Installing a Serial ATA Hard Drive

01
of 09

Intro and Powering Down

Remove the Power Plug
Remove the Power Plug. ©Mark Kyrnin
Difficulty: Relatively Simple
Time Required: 5-10 minutes
Tools needed: Philips screwdriver

This guide was developed to instruct readers on the proper procedures for installing a Serial ATA hard drive into a desktop computer system. It includes step-by-step instructions for the physical installation of the drive into the computer case and properly connecting it into the computer motherboard. Please refer to the documentation included with the hard drive for some of the items listed in this guide.

Before working on the inside of any computer system, it is important to power down the computer. Shutdown the computer from the operating system. Once the system has safely shutdown, turn off the power to the internal component by flipping the switch on the back of the computer and removing the AC power cord.

02
of 09

Open Up the Computer Case

Open up the Computer Case
Open up the Computer Case. ©Mark Kyrnin

Opening up the computer case will vary depending upon how the case was manufactured. Most new cases will use either a side panel or door while older models require the whole cover be removed. Remove any screws used to fasten the cover toe hcase and set them aside in a safe place.

03
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Install the Hard Drive to the Drive Cage

Fasten the Drive to the Cage or Tray
Fasten the Drive to the Cage or Tray. ©Mark Kyrnin

Most computer system use a standard drive cage to install a hard drive but some newer cases use a form of tray or rails. Here are the instructions for the two most common methods:

Drive Cage: Simply slide the drive into the cage so that the mouting holes on the drive line up with the holes in the drive cage. Fasten the drive to the cage with screws.

Tray or Rails: Remove the tray or rails from the system and align the tray or rails to match the mounting holes on the drive. Fasten the drive to the tray or rails using screws. Once the draive is affixed, slide the tray or drive into the appropriate slot until it is secure.

04
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Plug the Serial ATA Cable to the Motherboard

Plug the Serial ATA Cable to the Motherboard
Plug the Serial ATA Cable to the Motherboard. ©Mark Kyrnin

Connect the Serial ATA cable to the Primary or Secondary Serial ATA connector on the motherboard or PCI card. The drive can be plugged into either although if the drive is meant to be used as a boot drive, select the primary channel as this is the first drive to boot between the Serial ATA connectors.

05
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Plug the Serial ATA Cable to the Drive

Plug the SATA Cable to the Drive
Plug the SATA Cable to the Drive. ©Mark Kyrnin

Attach the other end of the Serial ATA cable to the hard drive. Note that the serial ATA cable is keyed so that it can only be plugged in one way to the drive.

06
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(Optional) Plug in Serial ATA Power Adapater

Plug in the SATA Power Adapter
Plug in the SATA Power Adapter. ©Mark Kyrnin

Depending on the drive's power connectors and the power supply it may be necessary to use a 4-pin to SATA power adapter. If one is required, plug the adapter into the 4-pin Molex power connector from the power supply. Most new power supplies will come with a couple Serial ATA power connectors directly off the power supply.

07
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Plug the Power to the Drive

Plug the SATA Power to the Drive
Plug the SATA Power to the Drive. ©Mark Kyrnin

Attach the Serial ATA power connector to the connector on the hard drive. Note that the Serial ATA power connector is larger than the data cable connector.

08
of 09

Close the Computer Case

Fasten the Cover to the Case
Fasten the Cover to the Case. ©Mark Kyrnin

At this point, all of the interior work for the hard drive is completed. Replace the computer panel or cover to the case and fasten it with the screws that were previously removed when opening the computer case.

09
of 09

Power Up the Computer

Plug the AC Power to the PC
Plug the AC Power to the PC. ©Mark Kyrnin

All that is left to do now is power up the computer. Plug the AC power cord back into the computer system and flip the switch on the back to the ON position.

Once these steps are taken, the hard drive should be physically installed into the computer for proper operation. The drive must be formatted for use with the operating system before it can be used. Please consult the documentation that came with your motherboard or computer for additional information.

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