The 13 Easy Steps to Installing a Primary Hard Drive
Compiled By Our Editors
it or not, all it takes is less than a half-an-hour and a Phillips screwdriver
to install your primary IDE hard drive into your desktop PC. Simply follow
this illustrated 13-step guide and it’s mission accomplished! Please make
sure you consult your user manual and other manufacturer-provided documentation
while you complete the installation - you will need to refer to instructions
at certain points in the operation.
The first step is obvious! Power down your PC! And for safety measures
make sure you have unplugged all your power cords.
Next locate all the screws and/or clamps that hold the computer
case and/or panels together..
Now it's time to gain access to the interior of the computer case.
Simply remove the case or the panels that hold it together.
If your PC happens to have a removable hard drive bracket, now is
the time to remove it! It’s specially designed to be removed
without hassles, and its absence will make this simple installation
project even easier.
Now it's time to leaf through the documentation that came with your
hard drive, along with any included diagrams, for instructions on
how to set the jumpers on the drive. If you're the type of person
who hates to read the instructions, bury your impulse to neglect
this crucial step. If your system has but a single drive connected
to the cable, use the “Cable Select” option; this will
suffice in most cases when there is only one drive. If another drive
exists it will be connected to the same IDE cable, using the “Master”
You're almost halfway done! Wasn't that easy. Now the fun begins!
Slide your hard drive into the drive bay, then fasten it down. Some
cases employ a system in which slide rails mount onto the drive
for easy insertion and removal from the drive bay.
Remember that removable drive bay bracket that you removed in Step
4? Now it's time to return it to the inside of the case.
You will find that most ATA/66 and ATA/100 IDE cables have either
a blue connector or a connector labeled “System Board.”
In the likely case that this applies to your PC, plug this blue
connector into either the IDE0 (Primary) or IDE1 (Secondary) connector
on the motherboard. The primary connector is color-coded blue, in
most circumstances, to indicate that it should be used for a hard
drive. Usually, you can insert the cables in but one way. However,
if the cable is not keyed for one-way insertion, make sure that
the red stripe on the IDE cable matches up to “Pin 1”
on the motherboard.
Attach your connector that is located the farthest distance on the
ribbon cable to the hard drive. Usually this connector is either
black or labeled “Primary.” Make sure you place the red
stripe on the cable at pin 1 of the hard drive’s connector.
Note: Most drives are keyed to allow the cable to fit in only one
Now locate a 4-pin power connector from the power supply. Simply
attach it to the hard drive’s power connector. You're almost
Next, replace your computer case or panel.
Tighten any screws or clamps to fasten down the case or panel.
Finally, reattach your computer’s power supplies.
You’re done. Your hard drive should now be installed and ready for
operation. Now your computer BIOS must detect the hard drive the next
time you power up your PC. Double-check your PC or motherboard user
manual for instructions on how to detect a new hard drive. Perhaps you
may need to change some of the parameters in BIOS to detect the hard
drive on the controller. You must also format the drive before it can
be used with the operating system. Again, consult your
manufacturer-supplied documentation for additional information.