How to Upgrade a Hard Drive

If you’re like the average computer user sooner or later you will decide that you just don’t have enough space on your current hard drive. You have two options at this point, either to add an extra hard drive or replace your current one. Installing an additional one is much simpler than replacing your current one. You simply plug the secondary hard drive in, format it, and give it a drive letter and you are good to go. Replacing an existing drive requires more planning.

The first step is to make sure your computer is turned off and unplugged. Next, open your computer case and locate the hard drive. Always make sure you are using an anti-static wrist strap whenever working inside your computer. This will prevent any electrical discharge from damaging any of your computer’s sensitive components. Unplug the drive and pull it out. You’ll either notice a small, narrow connector or a much wider one. The smaller one would indicate you have a SATA drive. SATA stands for serial ATA and is found in most newer computers. If you have the wider connector, your computer has an integrated drive electronics (IDE) drive. Of course, your current one will have the necessary information about it on the drive itself.

The best places to locate replacement drives is online at sites such as CDW, PC Connection, or other similar electronics stores. Do a search under harddrives, SATA or IDE, and notice the various sizes and prices. Decide how much storage you will want. Perhaps the best decision would be to double your current drive’s capacity.

While waiting for it to arrive, make sure you run a full backup of your personal data and have all the necessary programs, including the operating system, located and ready to be used. Alternatively, you may do a full system backup, including the System State, and save all the data to an external drive. You will still need your operating system disc in this instance.

Swap your old harddrive with your new one. At this point, you will have nothing but a blank disk. Boot your computer and make sure your operating system disc is in the CD drive. Format the drive and let the operating system install. When finished, if you have only backed up your personal data, install your programs next. You may now restore your personal data from the backup you made. If you did a full backup, including System State, you can begin the restore after your operating system is finished installing. Although a bit trickier than just backing up your personal data, a full system backup is basically a one-step process, allowing you to forgo reinstalling all of your additional programs and having to reset all of your system settings.

The next time you decide you need more space on your computer’s harddrive you will know that it basically entails three steps:…. It takes practice to become comfortable with a hard drive replacement but over time you will discover that it wasn’t as hard as initially believed. In addition, you will be well-versed in having a good backup strategy.