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.
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.
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.
When assembled, it should look something like this.
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.
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.
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.