Useful Tips

Replacing a hard drive on a PC and laptop


Many PC owners sooner or later have the question of how to connect a hard drive to a computer. The first thought may be to call an IT specialist, but for this operation, he may not be needed. Connecting a hard disk or replacing it is usually connected with the fact that the free space on the existing HDD runs out, or the part has served its purpose and begins to show signs of malfunction. Every user can figure out how to install the hard drive on a computer, and for a start you should look inside the system unit.

Winchester Installation

HDD installation begins with the fact that you need to remove the side panel of the PC. Then, in order to determine how to properly install the hard drive, you need to pay attention to the already installed one. By analogy with it, you need to insert a new hard drive into an empty slot and fix it with screws. Now, in order to figure out how to connect the hard drive to the motherboard, again, you need to pay attention to how the old hard drive is connected. In addition to the power wire, an information SATA cable leads to it, which in a PC is usually two or more. Thus, the installed HDD must be connected with a free SATA cable and a power cable. After that, the side panel of the PC can be put back and turn on the computer.

There is one factor that you need to know before installing a hard drive on a computer. Each hard has a jumper that closes 2 metal contacts. By moving the jumper, you can designate the HDD as primary or secondary if you close the other 2 pins. Another factor affecting the order in which the HDD is connected is which SATA cable is connected to a particular hard drive. In some cases, improperly used variations of the exposed jumper and the connected loop can lead to the fact that the disk does not want to be the first or completely ceases to be detected. But usually, if there is a simple installation of the hard disk and the connection of any of the 2 cables to it, such troubles do not occur and the hard drive is connected automatically.

After installing the hard in the slot, you need to turn on the computer, then almost immediately you need to press the DEL or F2 key. As a result of this, the BIOS system will boot, in which it is necessary to select “Advanced BIOS Features”. Inside this section, you should pay attention to the item “First Boot Device” - it is he who is responsible for which device will be loaded first. It is necessary to select the desired HDD. In this case, the second device and CD-ROM should be indicated in the items “Second Boot Device” and “Third Boot Device”, respectively. Next, press F10 to save the new settings and exit the BIOS.

Replacing an old HDD with a new one

Replacing a hard drive on a computer means preserving all the accumulated information, unless it is a serious malfunction. In addition to this, you might wonder how to replace the hard drive on a computer without reinstalling Windows. To do all this is not difficult, the main condition is that the old device is still “alive”.

Before changing the hard drive on the computer, it is necessary to perform the operation of cloning all the information to the new HDD, including the OS, which will not need to be reinstalled. To do this, you need a special program, one of which is called "Acronis Disk Director". Before you connect a new hard drive, you must have a bootable CD or DVD with this software.

The new hard must be installed in a free slot inside the PC. Next, you need to go into the BIOS, set the first boot device CD-ROM and save the settings. Then you need to insert the bootable CD with “Acronis Disk Director” into the drive, and you can restart the computer. After loading the computer, in turn, the disk cloning program will load. In the program settings, you need to select the old HDD and click "Clone Base Disk". Then, in the window that opens, you need to select a new HDD, to which all information from the old one will be transferred. Next, select "Use Proportional Resizing of the Volume" and immediately indicate "Clone NT Signature". It remains to click “Finish”, then “Apply scheduled operations”, after which the cloning process will begin.

Upon completion of this operation, you must turn off the computer, remove the used hard drive, and then turn on the PC again. While the computer will turn on, you need to remove the bootable CD with the cloning program from the drive, and you do not need to change the settings in the BIOS, since in the absence of the CD the replaced HDD will boot. If necessary, everything can be returned to its previous state. Just before you connect the old hard drive, you need to disconnect the new HDD from the computer.

Connect HDD from laptop

Sometimes you need to connect a laptop hard drive to a computer. This hard drive is smaller (2.5 inches), but the size does not affect the volume, so these discs are often used. When connecting a hard drive to a computer, ordinary SATA cables located in the PC are used. Before pulling out the HDD from the laptop, you need to unscrew the small panel from the bottom, after which, either slide the slide from the HDD to the side and remove it, or immediately remove it by pulling on the auxiliary tab. The hard drive should be removed carefully so that inaccurate extraction does not lead to far-reaching consequences.

Before installing a new hard drive, removed from the laptop, the part can be placed in a special case and, thus, made external, later connected to a PC via USB. In this case, it will be possible to remove the hard drive or attach it “hot” without turning off the PC. And if the laptop hard is connected using a SATA cable, the part must be left in the slide. In this form, it is placed in a computer, where it can be put both on another HDD, and on a CD-ROM. The fact is that a PC usually does not have a slot for a hard drive of this size, therefore such a connection is possible as temporary. It is advisable not to place the HDD vertically, since such an arrangement adversely affects its operation.

