick from, but the chances are that you do now not. The cable you buy (in case you actually need one) relies upon on the hdd you buy.

As there are special forms of hdd, when you pop right down to the nearby computer keep, your shopping list desires to have the appropriate gadgets on it. In a nutshell, you want to take a glance interior your laptop to look what is in there already and what you may upload.

So, flip off the strength transfer in the back of the computer (if there is one) and unplug all of the cables.

If you are not certain in which all of the cables go, spend a couple of minutes drawing a picture for later on when the whole lot is plugged returned in. To be sincere, apart from USB devices, maximum of the cables will only plug into one hole.

All USB gadgets need to work no matter which USB socket they’re plugged into, but you may keep yourself feasible future hassles by means of plugging them all lower back in precisely the identical location you unplugged them from. So if not anything else, be aware where each USB plug is going.

If you have a fashionable case laptop PC, you just want to eliminate the panel on the left hand side (while looking at it from the front).

The facet panel will have a 90º lip on the lower back aspect and there may be two Phillips screws securing it in location. Remove these two screws and slide the side panel in the direction of the again of the laptop and lift it away.

Note: If you have a branded laptop like a Dell, HP etc. Establishing it up can be unique so you will need to consult the documentation which got here with it.

Also, if it’s miles still in assurance, (with any luck by now it may not be), then opening the case can also void the guarantee, so be aware of this. It must be noted but that in case you took it in your nearby pc store, they too might should open it up, so the end result would be the identical…

In a popular computer case, the CD-ROM/DVD force(s) and hard disks might be installed in bays at the the front of the case. Optical drives like CD and DVD’s move in the large bays at the top and the hdd’s within the smaller, 3.5″ bays beneath.

Locate your hdd and have a look at the again cease which protrudes out of the rear of the bay. There are basically 3 main sorts of hdd – IDE/ATA, SATA and SCSI.

IDE remains the maximum usually found form of hdd out in the wild, however is slowly being changed by the quicker SATA wellknown. All new computers offered these days have SATA drives. SCSI is not often used in terms of IDE and SATA, however continues to be available and tends to be located best in extra professional computer systems.

What Drive Do I Have Already?

All 3 kinds of drives are pretty an awful lot same in physical length, however differ in the cables used to connect them to the device. As we need to appearance interior your laptop to find out what loose connectors are available, at the same time as we try this we also can easily check what type of force(s) you’ve got already.

How To Detect If You Have An IDE/ATA Drive:

IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) is the unique Western Digital name for the interface popular which subsequently developed into the ATA (AT Attachment) interface preferred currently in use today.

Older motherboards had 2 IDE connectors (number one and secondary) and with every one being capable of guide a master and slave device, as much as 4 drives (any mixture tough disks or CD-ROMs) may be connected.

ATA power records cables are flat ribbon cables, generally gray, about 5cm extensive and having 3 x forty pin connectors attached – one at every cease and some other part of the manner alongside it.

If you currently have a unmarried IDE/ATA power, the ribbon cable could be connected to the motherboard at one stop, to the power in all likelihood the use of the ‘master’ connector at the alternative quit and feature a spare unused ‘slave’ connector around 15-20cm from the stop.

Note: If you also have an IDE CD-ROM or DVD power, it is able to be connected to the slave connector at the same primary IDE cable as the hdd, or connected on it’s own the use of the secondary IDE cable.

Looking in the back of an IDE hdd, the 4 pin Molex 8981 power connector is positioned on the far proper and the connector plug is female with 1 pink, 1 yellow and a couple of black wires.

How To Detect If You Have A SATA Drive:

Serial ATA (SATA) drives first appeared in 2003 and have been quicker versions of the preceding ATA (IDE) drives. ATA become in the end renamed to Parallel ATA (PATA).

Today, nearly all new computers, laptops and netbooks are supplied with SATA drives as trendy. Although most new motherboards still have a unmarried vintage IDE connector on them for backwards compatibility, they typically have 4 or extra of the more moderen SATA connectors.

SATA records cables also are flattened, however no longer as flat as IDE ribbon cables and nowhere near as wide. At around 1cm huge and slightly thicker, they come in various colors. I have pink, blue, yellow and black SATA records cables.

Unlike IDE cables even though, they most effective have one power connector. As such, each SATA force needs it is personal facts cable.

If you have got a SATA pressure, observe the flat facts cable lower back to the motherboard and also you ought to see that it plugs into a SATA socket. There have to be 4, however it doesn’t depend so long as there is one loose.

Looking in the back of the hdd, the SATA electricity connector is positioned on the a ways left and the power cable has 1 crimson, 1 yellow, 1 black and 1 orange wire. The information cable plugs in only to the right of the power cable with little or no hole among.

