How to install a new laptop hard drive

Written by kim linton
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How to install a new laptop hard drive
Who needs computer repair services when you can install a new hard drive yourself? (Jean Scheijen)

Installing a laptop hard drive is usually a simple procedure depending on the configuration of your computer. Whether you have a bad hard drive, or simply need more storage space, learning to do laptop upgrades will save you a lot of time and money. Each laptop is a bit different, but these general steps will help you with the installation process.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Laptop owner's manual
  • New laptop hard drive
  • Operating system

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    Easily Install a Laptop Hard Drive

  1. 1

    Back up your data. If you are replacing an existing drive, and it is still functional, back up any important data stored on the drive. Also, if you are selling or giving the original hard drive to someone else, erase the data on the disk by formatting it.

  2. 2

    Turn off the laptop and unplug it. Locate the slot that houses the hard drive, remove the screw that connects the slot cover, then gently pull the hard drive out. The hard drive will be enclosed in a sled type housing which is often connected to the slot cover.

  3. 3

    Remove the old hard drive from the sled and attach the new hard drive to it. Replace the sled screws, but do not over-tighten them. Align the hard drive pins with the connector in the laptop, slide the new hard drive into the slot, then replace the cover.

  4. 4

    Restart your laptop and follow the instructions in your owner's manual to enter your system's BIOS. If the new hard drive is installed properly, it will be recognised by the BIOS.

  5. 5

    Load your operating system disk into the CD or DVD drive, reboot the computer, then follow the instructions on the screen to format and install your operating system. Once the operating system is installed, transfer your personal data to the new hard drive.

Tips and warnings

  • Always store functional laptop hard drives in anti-static bags when not in use. If possible, also enclose them in a layer of bubble wrap while in storage.
  • Some laptops require a bit of disassembly to get to the hard drive. Refer to your owner's manual to determine how to remove the hard drive from your particular model.
  • Avoid calling a computer repair service, before checking out DIY options.
  • Hard drives are very sensitive to cold, heat and jarring. Never hit, bump or drop a laptop hard drive.

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