How to Install a New Hard Drive or SSD Drive on a PC

Whether you opt for a traditional hard disk or a newer (and more expensive) SSD, installing your storage in a PC is a relatively simple task. You screw it into one of your PC case’s dedicated slots, then connect the power and data cables.


TIP: If you’re installing more than one hard disk, plug the one from which you want to boot in the lowest-numbered SATA port. The BIOS will pick this hard disk as the boot drive by default.

1. Fit The Hard Disk into a Bay


To fit a hard disk, you’ll need a spare 3.5in drive bay. Be careful not to use one of the external bays, which have a cutout on the front of the case, as these are designed for memory card readers and floppy disk drives.

If your case has drive rails or screwless fittings, you’ll need to read the case’s manual for instructions on how to fit a drive. For other cases, slide the hard disk into a spare drive bay until the screw holes in the side of the drive line up with the holes in the drive bay. The disk should then be secured with four screws, two on either side. Suitable screws should have been provided with the hard disk or case. Screw them tightly to prevent the drive from wobbling.

2. Plug in the SATA Power Cable


In the picture below, you can see the SATA power connector on the hard disk and on the power supply. Locate the correct connector from your power supply and plug it into the back of your hard disk. It goes in only one way and clicks when it’s connected. Be extremely careful when plugging it in, as downwards pressure can break the clip surrounding the power connector. If this happens, the power plug won’t stay in place.

3. Plug in the SATA Data Cable


Unlike IDE, SATA uses a simple and thin connector to carry data. Your motherboard will ship with several SATA cables, so take one of these from the box. Plug it gently into the rear of the hard disk. It will plug in only one way and will click when it’s properly connected. Be careful when you plug it in, as downwards pressure can break the connector and prevent the SATA cable from connecting properly.

4. Plug the SATA Data Cable into the Motherboard


Next, you need to find a spare SATA port on your motherboard. These are usually located at the bottom-right of the board and are numbered. The lower the number, the higher up the boot chain your hard disk is. If you’re installing more than one hard disk, therefore, make sure the drive from which you’re going to boot is plugged into the lowest-numbered port. Check the motherboard’s manual to ensure that all the ports do the same thing; some boards have ports reserved for RAID.

Connecting the SATA cable is easy, as it will plug in only one way. It will click when the cable is connected properly.

If you are looking to add or replace your hard drive, you can Buy internal HDDs on Amazon now or search for one using Google Shopping.

One thought on “How to Install a New Hard Drive or SSD Drive on a PC”

Brent says:
I don’t see where the SATA Power to Power Supply photo is.
Steve Larner says:
The SATA power cable is the one in step 2 (first image). The cable going from the power supply unit or PSU is the one on the person’s thumb. The second image in Step 2 also shows you an angled view of the SATA power plug.

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