Further actions related to connecting the laptop hard drive to the computer do not differ from manipulations when connecting a new hard drive to the motherboard - you only need a SATA cable and a power cable. If there is a need to connect a PC drive to the laptop, it is more difficult to do this, and additional adapters will be needed.

Installation Features

During installation or replacement of the hard drive, situations may arise related to its malfunction. For example, installing a new HDD may result in the computer freezing. Sometimes the computer does not turn on or the OS does not want to start. This may be due to a malfunction of the heads on the hard drive (although the PC may freeze for other reasons), and a reasonable solution is to replace the heads or such hard drives. In some PCs, they began to make vertically located slots for the HDD. But the fact is that the work of hard in a vertical position leads to rapid wear of the read heads. Therefore, for standard HDDs, as a rule, only horizontal placement is used.

A situation may arise when the server cannot be stopped, but the hard must be changed. What to do in this case, how to install a new HDD without turning off the computer, and is it even possible to do so? In this case, we mean the so-called hot swap HDD, it is possible for some types of RAID arrays, in other cases it is unsafe.

Preparing to replace a hard drive

If you decide to replace the old hard drive with a new one, it is not at all necessary to install a blank disk, and reinstall the operating system there and download the remaining files. It is possible to transfer the OS to another HDD or SSD.

You can also clone the entire disk.

Next, we will discuss how to replace the disk in the system unit, and then in the laptop.

Replacing the hard drive in the system unit

To pre-transfer the system or the entire drive to a new one, you do not need to get the old hard drive. It is enough to do steps 1-3, connect the second HDD in the same way as the first one is connected (the motherboard and the power supply have 2-4 ports for connecting drives), load the PC as usual and transfer the OS. You will find links to migration manuals at the beginning of this article.

  1. Turn off the computer and remove the cover. Most system units have a side cover that fastens with screws. Just unscrew them and slide the lid to the side.
  2. Find the box where the HDD is installed.
  3. Each hard drive is connected to the motherboard and to the power supply. Locate the wires extending from the hard drive and disconnect them from the devices to which they are connected.
  4. Most likely, your HDD is screwed to the box. This is done so that the drive is not exposed to shaking, which can easily disable it. Unscrew each of them and remove the disk.

  • Now install the new disk in the same way as the old one. Many new discs are equipped with special covers (they are also called frames, guides), which can also be used for convenient installation of the device.

    Screw it to the panels, connect the wires to the motherboard and power supply in the same way as they were connected to the previous HDD.
  • Without closing the cover, try turning on the PC and checking if the BIOS sees the disk. If necessary, set this drive in the BIOS settings as the main boot (if the operating system is installed on it).

    Old BIOS: Advanced BIOS Features> First Boot Device

    New BIOS: Boot> First Boot Priority

  • If the download is successful, you can close the lid and fasten it with screws.
  • Replacing a hard drive in a laptop

    Connecting a second hard drive to the laptop is problematic (for example, to pre-clone the OS or the entire drive). To do this, you need to use the SATA-to-USB adapter, and connect the hard drive itself as external. After moving the system, you can replace the disk from the old to the new.

    Clarification: To replace a drive in a laptop, you may need to remove the bottom cover from the device completely. The exact instructions for parsing your laptop model can be found on the Internet. Pick up small screwdrivers that fit the small screws that hold the laptop cover.

    However, very often there is no need to remove the cover, since the hard drive can be in a separate compartment. In this case, you will need to remove the screws only in the place where the HDD is located.

    1. Turn off the laptop, remove the battery and unscrew the screws around the entire perimeter of the bottom cover or from a separate area where the drive is located.
    2. Carefully open the lid by prying with a special screwdriver. It can be held by loops or cogs that you missed.
    3. Locate the drive bay.

    The drive must be screwed so that it does not shake during transport. Unscrew them. The device may be in a special frame, so if you have one, you need to get the HDD along with it.

    If there is no frame, then on the mount of the hard drive you will need to see a tape that facilitates pulling out the device. Pull the HDD parallel to it and disconnect it from the contacts. This should pass without problems, provided that you pull the tape in parallel. If you pull it up or left-right, you can damage the contacts on the drive itself or on the laptop.

    Note: Depending on the location of components and elements of the laptop, access to the drive may be blocked by something else, for example, USB ports. In this case, they will also need to be unscrewed. Place a new HDD in an empty box or frame.

    Be sure to tighten the screws.

    If necessary, reinstall the elements that prevented the replacement of the disk.

