Installing a Second IDE Hard Drive

This guide was developed to instruct readers on the proper procedures for installing a secondary IDE hard drive into a desktop computer system. It includes step-by-step instructions for the physical installation of the drive into the computer case and properly connecting it into the computer motherboard. Please refer to the documentation included with the hard drive for some of the items listed in this guide.

Difficulty: Relatively Simple

Time Required: 15-20 minutes
Tools Required: Philips screwdriver

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Intro and Power Down

Unplug the Power to the PC
Unplug the Power to the PC. ©Mark Kyrnin

Before beginning any work on the interior of any computer system, it is important to power down the computer system. Shut down the computer from the operating system. Once the OS has safely ​shut down, turn off to the internal components by flipping the switch on the back of the power supply and remove the AC power cord.

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Open up the Computer Case

Remove the Computer Cover
Remove the Computer Cover. ©Mark Kyrnin

Opening up the computer case will vary depending upon how the case was manufactured. Most new cases will use with a side panel or door while older system will require the whole case cover be removed. Be sure to remove any screws that fasten the cover to the case and set them aside in a safe place.

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Unplugging Current Drive Cables

Remove IDE and Power Cables from Hard Drive
Remove IDE and Power Cables from Hard Drive. ©Mark Kyrnin

This step is optional but it generally makes it easier to install a second hard drive into the computer system. Simply unplug the IDE and power cables from the current primary hard drive.

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Set the Drive Mode Jumper

Set the Drive Mode Jumper
Set the Drive Mode Jumper. ©Mark Kyrnin

Based on the documentation that came with the hard drive or any diagrams on the hard drive, set the jumpers on the drive to enable it to be a Slave drive.

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Inserting the Drive to the Cage

Fasten the Drive to the Drive Cage
Fasten the Drive to the Drive Cage. ©Mark Kyrnin

The drive is now ready to be placed into the drive cage. Some cases will use a removable cage that makes it easier to install. Simply slide the drive into the cage so that the mounting holes on the drive match up to the holes on the cage. Fasten down the drive to the cage with screws.

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Attach the IDE Drive Cable

Attach the IDE Drive Cable
Attach the IDE Drive Cable. ©Mark Kyrnin

Attach the IDE cable connectors from the ribbon cables both into the old hard drive and the secondary hard drive. The connector furthest from the motherboard (often black) should be plugged into the primary hard drive. The middle connector (often gray) will be plugged into the secondary drive. Most cables are keyed to fit only in a specific direction on the drive connector but if it is not keyed, place the red striped portion of the IDE cable towards pin 1 of the drive.

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Insert Power to Drive

Plug Power to the Drives
Plug Power to the Drives. ©Mark Kyrnin

All the is left to do inside of the computer is to attach the power connectors to the drives. Each drive requires a 4-pin Molex power connector. Locate a free one from the power supply and plug it into the connector on the drive. Be sure to do this with the primary drive as well if it was removed.

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Replace the Computer Cover

Fasten the Cover to the Case
Fasten the Cover to the Case. ©Mark Kyrnin

Replace the panel or cover to the case and fasten it with the screws that were previously removed to open it up.

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Power Up the Computer

Plug the AC Power In
Plug the AC Power In. ©Mark Kyrnin

At this point the installation of the drive is complete. Return power to the computer system by plugging the AC power cord back into the computer and flipping the switch on the back to the ON position.

Once these steps are taken, the hard drive should be physically installed into the computer for proper operation. Check with your computer or motherboard manual for the steps to have the BIOS properly detect the new hard drive. It may be necessary to change some of the parameters in the computer BIOS in order for it to detect the hard drive on the controller. The drive must also be formatted for use with the operating system before it can be used. Please consult the documentation that came with your motherboard or computer for additional information.