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How to install a hard drive on your computer



Installing an internal hard drive is one of the simpler upgrades out there – and is often a better option than using external drives that may have been dropped or lost.

The process usually requires nothing more than mounting, connecting a few cables and formatting the drive for use. Still, there are a few things you need to know to make the installation go as smoothly as possible.

Installing a hard drive on your PC doesn’t necessarily follow the same procedure as installing an SSD. If you’ve opted for a solid-state drive, be sure to check out our companion guides that explain how to install an SSD on a desktop and laptop. SSDs typically offer much faster speeds than hard drives, but hard drives offer significantly more capacity at lower prices.

Before we dive into the small details, these are some highly regarded options if you̵

7;re looking for a hard drive to install on your computer. All three run at 7,200 revolutions per minute (RPM), the fastest speed available on consumer hard drives.

  • Seagate BarraCuda: 2 TB for $ 55, 4 TB for $ 90, 8 TB for $ 140, more sizes available.
  • Toshiba X300: 4 TB for $ 95, more sizes available
  • WD Black: 1 TB for $ 70, 2 TB for $ 100, 8 TB for $ 250, more sizes available.

Now let’s install this hard drive on your computer.

Disc cages, bays and mounting options

Internal 3.5-inch hard drives are usually mounted in a drive cage or in an available drive bay. The placement and orientation of the cages or bays will differ from case to case. The most common location is at the bottom of the front, near the intake fans and away from other components. Drive cages / bays are usually mounted perpendicular to the bottom of the chassis, while drives mounted in the cages are usually parallel to the bottom of the chassis.

screw bracket for hard disk Marco Chiappetta

Screws are the best way to secure your hard drive in the drive cage of your enclosure. Magnetic-tipped screwdrivers can help prevent dropping screws in hard-to-reach places.

In regular cases, drive connectors usually point backwards. In enthusiast class cases, it is becoming more common to see the drive’s connectors facing the right side, making it easier to route and hide cables behind the motherboard tray. Some enthusiast-class cases also allow users to remove drive cages or mount them in different positions to optimize airflow and simplify cable management.

Mount your hard drive

Physically mounting the hard drive in a PC is probably the most difficult part of the installation process.


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