  • Without closing the cover, try turning on the laptop. If the download goes without problems, then you can close the lid and tighten it with screws. To find out if a clean drive is detected, go to the BIOS and check the availability of the model you just installed in the list of connected devices. BIOS screenshots showing how to view the correctness of a connected drive and how to enable booting from it can be found above.
  • Now you know how easy it is to replace a hard drive in a computer. It is enough to exercise caution in your actions and follow the instructions for the correct replacement. Even if you could not replace the drive the first time, do not be discouraged, and try to analyze each step that you have completed. After connecting a blank disk, you need a bootable USB flash drive with an operating system to install Windows (or another OS) and use a computer / laptop.

    On our site you can find detailed instructions on how to create a bootable USB flash drive with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Ubuntu.

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    Repair or replacement? Where can one buy?

    A broken disk, depending on the situation, can, of course, be repaired. Surely in some workshop you will be given a similar service. But according to experts, the repaired hard drive still does not work for a long time. Therefore, it is better to buy a new one and replace it.

    You should buy in a specialized computer equipment store. There you are guaranteed to sell the original and high-quality disc. There is also a guarantee on components.

    What to consider when choosing?

    The capacity and manufacturer of the hard drive do not matter for the operation of the motherboard and processor. Capacity is important to the user. The larger the capacity, the more information will fit.

    For a regular home computer, the optimal capacity is 320-500 gigabytes. The manufacturer is better to choose a well-known and proven. Otherwise, it is very likely that after some time a replacement will be required again.

    How to replace a hard drive?

    So, for replacement you will need a new hard drive and a screwdriver:

    Step 1: Disconnect the computer from the network. Disconnect all cords from the system unit (monitor, keyboard, etc.).

    Step 2: Take a screwdriver. On the back of the system unit we find the bolts that secure the side walls. Carefully unscrew them. All 4, top and bottom:

    A warning! New computers have panel mounts with seals. If your computer is under warranty, you do not need to replace the hard drive yourself, it is better to contact the service.

    Step 3: Remove the side walls. We see there are many wires and "all kinds of hardware", that is, the motherboard, video card, etc. The hard drive is recognizable:

    It is closer to the front panel and bolted:

    Carefully disconnect the cords that are attached to it. There are only 2. Remembering the location is not necessary. Cords of different sizes and connectors for them are different, so you won’t get confused and this will not become an insurmountable obstacle when replacing:

    Gently unscrew the bolts on which the disk is mounted on both sides. The bolts are usually 4 or 6 as lucky. Try not to lose them, because then it will be difficult to find the same ones.

    Step 4: We take out the old disk. It can be thrown away, or you can leave it as a souvenir as a keepsake. Everything is ready for replacement.

    Step 5: Remove the packaging from the new one. Carefully insert it into place. Sockets of connectors should be directed towards the motherboard. We fasten the disk on both sides:

    Step 6: Connect the cords according to the connectors:

    Step 7: Gently wipe the dust inside the system unit. Cleanliness has never harmed anyone, and even more so the computer will be more useful. A warning! Use a soft cloth to wipe. You can brush away the dust from the motherboard and the video card with a soft-bristle brush. Do not use a vacuum cleaner!

    Step 8: Reconnect the side panels. We fasten the bolts.

    Step 9: Connect all devices to the system unit. Turn on the computer.

    Step 10: Since the hard drive is new and accordingly completely clean, you will have to reinstall the system. Usually, when you connect, the computer itself will ask for installation. Insert a Windows disc and follow the instructions.

    Unfortunately, if the hard drive crashes, the data that was stored on it is almost impossible to recover. Therefore, if you are afraid of losing any important information, get an external hard drive.

    This wonderful thing has the same properties as a regular (internal) drive. It communicates with the computer using a USB cable. The advantage of an external hard drive is that, trying to save your favorite movies or music, you won’t be stuck in heaps of CDs and DVDs, and it’s unprofitable to buy so many flash cards.

    How to protect the hard drive from breakage?

    • Buy only high-quality components from well-known and trusted manufacturers. Only in specialized computer stores,
    • Do not subject the hard drive to shock, high temperature or humidity.
    • If you buy a disk in the winter, do not insert it right away, wait a while with the replacement. Let it lie a little at room temperature,
    • Do not delete program files from the hard drive unless you are sure of their ownership,
    • Install a good antivirus program on your computer,
    • Do not install dubious games and programs on your computer,
    • Нежелательно слишком уж часто делать дефрагментацию жесткого диска,
    • Для контроля работы диска и устранения возможных ошибок или неполадок пользуйтесь программой CCleaner. Её очень просто скачать в интернете.

    Если Вы будете соблюдать эти основные условия то замена жёсткого диска, возможно никогда и не потребуется или хотя бы отодвинется на довольно приличное время.

    Good luck to you! До скорых встреч на страницах блога ПенсерМен.