Physically installing a second internal hard drive

When you find yourself running out of space on your hard disk, you can delete or add something a little more space. While a USB external hard drive is a plug and play easy option is not really ideal – that take up disk space, possibly an additional outlet, use a valuable USB port, and are generally slower than internal drives . Let’s look now at the most difficult option to add a second internal drive.

Now would be a good time to download our new guide – Your PC, inside and out – to become familiar with the basics of your computer. We will focus only on the hard drive today, but the guide will give you a great overview of all random shots and ports you’ll see on the motherboard once you’ve cracked open.

Step 1: Identify whether you can add an internal drive or not

Not all computers are built the same, unfortunately. If you have a laptop, or an all-in-one machine system where inmates are hidden behind the monitor – then your only option is to go with a USB drive and you really should not think of opening it. If you have a small desktop computer read on, as there is a possibility that you have enough space for a second unit. If you have a mid-tower full size, then you should be able to easily add a second drive, or two, or three! See the table below if you are unsure.

Step 2: Backup

While we are not anticipating problems, it is good practice to back up your important data before performing any hardware change. We’ve covered some great options for the backup here, and here in our directory.

Step 3: Open the case

Before proceeding, turn the power of the box and all peripherals.

Most cases tower may have its sides removed with only two screws. You need to remove the side without the motherboard in it, so look at the back of the system will find the USB adaptador molex mouse ports, and remove the other side.

Step 4: Get rid of any static electricity in your body

Touching the inside of a computer, technicians use a wrist band to reduce the risk of electric shock any of the sensitive components with static electricity stored in the human body. For our purposes, touch a radiator will suffice.

Step 5: Find the hard drive and connectors for it

The interior of all the teams are very similar, and you can read PDF guide for a complete breakdown. The hard drive is a fairly significant portion of metal as follows:

You must find him sitting in a metal cage of some sort. Check now to see if you have room to fit one in there. A tower case will usually have space for up to 3 or 4 units, but a system of smaller desktop can only have been designed to take a drive, in which case you’re out of luck and will have to consider whether the update which already exists, or using an external USB drive instead.

Step 6: Identify If you have a SATA or IDE Drive

Look at this image and compare it to your unit. If yours is the type at the top, with wide ribbon cable – is a very old type of connection called IDE. Ideally, yours will be SATA. If you find yourself with an IDE drive, you are not completely out of luck, but I fear that is beyond the scope of this guide. IDE drives are becoming more difficult to buy time, and is a good indication of your computer is really getting old.

Check out things connected to it. One will power. There are two possible types of power cables, and, of course, the need to find a replacement on your system you can use. These could be hidden somewhere, so follow the other power cables carefully and try to find a replacement.

Some hard drives can take either type of cable, SATA type but are easier to connect so I use if available. If you have a spare power cable, but not SATA, you can still get a second unit, but you have to make sure you can accept a power cord MOLEX type, or you can get a Molex to SATA adapter for less 10.

Then follow the SATA data cable (no power) to the motherboard, and look at where it is plugged in. Different motherboards have different numbers of SATA ports, and even older machines can have only one. Obviously, if you can only find a SATA port, then you can only connect a SATA drive. If you can see some shots parts, then congratulations – you can go buy a second unit!

Step 7: Buying a unit

There is very little between drive manufacturers, and most of the hard drives that failure to do so within the first week of use are developed. On the technical side, looking for a 3.5-inch SATA hard drive and make sure to pick up other SATA cable while there – the store clerk should be able to help you with this if you can not find one.

Step 8: Install

Slide the drive cage is the hardest part because sometimes can be blocked by a video card or other large cables. Identify the cables before you move forward, noting that the front sides (data and power SATA cables all have a small notch at one end which means that inserting the reverse is practically impossible).

Once seated in the drive cage, use the screws that come with the unit to secure it – need to align the holes in the unit with the holes in the crate or tray. Here you will find the power cords and spare SATA cable, and connect to. Replace the side, and turn on the machine.

I’ll be covering the software side and the configuration of adding a second drive in my next article – so stay tuned for that. As always, feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

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