A Second Internal Hard Drive

Typical 3 1/2-inch internal desktop hard drive.

Most desktop computers have plenty of room for the addition of a second internal hard drive that can be used for extra storage space, a place to install new programs, or as a way to back up the computer in case of a hard-drive failure with the original drive. The method for installation varies by drive interface and case design, and some motherboards require an expansion card with an additional hard-drive interface port, but it often consists simply of opening the case, plugging in the drive, and configuring the operating system to use the drive.


Obtain an Internal Hard Drive

1. SATA data cable.

Inspect the motherboard to determine the interface of the existing hard drive and whether there are any available ports to plug the new drive into. Purchase a new internal hard drive that matches the interface of the existing drive, either SATA or IDE, looking for the drive with the highest capacity for the lowest price with the longest warranty available.

2. IDE dual drive interface cable.

Obtain a data cable for the drive if one is not included with it, unless the drive is an IDE type and there is already an available plug on the existing IDE data cable that leads to either the existing hard drive or the optical drive, in which case the existing cable may be used.

3. Obtain a PCI hard-drive controller card if there are no ports available to plug the drive into.

Installing SATA Hard Drives

4. Power down the computer, disconnect the power cable and remove the cover.

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5. Attach an anti-static wrist strap to a ground to avoid damaging the drive or system with an electrostatic discharge.

6. Mount the hard drive in an available drive bay using four mounting screws.

7. Attach the data cable to the drive and to the lowest available port on the motherboard.

8. Connect the power cable to the hard drive, replace the cover, connect the power cord and boot the computer.

Installing IDE Hard Drives

9. Power down the computer, disconnect the power cord and remove the case cover. Attach an anti-static wrist strap to a positive ground and mount the hard drive into an available drive bay using four screws.

10. Set the jumpers on the hard drive appropriately, according to the cable it will be connected to and whether it is the only drive in the system. Set the jumpers on the other drive on the same cable if necessary.

11. IDE connector showing missing pin hole and plastic key.

Connect the data cable to the hard drive by aligning Pin 1 on the cable with Pin 1 on the drive, usually indicated by a colored stripe on one edge of the cable, or align the cable based upon the plastic key that is molded into the cable, or based upon the missing pin on the drive and corresponding missing hole in the cable.

12. Attach the data cable to the motherboard. Attach a power connector to the hard drive and replace the lid. Connect the power cord and boot the computer.

Windows Configuration

13. Click on “Start,” and then click on “Control Panel,” “Administrative Tools” and “Disk Management.” Click on the entry for “Disk Management” from the menu on the left side of the Disk Management screen.

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14. Right-click on the new drive and choose “New Simple Volume” from the menu.

15. Click on the “Next” button for each step in the wizard using default choices to initialize and format the new drive so that it will be ready for use.