how to install a new hard drive Hard drive space is not infinite. Today’s massive drives of over 1TB can create this illusion. But as drives get bigger, so do the ways in which they can be used. For example, HD video can eat up gigabytes for breakfast.

It is bad news. The good news is that it’s easy to learn how to install a new hard drive, so there’s no need to worry about the hard drive being nearly full. Read on to find out how to install a new drive to replace the old one.

Determining the correct replacement

Before you can upgrade your hard drive with a new replacement, you need to determine the type of drive you need to purchase Most hard drives today use a data connection known as SATA. However, computers that are several years old may instead maintain a data connection called an IDE. You can easily tell the difference between the two since IDE uses a lot of pins while SATA uses an L-shaped connector with no pins. The figure below is a comparison with the SATA drive on the left and the IDE drive on the right. Laptop drives will obviously be smaller, but have the same look and feel.

how to install a new hard drive

Speaking of size, you also need to make sure that you buy the drive with the correct physical dimensions. There are two popular sizes of hard drives — 3.5″ and 2.5″. The larger size is for desktops, while the smaller size is for laptops and small desktops. However, solid state hard drives are often 2.5″ regardless of the type of machine they are to be installed on. However, this rule is not absolute as some all-in-one computers use 2.5″ drives.

Transferring data from old to new drive

The process of installing a new hard drive is one of the least difficult hardware installation procedures in terms of the physical effort required. However, the hard drive is one of the most important components in your system as it stores all of your information. Everything from your operating system to your emails to your favorite songs is stored on your hard drive. Obviously a direct replacement would leave you without this information.

how to install hard drive

If you are using a computer with multiple hard drive bays, you can easily transfer data from one drive to another. All you have to do is install a second hard drive on your system and then clone an image of the existing drive. using one of the many free tools available for this task. Once the old disk image has been cloned and placed on the new disk, you can simply remove the old disk or reformat it and use it as a second disk (however, make sure the clone was successful before doing this step!)

how to install hard drive

Computers with only one drive bay are more difficult to work with because you can’t install new and old drives at the same time. However, you can still clone the old drive to the new one. This is possible by connecting the new drive to the computer using a USB-to-SATA cable or an external hard drive docking station. Disk cloning may take some time due to USB 2.0 bandwidth limitations, but will eventually complete.

Replacing an old drive

how to install hard drive

Desktop hard drives are typically located at the bottom front of the B-rack chassis and are secured with two to six screws. The process is not overly complicated, but detailed enough to justify your position. Please refer to James’ article on how to install a spare or second desktop drive. in the instructions.

Laptops are different, but simpler. Most laptops have a plastic hard drive bay cover on the bottom of the laptop that is held in place by one or two screws. Removing the cover will expose the drive, which is usually secured with a few screws. Installing a removable drive is simply a matter of removing the existing drive and putting the new drive in place. Power and data connections are built into the mount itself, so you don’t have to worry about tracing cables. Please note that not all laptops are designed to be user serviceable in this manner, so please read your laptop’s manual for information on replacing the hard drive before proceeding.

Loading and partitioning

how to install a new hard drive

After you’ve replaced the old drive, you’ll of course want to boot up your computer to make sure everything is working properly. Assuming you have cloned data from the old drive to the new one, this process should be painless. Your computer is barely aware that something has changed. You should probably visit the Disk Management utility, which can be found by visiting the » Administration» -> «Computer Management » Windows Control Panel to make sure Windows recognizes and uses the full capacity of your new hard drive. If this is not the case, you can expand the current partition to cover the free space, or create a new disk partition.

If you were unable to clone the drive, this step will not matter as you will have to format and partition the new drive during the operating system installation process.


We hope this short post has provided you with the information you need to learn how to install a new hard drive. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.

Image credit: TigerDirectTV

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