Step By Step Guide To Perfectly Install A HDD Into Your Computer

Over the past decade, the demand for storage in the computer system increased rapidly. That time was long gone when a single 1000 gig drive was more than enough for all the storage needs. But at this point in time, you actually can’t expect a small size drive to fit all your UHD movies or 4K recordings.

Using both SSD and HDD can actually show you the real deal that the storage can do these days. Believe me, having a perfect amount of combined storage is a must for every hardcore user/gamer.

Replacing the old drive to the bigger one is the way to go option to fix all your storage problems;

So, let me make it easier for you to install it.

#At First, Make Sure You Have The Right Driver To Install.

Before heading to the installation part, you have to make sure about the drive’s compatibility with your desktop or laptop computer. That drive you choose has to be perfectly fit into your desktop or laptop chassis and requires to have the same compatible interface that your system’s motherboard can support.

HDD comes in different types of interfaces, like SATA, IDE (PATA), SAS, SCSI, and a couple or more;

‘SAS & SCSI Drive’ mainly used by the enterprises in their servers and the IDE is way too old (suspended in 2003). But currently, SATA is the most common interface and widely used in desktop and laptop motherboards.

SATA released in three different versions – Version 1.0 (150 MB/s), Version 2.0 (300 MB/s) and Version 3.0 (600 MB/s) respectively;

It depends, which one of them is supported by your motherboard. SATA is also backward compatible, but you can check about the SATA version of your computer by looking over the specification page of your system’s motherboard.

Storage performance will never be an issue for the SATA 2.0 users as it can support up to 300MB/s whereas the fastest consumer SATA 3.0 hard drive only limits to 250-260MB/s (because of its mechanical boundaries, not the interface support).

So, to install a drive, you just have to make sure that you do have a ‘SATA 3.0 Hard Drive’ in your hand for your new computer, and that will be enough to make it work with most of the motherboard.

Physical size also matters too;

HDD comes in two basic physical sizes: 2.5-inch (mainly used in laptops) and 3.5-inch (big desktop size drive).

2.5 inch or 3.5 inches refer to the size of the data platter disk, not the whole drive. So, while searching for an HDD in the market you will find that some of the same size disk platter hard drives are a bit thicker and some are a bit slimmer.

You can easily install any fatty or slim 3.5-inch drive into your desktop because of its big cabinet. But, that’s not the case with the laptops. ‘2.5 Inch’ drive comes in two different height standards, 9.5 mm and 7.5 mm.

To check the drive’s physical size compatibility with your laptop, you have to measure the height of your old installed hard drive and get the exact same size drive (mainly talking about the height) to make it perfectly fit into the laptop.

To know more about it: Check Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Compatibility with Laptop or Desktop Motherboard

#Let’s Start With The Desktop;

Before heading to anything, make sure you turned off the computer properly and removed the power cable attached to the back of your desktop case.

If you’re a newbie then its better if you should remove all the connected cables and put the desktop cabinet on a working table so you can install the drive smoothly. And remember to move the screwdriver clockwise to loosen the screw. 😋

Now, unscrew the covers from both sides and then gently slide the panels backward to open the working part of your desktop cabinet.

To slide out the old hard drive, first, you have to remove the attached SATA cable (thinner one) & SATA Power cable (wider one, coming from the PSU) and then unscrew the drive from the chassis.

Later on, you can install your new hard drive and hook up the cables as it was connected before and you’re done with the physical part of this installation.

If you wish to use both of them (HDD+HDD or SSD+HDD) then you will require an extra SATA cable and some screws to fit the secondary drive in.

Your computer motherboard has limit ‘SATA Slots’ available on it and most of them filled with the cables attached to the CD/DVD-RW, SSDs or an eSATA connector;

Therefore, make sure you do have space for the newer drive or otherwise you’ll have to buy a ‘PCI SATA Controller card’ (like people have it in their Home Servers) to connect as many drives as you can. Smaller SATA Controllers are cheap and can be quite useful if your system is out of SATA slots for your extra terabyte gang.

You know, that you can install a ‘Dual Front & Back HDD Mount’ at the place of DVD/Blu-Ray Writer to make your cabinet a bit handy.