Most cutting-edge electricity resources have each IDE and SATA energy connectors.

How To Detect If You Have A SCSI Drive:

The 0.33 and ultimate hdd type uses a wellknown referred to as Small Computer System Interface (SCSI – reported ‘scuzzy’) and despite the fact that they’re excellent and speedy, they’re additionally very costly, so it’s exceptionally not going you will already have this type of for your pc with out knowing approximately it already.

Most motherboards do now not have a SCSI interface constructed in, so you can commonly spot those drives as the information cable from the back of them normally connects to a SCSI interface card instead of at once onto the motherboard.

The statistics cable on a SCSI pressure is just like an IDE ribbon cable, however plenty wider, so if the information cable in your hdd is wider than the one at the CD-ROM force then you definitely’ve got a SCSI drive. The power connector is likewise exactly similar to on an IDE power.

If you need every other any such drives, your neighborhood pc keep may also should order it for you as they are not usually stock objects – or you could possibly order one on-line a lot cheaper.

Decision Time

Your computer right now probably has a unmarried tough disk and a single CD/DVDROM drive, however to be sincere, it doesn’t truely count number if the current hdd is the older IDE/ATA interface.

If your motherboard helps SATA drives, I suggest you pass for one as they’re faster and commonly less complicated to get hold of – except fee is an difficulty and you may get hold of a decent sized second hand IDE force for subsequent to nothing.

Either way, all you need is a free electricity connector and a statistics cable for the power you emerge as getting.

Note: You do no longer need to stick with the kind of drive you presently have. If you have got an IDE drive you may still upload a brand new SATA power and vice-versa.

To Sum Up:

* If your computer has an IDE ribbon cable with a loose connector, in addition to a unfastened IDE electricity connector you can correctly buy an IDE disk force.

* If your laptop handiest has a unmarried IDE ribbon cable and each grasp and slave connectors are in use, as long as your motherboard has an unused secondary IDE port you can safely purchase an IDE disk pressure, however you’ll additionally want to buy any other IDE cable for it.

* If your computer has a unfastened SATA port on the motherboard and your strength supply has a unfastened SATA energy connector you could correctly buy a SATA disk pressure. If you do not have one, you’ll additionally want to shop for a SATA facts cable.

* If you don’t have any free IDE or SATA connections and no loose IDE or SATA electricity connectors, you may probable discover it cheaper and easier to get an outside USB drive.

Tip! If you buy your new pressure from your neighborhood pc save, ask them in the event that they promote 6-32 UNC drive mounting screws. Most of us who paintings with computers for a residing have thousands of them mendacity round so the chances are they may provide you with a handful for free!

Installing The Drive:

Having got your new drive and if vital, the right statistics cable for it, all we need to do now could be set up it.

SATA Drives

If your pressure is a SATA power, there’s no configuration concerned you may simply pop it into an empty bay and screw it in.

There are four screws – each aspect, but if I’m honest, I most effective ever use screws due to the fact you need to take the other case aspect panel off to place them in. If I pass lower back to a system at a later date and ought to take the drive out, it’s a time saver simplest having to take away one aspect panel to do it.

The pressure bays have guide rails both side which preserve the pressure horizontal and the two screws you do installed save you it from shifting, so the alternative two screws really aren’t necessary.

Next, you connect the SATA electricity cable to the pressure. The power connector plug has an ‘L’ shaped ridge in it which handiest fits up with the groove on the force connector while it’s the best way round, so do not force it.

Finally, you join one stop of the SATA records cable to the motherboard and the alternative quit to the pressure. Like the strength cable plug, the information cable has the ‘L’ fashioned ridge so healthy them up earlier than seeking to pressure them in.

Note: The plugs at the give up of a SATA cable are same, so it does not rely which cease plugs into the drive and which plugs into the motherboard.

And this is all there may be to putting in a new SATA force.

IDE/ATA Drives

As an IDE cable could have two gadgets attached – like a hdd connected as a master and a CD_ROM connected as a slave, all IDE devices must be set as either grasp or slave and feature the perfect connector connected.

Setting the tool is achieved with a tiny jumper which shorts out pins at the lower back of the tool.

Each hdd manufacturer may have specific jumper settings, so at the pinnacle of the force you’ll find a sticker showing the diverse jumper configurations.

For instance, on Seagate drives, shorting out the two pins furthest far from the strength socket by placing a jumper on them makes the pressure the grasp device. Leaving the jumper off the identical two pins units the force as a slave tool.

