Do it yourself!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Change a Hard Drive

When your computer hard drive dies or you run out of space, it is time to have a new drive installed.  While it is certainly possible to hire someone to do this, the process can actually be easily completed at home.  With a new hard drive in hand, a couple of basic tools, and a bit of patience, you can have your new hard drive installed in a matter of minutes.  This article is designed to walk you through the process step-by-step, ensuring that in no time at all you are enjoying your new hard drive.

The first thing you will want to do is to determine your hard drive type.  While most brand new computers are using SATA hard drives, a vast majority of computers made more than a year or two ago use IDE hard drives.  Clicking the device manager on your computer and examining the hard disks tab will enable you to quickly determine your drive type.  Once you are certain which drive you have and have purchased a new drive of the same type, you are ready to get to work.

With your new drive ready, it is time to create a workspace.  Ensure that your area is free of dust and debris and make certain that you ground yourself by touching something metal before touching any of the components inside your computer.  Be certain to unplug the power cord from your computer and to touch a metal screw on the case to eliminate any electricity still residing in the computer.  Using a standard flat or Phillips head screwdriver, depending on the type holding your case together, remove the side of your computer case.

When the side of the case has been removed, you will be able to see the internal workings of the computer.  Once you have located the hard drive, remove the power supply and IDE or SATA cable from the back.  The power supply cable will likely be clear or white, though on SATA models it can be a thin black strip.  Your IDE cable will be a couple of inches wide, and an SATA cable will be red or orange.  When these cables are removed, you can use your screwdriver to take out the screws holding your hard drive into the case.  Once these screws are removed and safely set aside, the hard drive can be taken out.

With the old hard drive removed, simply place the new one where it was.  You will then want to use the same screws to mount the hard drive into place.  Once the drive is secure, replace the IDE or SATA cable and then replace the power cable.  Ensure that your hard drive cable is still firmly seated in the motherboard.  Once this is complete, simply place the case cover back on and screw it into place.  After replacing the power cord, your computer should be ready to go.  From here, all you need to do is use your backup disks or reinstall your operating system and your computer should be as good as new.

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