You don’t have to be afraid of opening the case on your desktop PC. The process of how to install a hard drive is a basic task, which anyone can easily accomplish.
Before doing the task of how to install a hard drive, the most important task is to carefully check and confirm which type of SATA Hard drive your computer is using. Finding this important information is very easy, and you can get that information on the website of the manufacturer.
Installing a hard drive is a very important and straightforward upgrade—and is sometimes a better option than having external drives that may be misplaced or dropped.
The process of how to install a hard drive usually needs not much more than mounting it, and then connecting some cables, and after that just formatting that drive for usage. However, there are some things that you need to know to make the installation process really smooth.
The process of how to install a hard drive on your PC does not need to follow the same process like installing an SSD.
Now let’s get into the hard drive which is installed in the computer, before knowing about the process of.
About the drive cages, bays, and also the mounting options
The internal hard disk drives of 3.5-inch are usually mounted in a special drive cage or in a drive bay that is already available. The process of the placement and orientation of those bays or cages be different or vary from case to case. The most common placement of those is at the lower front, close to the intake fans, and also away from the other components. Those drive cages/bays will most commonly be mounted in the position which is perpendicular to the bottom of the chassis, however the drives mounted in the cages commonly place parallel to the bottom area of the case.
The use of screws is the most convenient method to secure the hard drive into the drive cage of the case. The screwdrivers having magnet-tip can help in keeping you from dropping the screws in those places which are tough to reach.
In many cases, the drive connectors will mainly point to the rear. In some other cases, it may become more common to see the connectors of the drive facing the right side, making it much easier to hide the cables behind the tray of the motherboard.
In some other cases the users also have the ability to remove the drive cages or can mount those in other positions to optimize the flow of the air and also to simplify the cable management.
How to install a hard drive: Mounting the hard drive
The process of physically mounting the hard drive within your PC is actually the most difficult part of the entire process of installation. Securing the hard drive to its cage actually needs four screws on its four sides or the bottom part of the drive. In many other cases, the use of the tool-less trays which can easily hold the drives with the help of some simple pins and clips seems helpful.
On the other hand, some cases have tool-less brackets that can make the process of mounting the hard drives very easy. However, those brackets are usually less secure than the commonly seen screws. Using the screws is a reliable method of mounting, but the tool-less trays are good for those systems that do not need to be moved around very often.
In the picture above, the hard drive is being flipped upside-down to clearly display its parts. Seven of the total number of 10 screw holes is pointed out in red; also the SATA power and the data connections are colored in blue and green circles, to make their location clearer.
Drives can last much longer when they can stay nice and cool. While mounting the drives in a system, just try to leave more space between them if possible to maximize the airflow over both the tops and the bottoms. Placing the drives directly in front of the intake fan can also be helpful.
How to install a hard drive: The process of connecting the hard drives with the SATA
After the drive is mounted correctly, connecting it to the system is an easy and quick job, though this is an important part of the entire process of how to install a hard drive.
Nearly all new hard drives for desktops sold nowadays use the SATA interface. This SATA uses the simple cables which are keyed to fit properly on the drive and also the motherboard connector one way.
Now connect the one end of the cable to the drive, and the other end of the cable to a SATA port that is available on your motherboard, now you’re halfway there.
Some data cables of SATA come with the L-shaped ends, which can help you in keeping the cables tidy.
You can find the SATA cables in with your new drive or the motherboard feature having different connectors, such as: the straight ends or the right-angle (which is L-shaped). Some can have the metal retention clips, while others may not. However, just keep in mind that the shape of the connector has no hand in the performance.
Just try to look for the SATA cables having the metal retention clips, as they can help you to keep the connectors more secured. Most of the SATA 3 (6-gigabit)-compliant cables usually come with those useful clips.
The SATA power cable connection may look much similar to the data cable, however it is much longer. The connector is designed to fit only one way.
When you have completed the task of connecting the SATA cable, you’ll need to connect the drive to the PSU or the power supply unit. The SATA power cable from the PSU is designed to fit onto the drive one-way. If you don’t force it, there’s no way of messing it up.
How to install a hard drive: Preparing the hard drive for usage
Preparing the hard drive for use is another important step of how to install a hard drive. After you’ve successfully mounted and connected the drive, just power up the system and then enter in the BIOS/UEFI. You can access the BIOS/UEFI by pressing the F2 or DEL keys after powering up the entire system. Now, the system will show a message saying “Press DEL to enter Setup.” Consult the manual of your motherboard for the correct key.
In the BIOS, just go to the System Settings menu or the Integrated Peripherals > SATA menu to look for all of the installed drives in the system. If all of the drive controllers are successfully enabled and the drive is also connected and working properly, then it should be shown in the BIOS.
If the drive isn’t listed already, just shut down the PC. After that, double-check all the connections, then boot into the BIOS and next, check again. If the drive isn’t showing up again and all the connections are already secure, then just try plugging the SATA data cable into another port on the motherboard.
The UEFI BIOS will now show you all the hard drives that are properly connected and also detected by the system. BIOS and UEFI interfaces can be different on the basis of the model of the motherboard, so just check the manual of your motherboard or the website of the manufacturer for details.
To confirm this, Windows can recognize the drive by just opening up the Device Manager. In Windows 10, just right-click on the Windows button on your desktop and then selects the option Device Manager. After that, check for the drive within the section known as Disk Drives.
While booting into Windows after the installation of the drive, you can see the New Hardware Found wizard pop up if the drive is correctly detected. The final steps you need to perform are the accurate partition and format of the drive.
And with that step, the drive can be available for your use. If you split up the drive into multiple parts, you should see the appearance of several drives in File Explorer, with each having its own drive label and letter.
In this way you can successfully complete the process of how to install a hard drive without any difficulty.
The processes of installation and uninstallation can be difficult and confusing at times. If you need some more of these tutorials that offer proper guidance then you can read more of our tutorial blogs. For instance, A Simple guide on How to uninstall Avast Antivirus can be useful.