How To Install A Second Hard Drive?

The computer is filling up, and you need more space? A second hard drive can be set up very quickly – even by laypeople!

Having a second hard drive in the computer has some advantages, but mostly more storage space. The installation of this hard drive varies depending on the type of computer. We’ll show you how to install the hard drive and set it up directly under Windows 10.

Space is running out

Stationary computers, i.e., the traditional towers, usually come in from the beginning with two hard drives: a fast solid-state drive (SSD) for the operating system and programs and a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) with a lot of storage space. There are many ways to expand the storage space: external hard drives, network attached storages (NAS), and the cloud. But nothing is as convenient as another internal HDD.

Installation and setup are quite simple, but Plug & Play does not work. But don’t be afraid of unscrewing the computer: On the one hand, the devices are designed for this; on the other hand, it is hardly possible to do anything wrong. We will first show you how to install an HDD in a tower, then the procedure for a laptop. The setup follows this under Windows, which is always the same.

Install the HDD in the tower

Fortunately, PC cases are standardized so that you can use any 3.5-inch SATA hard drive. The Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) connection is identical on 3.5-inch and small 2.5-inch hard drives. Often you will find mounting material for the hard drives in the housing itself. Otherwise, a couple of screws should also be included. Tip for emergencies: If nothing else works, you can remove two of the four screws from another HDD or the DVD drive and use them for the new HDD. However, this can cause vibrations in the long term and should be remedied in good time.

Unscrew the housing and remove the cover. First of all, you should find the appropriate connector on the mainboard. Just look at the cabling of the existing hard drive – it ends up on a SATA connector, more precisely SATA III (also called 6G). If you take a closer look, you will most likely find at least four SATA ports. Some of them should only be SATA-II (3G) connections. SATA III is much faster than its predecessor SATA II. And that is why the system hard drive of your computer, regardless of whether it is an HDD or SSD, is connected to SATA III. You will find appropriate labels on the mainboard itself.

It would help if you preferably chose a SATA III connection for pure data hard disks on which hundreds of gigabytes of data are not written every day, but a SATA II connection is no big deal either. Plugin the SATA cable already.

Now build the hard drive into the bay. There are different approaches here, depending on the housing manufacturer. With better housings, you will sometimes find mountings that do not require any tools or screws. Sometimes hard drives have to be screwed onto small sleds, which in turn come into the 3.5-inch frame. By default, HDDs are screwed directly into it.

To counteract the development of heat, it is best to leave a space between the existing and new hard disk. The plate should also be installed so that other components (graphics card, etc.) can still be replaced – if possible. At least on HDDs, tighten the screws properly so that the vibrations do not loosen them later. Speaking of which: If a slow computer is important to you, you can, of course, use small rubber washers between the HDD, screw, and housing to ensure more peace. There is seldom such decoupling in the housings themselves.

Install the HDD in the notebook

There are two options for notebooks: If you are (very) lucky, you will have a slot for a separate hard drive – but that can usually be ruled out. It is much more likely that you can exchange the DVD drive for a so-called caddy, i.e., a holder for 2.5-inch hard drives in the form of the DVD drive. Such brackets are available for around 10 euros and suitable for all devices with an optical drive in a slot.

First, you have to loosen the screws of the optical drive: You will usually find two screws directly on the edge of the housing and often a third screw where the bay ends. There is a tendency that you can now get the drive out by gently shaking and pulling.

If that doesn’t work, you have to remove the plastic flap for better or worse – underneath; there are many starting points for a small pair of pliers. The installation of the caddy is then limited to tightening the corresponding screws.

Set up HDD under Windows

The part under Windows follows: The hard disk may be automatically recognized and (on request) formatted and integrated into the system. If so, great, you’re done. However, as a rule, you first have to set up hard disks briefly, i.e., specify (at least) one partition, a file system, and a drive letter. Here are even more tips on partitioning hard drives.

Open the hard disk settings via ” Control Panel / Administrative Tools / Computer Management / Disk Management “. You will find a list of the already available drives at the top and all connected devices at the bottom. Your new hard drive will be called a ” disk “plus consecutive number, and to the right of it, you will see the label” Unallocated. ” Open the context menu of the entry and select” New simple volume. ”

You can click your way through the following wizard – there are two interesting steps to change: On the one hand, you can change the drive letter, for example, to include a backup hard drive as “B: \.”

In the next step, you shouldn’t forget to give it a name – “Volume” as a default is not very helpful. You also determine the file system. The default here is NTFSset, and it can stay that way. Even if you want to use Linux in parallel on the computer or boot from a live CD, access is not a problem. And with that, you can also complete the wizard. Formatting takes a few seconds; then, you will find the new hard disk drive “B: \” in Windows Explorer.

Tip: If you are not the craft type, there is an enormous potential for frustration waiting for you! And then when the hard disk is defective – and you have to dismantle everything (screwing hard disks into housings can be tricky with small/cheap versions.) Treat yourself to a SATA-USB cable: for a few euros, you can easily connect internal hard drives via USB and only start working after a test. In general, these cables are practical: if the laptop falls and is over, they are the fastest way to rescue data from the hard drive. The adapters are also great for using disused HDDs as external backup hard drives!

Also Read: Learn How To Free Up Macbook’s Hard Drive

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