A solid state hard drive is one of the best upgrades available for a modern computer. This greatly increases the loading time of programs, which in turn makes the computer feel faster. The results can be dramatic. Some games, for example, loaded several times faster from the SSD after I replaced my own mechanical drive. drive.

The benefits of an SSD are out of the question. But how do you install one? In fact, installing a hard drive is one of the easiest upgrades possible. Anyone with two hands and a screwdriver can do it. Here’s how.

Note. AT This guide assumes you have a SATA SSD. Not sure what you have? Check out our guide to PCIe vs SATA to find out.

Mandatory Backup Notice and Disclaimer

Before we dive in, let me remind you that this is a guide to installing computer hardware. That means opening up your PC, plugging in new cords, and possibly unplugging others. Problems are rare, but it’s clear that your computer is at greater risk than if you didn’t do anything.

Also, make a backup of your data. This is a guide to installing a solid state hard drive. Even if nothing goes wrong, this new disk will be empty and you will have to install a new version of the operating system on it or clone an existing disk on it.

get ready

This guide is not a buying guide, so I’m assuming you’ve already purchased a solid state hard drive.

Before installation, you need to find out if your desktop has a 2.5″ drive bay. This can be difficult to determine if the SSD is not already installed. It will be just a small, I think, 2.5 inch wide bracket. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t exist. Even newer desktops often don’t have this feature.

An adapter is required to install an SSD in a chassis without a 2.5-inch drive bay. It’s a small metal tray, similar in size to a 3.5″ mechanical hard drive. It will have screw holes on the bottom that match the screw holes on the bottom of the SSD. Just align them and install like this.

solid state hard drive

When assembled, it should look something like this.

solid state drive

The only other hardware you need to have is a SATA cable. Most SSDs will ship with one included. It should look something like this.

solid state drive

Once you have an SSD in the adapter (if needed) and a SATA cable on hand, you’re ready to go.

Installing an SSD

Disconnect the computer from all power and peripheral cords and move it to a flat, level surface with good lighting. Once resolved, open it open. A standard tower PC usually opens on the left side (when viewed from the front). The panel will be fixed with screws on the back panel. However, not every case is like this. You may need to refer to your computer’s manual.

Once open, locate the drive bays. They are usually found at the front of the case, under the large optical drive bays. The bays themselves are generally just metal brackets with threaded holes, although some more expensive cases use a non-standard mounting system. If your system has such a system, you may need to refer to it for installation instructions.

solid state drive

Insert the SSD into its bracket, aligning the screw holes in the SSD or 3.5-inch adapter with the holes in the drive bay. Be sure to install the drive so that its SATA power and data connectors are facing the motherboard.

solid state drive

Now secure the drive with the screws. They had to be provided with a solid state drive. If you are short of screws for some reason, they can be purchased from enthusiast shops at very low prices.

solid state drive

Once the drive is secure, it’s time to connect it to the motherboard. The motherboard will have a SATA port that looks like this.

solid state drive

Connect a SATA cable to one of these ports and connect the other end to the SSD. Note the L-shaped connection design. This makes it impossible to install it in the wrong direction without ridiculous effort.

Then connect the SATA power to the SSD. It is a long, thin, black connector with an L-shaped design. This will be part of your PC’s power supply.

A Complete Guide to Installing a Solid State Hard Drive in a PC ssdinstall8

The power supply often bundles three of these connectors along the length of the cord, so where there is one, there are usually two more.

The data and power drive should look like this.

The Complete Guide to Installing a Solid State Hard Drive in Your Computer ssdinstall9

You did it! Now all you have to do is put the case back together and boot up your computer.

Operating system installation

Now the new SSD is installed. However, if you haven’t removed your existing hard drive, your computer will boot normally when you turn it on. The new drive will show up as a drive.

There are two ways to place an operating system on a new drive. One of them is cloning data from your previous drive to the new one. The other is to start over and install a fresh installation of your operating system on a new drive.

The Complete Guide to Installing a Solid State Hard Drive in Your Computer partedmagic clonezilla

Our very own Justin wrote a guide on how to clone your hard drive. . Please check out his article for information on this topic and come back here when you’re done. Otherwise, continue.

Now that you’ve cloned data to the SSD or decided to do a fresh install, you need to make the SSD your boot drive. This can only be done by entering the BIOS of your computer. Restart your computer and then press the BIOS hotkey on the first boot screen (usually Delete or F12). Your operating system will not boot and the BIOS will appear instead.

Windows 8 users can access UFEI (the successor to BIOS on modern computers) through Windows itself. See our guide for more.

After opening the BIOS or UFEI, look for a section labeled » Boot » or » Advanced Options» . Then find the hard drive subcategory and open it. After that, you will see a list of connected hard drives. Your old hard drive will appear at the top and your new one at the bottom. Change the boot order so the SSD is on top. Be sure to save the new settings when exiting the BIOS/UFEI.

solid state hard drive

Your computer will now boot from the solid state hard drive. If you have cloned data to this drive, you are done. If not, you can now install the operating system of your choice as usual.

Driver installation

After booting the operating system from the SSD, it’s time to install the drivers. Most SSDs come with drivers and I recommend installing them. They usually include disk management utilities that maximize disk performance and reliability.

Nothing else to notice when installing drivers. They install like any other software. Simply insert the CD or run the executable and follow the installation wizard. You may need to reboot after installation is complete.


I hope you enjoy your new SSD. You will no doubt notice that programs load much faster than before. Load times will also be faster. Because SSDs tend to have a small amount of storage, it’s a good idea to manage your data so that only important files and programs are on the new drive. See our SSD management guide for more.

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