How to Add a Hard Drive to an Existing Computer
It is astounding how quickly even large hard drives will fill up with data once you add music, pictures and movies to them. One of the easiest solutions to this problem is to add a second hard drive. There are two basic methods for adding a hard drive to an existing computer. One is to simply add an external USB hard drive. While it's easy, external hard drives tend to be more expensive than internal models, and since they are not protected by the computer's casing, they may be more susceptible to damage. If you have an open hard drive bay in your computer, the other option is to add an internal hard drive.
Things You'll Need:
- External USB hard drive or a compatible internal hard drive
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Electrostatic discharge strap
External Hard Drive Instructions
Plug the USB cable and power cable into your external hard drive. Plug the power cable into a working power outlet. Boot up your computer as well.
Install any software that came with your external hard drive. Several external hard drives come with software packages that must be installed in order for the drive to function properly.
Plug the other end of the USB cable into an open USB port on your computer. Wait for your computer to recognize the drive. At this point you can use your operating system's drive format utility to format the drive if it is not already formatted. After that, you can begin using the drive to store data.
Internal Hard Drive Instructions
Disconnect any cables from your computer. Unplug the power cord, disconnect the keyboard, monitor, mouse and any other peripherals. Place your computer on a large desk or table so you have plenty of working space.
Attach an electrostatic discharge (ESD) strap to your wrist. Attach the other end to something metal to ground yourself. Failure to properly ground yourself can lead to static electricity damaging your computer.
Remove the side panel on your computer. All computer towers are different, so you will have to examine your own tower before removing the side panel. Several newer models allow you to just slide the panel toward the rear of the computer to remove it. Other towers will have two or three screws in the back of the computer holding the side panel in.
Locate the empty hard drive bays in your computer. Typically they will be located toward the front of the computer, under the optical drive bays.
Set the jumpers on your new hard drive. Jumpers are located on the back of the hard drive. Set the jumpers on your new drive to "Slave."
Slide the new drive into an open drive bay. Newer computers have plastic clips that allow you to slide and lock the drive into place. Older towers may require you to screw the drive into the bay with the mounting screws that came with your drive.
Attach a power cable from your power supply the power input on the drive. Attach a data cable from the drive to the mother board on your computer. Again configurations differ, so it may help to refer to the documentation on your mother board to locate the appropriate input slot.
Replace the side panel on your tower. Reconnect your peripherals and boot up your computer. Once the computer is fully booted you should see the new drive in your operating system.
Tips & Warnings
- Always keep yourself grounded when doing any work inside of your computer.
- There are two common types of hard drives: PATA and SATA. Purchase a drive that is compatible with your computer's mother board.