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How to Install a Hard Disk Drive

Before opening the case, unplug the PC to avoid an electrical shock hazard. Exercise caution as there are sharp edges on a PC and its components. Always wear a static electricity discharge strap and attach the lead to the metal frame of the case, when working with your PC's components to avoid damaging your PC. Note that some manufacturers will void your PC's warranty if you open the case.

Caution: please read our safety information.

Protect your data! Whether you are adding or replacing a drive, start by backing up any critical files from the existing drive. If you are replacing a crashed disk, that won't be an option, but in all other cases, it is wise to back up any critical files before you begin installing the new hard disk.

If you are replacing a hard disk, then you will be installing the new drive in the bay vacated by the old drive. If you are adding a drive, then you have some things to consider. First, is there an available bay? Will the communication and power cables reach that bay? Is there available space on either the primary or secondary controller? Will this drive be set as a master drive or a slave drive?

The communication cable can be no longer than 18 inches and if it is going to connect to two drives, make sure that the connectors can reach each drive. The drive that is set to be master should be connected to the end of the cable and the drive set as a slave should be connected to the middle connector. If this is the only drive on the controller, then it should be set as a master drive. It this drive will be the boot drive, it must be set as a master drive and it must be connected to the primary controller, usually labeled IDE 0.

When installing the drive, the connectors should face into the center of the PC and the exposed electronics should face down. If your case has a vertical bay, no need to worry, it is no longer required to mount a drive horizontally.

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