On an IDE ribbon cable, there are 3 connectors. Two are closer collectively at one quit and it’s miles those that plug into the two IDE devices. The one on it’s personal at the alternative quit plugs into the port at the motherboard.

Of the 2 connectors near collectively, the only at the very cease of the cable is plugged into the master tool and the other one into the slave tool.

So, as soon as you’ve got determined which connector is going to be plugged into your new power, you can set the jumper accordingly.

A 2nd hdd will work pleasant set as a slave so long as the slave cable connector is plugged in, however if given the choice I would always add a new hdd as a grasp at the secondary IDE channel with a new IDE cable – even though the slave connector on the primary IDE channel changed into free.

In idea though it should not make any difference and anyways, the possibilities are your grasp and slave at the primary IDE channel are already taken with your hdd and CD/DVD-ROM power. If so, set the brand new power to master and while you join the brand new IDE cable, plug the master connector (the only at the very give up) into the force.

You can now put the force into a free bay and screw inside the two screws.

Attach either the loose connector on the prevailing IDE ribbon cable to the pressure, or join one give up of your new IDE ribbon cable to the motherboard and the opposite quit on your new hdd.

Note: One side cord of the IDE ribbon cable may be marked in a distinct colour to make it stand out. This is to assist when plugging it in because the connector will most effective suit one manner round. When the marked cord is closest to the strength connector, the cable will be effectively oriented, to plug in.

Finally, plug the new force’s power connector in. This has chamfered edges at the bottom so it can also most effective be plugged in one manner round. When the power plug is the proper way round, the yellow cord is nearest to you when looking into the case from the left aspect.

At this factor, you have to be accomplished and in a super world you’ll positioned the side panel again on, connect all of the cables and strength for your machine. But it is probably sensible to depart the facet panel off some time longer at the same time as you connect the cables and power up – simply in case there is a trouble and you want to move again in and exchange anything.

As described proper at the beginning of this article, energy up, cross lower back into the BIOS and go to the web page which lists your drives. If a brand new hdd version variety has appeared subsequent to a port which wasn’t there before and those that had been there earlier than are all still there, then congratulations – you’ve effectively set up your new tough disk!

If the brand new drive does not seem (or one disappears), you currently ought to begin the trouble-taking pictures phase.

At this factor, we have no modifications to keep within the BIOS so we will preserve down the on/off button to turn off the computer.


First check that every one cables are gift and firmly driven in.

With the pc grew to become off, location the steel cease of your Phillips screwdriver in one of the screw holes of the brand new hdd’s case and push the screwdriver manage to your ear. Turn at the PC and if the drive powers up, you’ll listen the hdd drive motor whine and clicking noises through the screwdriver. If there is no sound or vibration, swap the energy connector with a operating force and check again.

If there may be nevertheless not anything, you’ve got a lifeless drive and must return it. If it starts working, attempt the first energy connector in the other power. If this is now useless, use every other power connector (there may be generally a pair unused).

If the pressure you established is an IDE pressure and is powering up OK and/or a previously operating IDE pressure has disappeared of the listing within the BIOS then you have set the master/slave configuration jumper incorrectly. On an IDE ribbon cable, simplest one tool can be grasp – the alternative must be set to slave. Set them each to the identical and neither will be detected by means of the BIOS.

Also with IDE drives, ensure that the power set as grasp is attached to the connector at the END of the IDE cable and the pressure set as slave is connected to the other connector.

With new SATA drives, you may do the screwdriver test for power, but there aren’t any jumpers to get incorrect, so ensure the strength is off and strive connecting the facts cable to another SATA port at the motherboard.

Assuming all has gone to plot to date, you have to be able to show in your computer and it will boot into Windows as ordinary. If you have got Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 then your new pressure have to be detected robotically as new hardware. Just look ahead to the ‘your new hardware is ready to use’ message.

New drives will need to have one (or greater) partitions created on them after which formatted before you could use them.

In a few versions of Windows some or all the system may be automatic and you can simply see a pop-up box asking if you need to format the new drive. You can simply say yes.

I use Windows XP and this process must be done manually, however it is quite easy to do and blanketed in my article ‘Preparing A Hard Disk For Use In Windows XP’.

Barrie J Capel is a pc engineer with over 30 years experience in hardware, software program development and IT Training for neighborhood government in the UK. He now lives in Tenerife, Spain and is the proprietor of Tenerife-based totally IT professionals Computech Tenerife and newly shaped sub-department Computech Tenerife Web Designs.

Since he’s no longer concerned in energetic IT schooling, he has positioned his many years of revel in to use growing a number of ‘how to’ courses which he gives away totally free of price at the Computech Tenerife internet site:

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