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Installing A Hard Drive

Hard Disk Format

Installing a hard drive and setting up the hard disk format is the next step in this computer build. Hard drive not recognized by the system? You will find out what to do here. Do you have hard drive retrieval procedures? If not, make sure that you develop them (and back up your hard drive).

Next up is installing a hard drive.

This installation guide includes hard drives, CD drives, and DVD drives.

You have two options for connections.

Almost all new drives now come with SATA connections, however, you may still find some with IDE connections.

Hard disk format (and partition) is done with your operating system; you need to make sure you prepare the hard disk and determine the file system type before you begin.

Start the Installation

With your motherboard you should have received an IDE cable, and at least 2 SATA cables.

sata cableide cable

You should also have received a bunch of rails. These may also be located on the bottom of your case. Some cases have a holder there for them.

Let's start with installing a computer hard drive.

If you have a removable drive cage then remove the drive cage from the computer case.

Hard Drive Cage

First, mount the drive in the drive cage. Depending on the type of case you bought, you will either have to use some screws to hold the drive in place, it will just snap into place in an existing bracket within the drive cage, or sometimes (although this is rare) you may need to mount rails on it.

As you can see, this case does not have a removable drive cage, it is built in. So I simply installed the drives into the case. When installing a hard drive, I like to keep some space between drives for better air flow and cooling.

Installing A Hard Drive

Do this for each computer hard drive you are installing.

Once all drives are in place, re-install the drive cage, if you used one, into the case.

Hard Drives Installed
Regardless of the type of drive you have, you will need a power connection for each drive. These will come from the power supply, use the standard 4 pin connection. Make sure to keep your wiring neat and run a cable to each hard drive. If your power supply came with cable extensions, you can use these and string two drives together on the same power cable.
Install SATA Drive
If you have SATA drives, the next step of installing a hard drive is to connect each drive to a SATA connection on the motherboard, label "L" on the motherboard diagram.
Hard Drive Power Connection
If you have an IDE drive, connect the drive to the IDE connection on the motherboard. Label "J" on the motherboard diagram.
Install IDE Drive

If you are using an IDE drive, when installing a hard drive, there are a couple more steps you will need to do.

1 - Set the jumper on the computer hard drive. If you are using a single IDE hard drive, this jumper should be in the Master position.

Hard Drive Jumper Settings
2 - IDE cables have room for 2 drives on them. These can both be hard drives, or mix of a hard drive and DVD drive. If you have 2 drives to put on this cable, you will need to set one to be the Master and one to be the Slave. Set the hard drive that will hold your Operating System as the master drive, and the other to be the slave.
Installing A Hard Drive


That's it for installing a hard drive. We're moving right along here, and are nearly complete with the assembly. Next up are the DVD and floppy drives...

Step Twelve - Installing A DVD Drive


Return to How To Build A Computer from Installing A Hard Drive.

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