Copy everything from your old drive to your new one

Buying a new hard drive with lots of storage space can give your PC a new lease on life and can improve your system's performance. But you need to make some decisions before you start transferring your data.

Installing a new hard drive in your PC is a fairly straightforward task that an intermediate user can typically accomplish in about 20 to 30 minutes. Follow these simple directions to get your new hard drive up and running quickly.

First, be sure to obtain a new drive that uses the same connector interface as your existing drive. In most current models, this will be a SATA connector. With your new drive in hand, disconnect your PC's power supply, and open up the case.

If the new drive is going to be your system's only hard drive, remove the old one by detaching the power and data cables from it, unscrewing the screws (usually two or four) that mount it to the case, and then sliding the drive out of its cage. Once the old drive is out of the way, screw the new one into the drive cage and attach the power and data cables just as they were on the old drive.

If the new drive is an addition to the existing one, leave the old drive in place and screw the new drive into an empty spot in the drive cage. Then use the SATA cable that came with your new drive to connect the drive to the motherboard's SATA port, according to the motherboard's instructions. Finally, attach an appropriate hard drive power connector from your power supply to the drive.

Once you have connected your new hard drive to your motherboard and power supply, boot up the PC to confirm that the system BIOS recognizes the new drive. If it doesn't, recheck your connections and consult the drive and motherboard manuals. As soon as the system BIOS recognizes everything, close up the case and configure your drive using the advice on the first page of this story.

Tags storage

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David Murphy

PC World (US online)

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