How to Add a Second Internal Drive to Your Computer

You can’t add a second internal drive to laptops or netbooks; they’re too small. A second internal hard drive is a perk reserved for desktop computers. Some can even hold three or four extra drives.

1

Turn off and unplug your computer and remove the case.

If you live in a static-electricity-prone environment, buy a grounding strap that wraps around your wrist and attaches to the computer. Even if you don’t have much static electricity in your area, remember to touch your computer’s case to ground yourself before touching its innards.

2

After you obtain a compatible drive for your computer, slide it into an empty mounting bay in your computer’s innards.

A mounting bay is a collection of slide-in compartments inside your computer. Your existing hard drive takes up a mounting bay, for example. Look at how it’s fastened inside the mounting bay; your hard drive will fasten in the same way.

3

Follow the cable of your existing drive to see where it plugs into a motherboard connector marked “SATA,” then plug your new drive’s SATA cable into one of your motherboard’s adjacent SATA connectors. Plug the other end of this thin cable into your new SATA drive’s connector.

The plug fits into only one connector, and only right-side up.

4

Attach the power cable to the drive.

A SATA power cable looks like a wider SATA data cable and leads from your PC’s power supply.

5

Slide in the drive and screw it in place, if necessary.

If your two hard drives are in the same large bay, sometimes loosening the existing drive’s screws helps you slide the new drive into place. Sometimes it’s easier to attach the cables after the drive is in place. Use your own judgment.

Replace the PC’s cover, plug in your computer, and turn it on. Windows awakens with its new drive installed.

6

Click the Start button, right-click Computer, and choose Manage from the pop-up menu that appears.

The Computer Management window opens.

7

Click Disk Management in the left pane of the Computer Management window.

The Initialize Disk window pops up, listing your newly installed drive and asking your permission to initialize it — meaning prepare it for Windows to start stuffing it with information.

8

Without changing any other settings, click OK to start the process.

When Windows finishes, the drive is recognized but still unallocated, meaning it needs to be given a drive letter and told to begin accepting files for storage.

9

Back in the Computer Management window, right-click your newly-installed-but-still-unallocated drive and choose New Simple Volume from the pop-up menu.

Thankfully, the New Simple Volume Wizard appears, ready to prepare your drive.

10

Click Next at every screen in the wizard.

Windows assigns the next available letter to your drive and formats it. Your newly installed second drive now has a letter, and the drive appears in your Computer program when you click Start and choose Computer.

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