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    Install or remove a hard disk drive

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    • Installing a new hard disk is one of the most common upgrade tasks. It’s an easy way to extend the life of a computer that is running out of storage space. When you install a new internal or external hard disk, you can boost your total disk space several times over because hard disks are much bigger today than just two or three years ago.

      External hard disks

      The simplest way to add more hard disk space is to plug in an external hard disk. If you add an external hard disk, it can't function as your primary hard disk where you installWindows, but you can use it as a secondary disk to store programs and files. Adding an external hard disk is a good way to create plenty of extra space to store digital photos, videos, music, and other files that require a large amount of disk space.

      To install an external hard disk, all you have to do is plug it into your computer and connect the power cord. Most of these hard disks plug into a USB port, but some plug into a Firewire (also known as IEEE 1394) or external Serial ATA (eSATA) port. For additional instructions, check the information that came with your external hard disk. You might also need to install any software that came with the hard disk.

      For more information, see Install a USB device.

      Illustration of a typical USB cable and portYou can install most external hard drives just by plugging them into a USB port.

      Internal hard disks

      Internal hard disks connect to your computer's motherboard using an IDE interface or SATA interface. Most new hard drives come with either an IDE or SATA connection cable, depending on the type of drive.

      Installing an internal hard disk takes a bit more work, especially if you plan to make the new disk your primary hard disk where you install Windows. To install an internal hard disk, you should be comfortable opening your computer case and connecting cables.

      Most desktop computers have room for at least two internal hard disks. Laptops have room for only one hard disk. If you are replacing the primary hard disk rather than adding a secondary disk, you'll have to install Windows after you connect the disk.

      Note

      Note

      Many internal hard disks contain jumper pins that you must set to designate a hard disk as a primary (master) disk where you installWindows or as a secondary (subordinate) disk where you store programs and files. These jumpers are small plastic sleeves that you must place on the correct metal jumper pins. For additional instructions, check the information that came with the internal hard disk.

      Show all

      Preparing to use a new hard disk

      If you've installed your new hard disk correctly, your computer should recognize it. When you turn on your computer, the basic input/output system (BIOS) should automatically detect the new hard disk.

      If you plan to use the new hard disk as the primary partition that contains Windows, then you'll have to install Windows on the disk before you can use your computer. You'll need a Windows 7 installation disc to do this. For more information, search Help and Support for "Installing and reinstalling Windows."

      If you plan to use the new hard disk as a secondary disk (one that does not containWindows), you should be able to see the new hard disk drive the next time you start your computer and log on to Windows. After Windows starts, click the Start button Picture of the Start button, clickComputer, and then look for your new drive. The letter assigned to the drive will depend on your computer’s configuration. If you don't see the new hard disk drive, try looking for it in Computer Management.
      1. Open Computer Management by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, clicking Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Computer Management.‌ Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

      2. In the left pane, under Storage, click Disk Management, and then look for the new drive.

      You'll probably have to format the hard disk before you can use it. For instructions, seeFormatting disks and drives: frequently asked questions. Follow these same instructions to format an old hard disk that contains data you want to erase.

      If your computer doesn't recognize the new hard disk, double-check the installation instructions that came with the hard disk. If you have additional questions, go to the manufacturer's website.

      Note

      Note

      You can divide a new hard disk into more than one partition. Each partition on the hard disk can be formatted and assigned a drive letter. For more information, see Managing hard disks: recommended links.


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    • View Answer at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows7/Install-or-remove-a-hard-disk-drive
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