How to Install a SATA Hard Drive in a Desktop Computer
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How to Install a SATA Hard Drive in a Desktop Computer

The majority of desktop and laptop computers in the market now use SATA hard drives. The higher performance capabilities of SATA hard drives over the more obsolete IDE hard drives makes them ideal for desktop and laptop systems. Though the design of SATA drives differ from the older IDE hard drives, the installation process is essentially the same, so if you have ever replaced or installed a secondary hard drive on an IDE computer system, you should have no difficulty installing a SATA drive in a SATA compatible system.

Serial ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) hard drives, also known simply as SATA drives have several advantages over the older IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) hard drives. SATA drives offer faster and more efficient data transfer and, unlike IDE drives, do not require jumper adjustments in the event that you need to install secondary hard drive on your system. In order to install a SATA hard drive in your computer, your computer’s motherboard and power supply must be SATA hard drive compatible. Refer to your computer user manual to determine if your computer is SATA compatible.

Things You’ll Need

Phillips screwdriver

Electrostatic grounding strap

Step 1

Shut down your computer and disconnect any cables and cords currently connected to the back of your computer tower.

Step 2

Move your computer tower to a flat surface in a well-lit location. If at all possible, your work surface should be located in a room without carpeting. This will reduce the chances of an unintentional electrostatic charge being transfered into your computer while you are working on it.

Step 3

Remove the side access panel. Depending on the manufacturer and model of your desktop computer, you may have to remove one or two screws from the back of the tower in order to remove the side access panel. Some models allow you to remove the side access panel without the need to remove any screws. Refer to your computer’s user manual or the manufacturer website for the specific method of removing your particular model’s side access panel.

Step 4

Connect the electrostatic grounding strap to your wrist and clip the other end of it to the frame of your computer. This will prevent any static charges from being discharged into any of your computer’s internal components. A static charge can potentially damage some of the sensitive component inside your computer, so never attempt any maintenance or upgrades without using a grounding strap.

Step 5

Insert the SATA hard drive into an open hard drive bay. The hard drive bays are often located at the front of your computer tower and are commonly directly below the optical drive bays. Depending on your computer’s tower design, you may have to attach the rails that are included with your hard drive to properly secure the drive into the bay. The rails can be attached using the four screws provided with your hard drive. If the rails are not required, the drive can be secured directly into the hard drive bay using the two to four screws.

Step 6

Connect the SATA power supply cable and interface cable to the corresponding ports in the back of the hard drive. Connect the other end of the interface cable to an open SATA port on your motherboard. Refer to your computer user manual for the location of the SATA ports on your motherboard.

Step 7

Remove the grounding strap and re-attach the side access panel. Bring your computer back to its original location and reconnect all the cables and cords to the back of the tower. The next time that you boot up your computer, it will automatically recognize the new hard drive.

Additional resources:

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