How to Add a Second Hard Drive to Your Computer

 Adding a Second Hard Drive to Your ComputerInstalling a second hard drive to your computer can increase system performance and storage capacity exponentially. The majority of mass-produced computers have IDE (PATA) or SATA (Serial ATA) wiring to connect hard drives to the motherboard.

Most operating systems support either kind of hard drive in conjunction with the hard drive already installed on the computer. Contrary to popular belief, installing a second drive does not require a professional technical background to accomplish the task successfully.

In fact, installing a second hard drive only requires additional case screws and a screwdriver. Troubleshooting may require the aid of a professional. Remember to always refer to the owner manual of your computer system when in doubt.

Follow These Steps to Install a Second Hard Drive on Your System:

  1. Create backup copies of data stored on the primary device. Shut down the computer and then unplug it. Refer to the owner manual for instructions on how to open the console. Be sure to touch something metal to prevent static charge.
  2. Refer to the owner manual to find out the kind of cable system your computer uses before buying a second hard drive. In general, IDE drives use 2-inch flat cables with three or more connectors. SATA drives use thin and round cables that can only connect to one drive.
  3. Refer to the diagram printed on the second drive label for instructions on how to set the jumpers. Jumpers are tiny connectors that can be found on IDE drives. Jumpers help set drive importance. Set the jumpers to “Slave (IDE2)” on the second drive. In addition, set the jumpers on the main hard drive to “Master (IDE1).” Move on to step 4 if you purchased a SATA drive. They do not require jumpers.
  4. Locate an empty drive bay to place the second hard drive. Slide the new hard drive into the bay gently. Use two case screws on each side to attach the new hard drive to the metal housing. Connect IDE drives to the second connector located on the main drive’s cable. Connect SATA drives from one end of the cable to the main drive and then connect the other end to an open SATA connector on the motherboard.
  5. Grab the power cable and plug it into the hard drive. Replace the cover to the computer. Plug the computer back into the electrical outlet. Restart the computer. Press F1, F2, F10, or the Delete key to enter the BIOS. Check to see if both drives are being recognized by the system. Troubleshoot as necessary.

Following these basic steps will set you on the right track to installing a second drive. The benefits will be worth your time. Using your second hard drive for virtual memory is one way to increase system performance. This will also free up room for media and other computer-based activity that requires a lot of hard drive space.

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