How to Install an Internal Hard Drive on Your Computer - dummies

How to Install an Internal Hard Drive on Your Computer

By Corey Sandler

The process of adding or replacing your computer’s hard drive isn’t as hard as you may think. You may want to consider replacing your hard drive if your hard drive fails and there’s no cost-efficient way to repair it, or you want to increase your computer’s efficiency or capacity. A larger hard drive not only gives you more storage space, but also lets Windows use more virtual memory for faster operation.

If you’re replacing your boot drive, make sure to back up any data that you want to save and install on your new hard drive.

To install a new internal hard drive, start by turning off your computer, unplugging the power cord and cables, placing the computer on a sturdy, well-lighted surface, and opening its case.

  1. If you’re replacing a drive, unplug its data and power cables, and remove it from the case.

    This process may be as simple as sliding the drive out of a cage. In other cases, you have to remove two or four screws on the sides of the drive.

  2. If your new drive needs rails to mount in the case, remove the rails from the drive you took out.

    You need to do this before installing the rails that should have come with the new drive.

  3. Slide the new drive partway into the slot you just vacated or, if you’re adding a second drive, partway into a vacant slot.


    Installing the drive only partway holds it in place but gives you flexibility while you hook up the data and power cables (see Steps 4 and 5). You’ll seat the drive in the slot later.

    Depending on the design of your computer, it may be easier to connect the data and power cables before you slide the drive into place.

  4. Find an available data cable and connector near the location where you’ll be installing the new drive and plug this cable into the data port of your new hard drive.

    Data cables are just lying around inside the case, connected to the motherboard on one end and to nothing or to another hard drive on the other.

  5. Locate an appropriate power cable, again choosing one near where the new drive will be installed, and plug this cable into the power connector on the new hard drive. Slide the drive into place.


    Make sure that the drive and cables are properly secured and that you didn’t leave any tools or other objects inside the case.

  6. Put the case back on, secure it, and return the computer to its usual location. Reattach the cables and power cord.

    Don’t forget to turn on the computer.