Installing a PCI Adapater Card

Add peripherals to your computer with a new PCI card

Before you can add new hardware peripherals to your computer, you may need to upgrade the PCI adapter. Learn how to install a PCI card in your desktop PC.

Teenager screwing in screw, working on the back of a computer

How to Install a PCI Adapter Card

Before beginning any work on the inside of your computer, it is important to make sure there is no power.

  1. Shut down the computer. Once the computer has safely shut down, flip the switch on the back of the power supply and remove the power cord.

  2. Open up the computer. The method for opening the computer case will depend on how it was manufactured. Most new cases will use either a side panel or door while older ones require that the whole cover be removed. Remove any screws that fasten the cover to the case and set them aside in a safe place.

  3. Remove the PC card slot cover. Determine which slot inside of the computer the PCI card will be installed in. Most cases will have an internal slot cover that must be unscrewed from the case, but some cases have covers that simply snap into the slot.

    If you're replacing an old PCI card, you must disconnect any hardware peripherals before removing the card.

  4. Insert the new PCI card. Position the PCI card in the slot directly over the connector and gently push down on both sides of the card until it slides into place.

  5. Fasten the PCI card to the case with the screw in the slot cover. Some new cases may use a tool-free connector that snaps into place over the card cover to hold the card in place.

  6. Carefully attach any internal or external cables between the PCI card and the hardware peripherals.

  7. Close the computer case. Return the panel or cover to the case and fasten it with the screws that you previously removed.

  8. Power up the computer. Plug the AC power cord back into the computer and flip the switch on the back to the on position. Once the system has detected the hardware, it should request any necessary device drivers. Refer to the documentation that came with the adapter card for software installation instructions.