How to Install a New Hard Drive

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Curious about how to install a new hard drive? If you need to add space, putting in a second hard drive is a fast and painless process. If you’re replacing your existing hard drive, you have a few additional steps, but it’s still easy.

Determine what kind of hard drive you need.
Different computers require different types of hard drive connections. Determine whether your computer data cable is IDE or SATA. IDE cables are wide ribbons, and they typically have multiple 50-pin connectors on each ribbon. SATA connectors are much smaller, and they have only one connector per cable. Determine which type of computer data cable you have to ensure you get the correct type of hard drive.

Set the appropriate jumper settings on your new hard drive.
If you’ve got an IDE hard drive, you’ll need to set the appropriate jumper settings on your hard drive to designate it as the secondary hard drive. Consult your manufacturer’s paperwork on how to set your hard drive jumpers to the secondary or slave setting. Position the jumpers as indicated before connecting your hard drive.

Plug it in, and turn -er on.
Mount your hard drive in the appropriate bay. You’ll want to use all four mounting screws, as hard drives spin incredibly fast and can become loose over time if you don’t mount them properly. Plug in the connector; it should fit only one way into the plug. Don’t forget to plug in the power cable, which should also fit only one way. Once your new hard drive is plugged in, close up your computer and turn it on. Windows automatically recognizes the new hard drive, so you don’t need to do anything special to use it.

To replace your primary hard drive, copy your hard drive contents.
If you’re replacing your primary hard drive but you want to keep all your programs and files, you’ll need to clone your hard drive. You can always copy and transfer files, but it doesn’t work to transfer programs and settings to your new hard drive. If you want to transfer programs and applications, you’ll need a hard disk cloner. Many hard disk cloner utilities exist, so choose the one that seems to fit your needs best.

Install your new hard drive like a secondary hard drive initially, and then boot your computer to the hard disk cloner. Follow the prompts to clone your hard drive, but be certain to choose your old hard drive as the source and your new hard drive as the destination. Run the cloning utility, and verify that your file contents have transferred correctly. Then you can power down your system, physically remove your old hard drive and change the jumper settings on your new hard drive to master, if applicable. When you boot your computer again, your new hard drive with cloned contents should be all set to go.

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