And you don’t need to get freak out if your PSU doesn’t have any extra SATA power connector for your new drive.

You can also buy an ‘ATA to SATA Power connector’ and you’re good to go;

Free floppy power connector also gets useful if you buy an ‘LP4 to SATA Power connector’.

Some expensive desktop cabinets come with the hot swipe frame (like you get in NAS or Servers). In that case, you have to pull out the drive’s caddy from its frame and screw the HDD into it, and then you can easily slide the new drive into the case.

Furthermore, you have to check the rack is connected with the motherboard and the power supply.

#Drive Installation in Laptops;

Because of limited choices, installing a hard drive in laptops is much easier than the desktops. But be sure about the buying date of your diamond, opening the back case of your laptop can also void the warranty too.

Watching a disassembly video of your laptop (related particularly to your model no.) can help you to know where the drive is located inside the body.

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Sometimes the hard drive is placed under the front side of the laptop and in that case, you’ll have to disassemble the whole body just to install a single drive.

If you’re not familiar with the tools and hardware, then it’s surely better if you should give this job to some professional. But if the drive is placed on the backside of the laptop’s body then even a kid can do it.

The first step is to properly turn off the laptop’s OS and then remove the battery out of it (if you can). Later on, hold a screwdriver and unscrew the back panel of your laptop’s body.

Some bulky laptops have space for two 2.5 inch storage units but most of it can only hold one.

Note: If the battery unit is inbuilt, you’ll find it when you disassemble the back panel of your laptop. Remove the battery first and then step further.

The drive either be connected by the cable/ribbon or directly attached to the onboard connector. In both cases, you only have to disconnect the old drive from the connector and put the new drive in.

Normally the metal cover that holding your drive is screwed on the assembly. So, before messing up with your laptop make sure you remove those screws;

And there is one more thing, you also need to unscrew the drive’s metal cover from the old drive and put it on the new one.

Most of the latest hard drive comes 7mm in height, which can be a problem while fitting it into the 9.5mm drive spacing;

You can fix that if you stick a ‘7 mm to 9.5 mm height extender frame’ on your drive to fill all the extra gap.

You know that you can install an extra secondary HDD/SSD into your laptop if you replace you ‘Optical Drive’ to a drive’s caddy.

#Last Step – BIOS Setup;

After when you put everything back on, now it’s the time to set the BIOS Setup. We need to set the Boot setting (which is a part of BIOS) to let the system know about, which drive to boot first or second, and so on.

To install a fresh Operating System in your new hard drive, you must have a bootable USB drive (containing OS) in your hand. To make one, you’ll require a flash drive and a particular kind of software that creates bootable USB drives by using the Operating System’s .iso File‘.

Later on, you can plug that bootable flash drive into your laptop or desktop to boot it on the system’s startup;

And that my friend, will be going to done by the Boot setting.

Suggested links;

On the other hand, you still have to look over to the boot configuration even if you install this new drive as secondary storage. Sometimes it’s possible that your old HDD/SSD (which is containing your OS) isn’t plugged into the first SATA Slot;

And when you plug your new drive’s cable into the slot number one then your computer will think it as primary storage and make the OS unbootable. Don’t worry, it can be quickly fixed by the boot configuration.

Accessing the BIOS Setup is quite easy. Hitting the right key on the keyboard again and again on the system’s startup can instantly get you to the BIOS settings. To find that hotkey, you’ll have to look at your PC’s first Boot Screen which normally displays the manufacture’s Logo, with a message containing the designated BIOS Key on it.

Then go into the “Boot Setting” and change the 1st boot priority to the USB (if installing OS via flash drive) or you can get it to your old HDD/SSD (to boot the previously installed OS);

I have already written a whole article about how you can change the boot order properly. Which you can check out over here: Changing the Boot Sequence/Order/Priority in BIOS.

To install an OS, here are some more reference links;

Still, don’t own a drive? Don’t wait to get one!

“That’s all for now, thanks for sticking with the article. It is always good to let me know about your views, in the comments below.” 🙂 



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