How to Install a SATA Hard Drive

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A SATA drive removes the master-slave relationship between hard drives (concurrent), as each drive connects directly to a SATA host adapter or interface (serial). Data transfer speeds range from 150MB/sec (SATA) and up to 300 MB/second (SATA II).

Prepared to update your hard disk? Yet, there are many things to think about before you put in a SATA hard disk. I have summarized the most important points in this article.

Safety Guidelines

Installing new hardware isn’t rocket science. However, it can be dangerous for you along with your computer, if you don’t follow a couple of easy guidelines:

Ground Yourself

To avoid hardware damage from an electrostatic discharge you have to ground yourself, i.e. discharge your body’s static electricity before you open the computer case. In the event that you don’t possess an anti-static wristband (see image below), you can ground yourself by touching a solid and grounded part of metal, for instance the leg of a table or the metal case of your computer.

Power Off

After grounding yourself and before you open the case of your computer, make sure that the computer is turned off. Shut down Windows and turn off the power supply through the rock switch on the back of the computer. Instead, you can unplug the power cord.

Cables

In case your hard drive didn’t come with a complete set (they normally do not), be sure you have all the required cables. What you need is the SATA interface cable (red cable in image above) and either a 4-pin Molex power connector or a SATA power cable. The prior is the same cable that IDE drives demand. The SATA power connector is depicted in the following picture.

SATA drives normally come with both kinds of power connectors (numbers 1 and 3 in picture below), so you can use either the Molex or the SATA power connector. Do not use both at the same time!

Taken together, you have to consider the following:

  • You need one SATA interface cable for every SATA hard drive.
  • To power the drive, you need a SATA power connector or a 4pin Molex.
  • Never join both power connectors at exactly the same time or you could damage your drive!

The Installment

Aside from the hardware requirements, installing a SATA hard drive is no different than installing an IDE drive. The following YouTube video demo the setup procedure.

BIOs Setup

You may not have to make any changes to the BIOS. Nonetheless, in case your computer doesn’t discover the new hard drive by default, you might be able to fix this in the BIOS. Since BIOS choices aren’t standardized, I am only able to provide you with vague instructions.

To launch the BIOS, it’s necessary for you to press a special key before the computer boots into Windows. This might be the DEL, ESC, or F1 key. While you’re booting, the exact key is usually indicated, the text on your screen could be ‘Hit DEL to enter Setup’ or similar.

Once you’re in the BIOS, see if you’re able to find a choice to auto-detect new hardware. You should also find a list of hardware that is identified and how they are connected. Your hard disk may be classified as a SCSI device if you’re using a SATA host adapter / PCI card. This really won’t change capacity or the performance of the hard drive and is ordinary. Don’t forget to save your changes before you leave the BIOS again.

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