How To Install a New Hard Drive

Now that you have installed your motherboard, CPU, and RAM, it's time for the next step in building your own PC - installing a new hard drive. Hard disk installation is fairly easy if you're following the right procedures and will only require a few minutes of your time.

Once again, make sure you have your antistatic measures in place before starting. Note that this article only covers the physical side of installing a primary hard drive.

IDE Hard Drive Preparation

To install an IDE hard drive you firstly need to locate the IDE configuration pins on the actual hard disk itself. They are usually found near the power and other connection ports on the hard drive.

The IDE configuration pins come in a small group of usually six or eight pins and have a little plastic jumper attached between two of the pins. If this hard drive will be the only hard drive in your computer, then set the jumper selector to 'Master'. Or, if this hard drive you are installing is an additional hard drive then set the jumper to 'Slave'.

If your hard drive is a SATA (Serial ATA) drive then no such configuration will be needed on your part, and you can just skip this step and proceed to installing your drive into your PC.

Install New Hard Drive Into Your PC

Now you are ready to actually install your hard disk into your computer case. Locate the drive bay in the case where your hard drive will live and carefully slide the hard drive into that bay. Make sure that the end with all the cable connections faces inwards.

Slide the hard drive in until the fixing holes match up and screw it into place with the coarse-threaded screws provided. Make sure the hard drive is securely fitted into the bay. Some PC cases have removable drive bays, which makes it a lot easier to screw the drive in.

Connecting Your Hard Drive

The next part is to connect the cables. Now that you have fitted your hard drive you need to actually connect it to the motherboard.

The IDE cable that you need to connect to the motherboard is typically color coded to make things easier. The actual colors depend on the manufacturer, but it's usually the blue connector to the motherboard, black to the master device, and grey to the slave device.

If you are installing the main or only hard drive in your computer, then make sure the IDE cable is connected to the primary IDE connector on the motherboard.

Connecting a SATA hard drive on the other hand is a little different, and the cables provided usually contain a much thinner ribbon. You should refer to your hard drive instructions from the box for exact details on connecting to your motherboard.

Either way, you also need to connect your PC's power supply to the back of your hard drive. When you have done that, your hard drive has been successfully fitted.