Installing a SATA Western Digital Hard Drive

by Gregory Hamel

Mounting a SATA Hard Drive

Western Digital is an electronics manufacturers which is leading producer of computer hard drives. Serial ATA hard drives (SATA) are quickly replacing IDE hard drives as the market standard. While the power connectors and motherboard cables for these two types of hard drives differ, mounting the hard drive inside the computer involves the same steps. The case must be opened with a screwdriver, and then the hard drive can be slid into a free hard drive mounting bay. The number of hard drive bays will vary from one computer to another, though most computers come with at least one expandable bay located next to the original hard drive. After the SATA drive is slid into the metal housing, screws can be used to mount it in place. Usually a hard drive will have space for four screws, two on each side, which will require both sides of the tower case to be taken off in order to install.

Connecting the Hard Drive

Once the hard drive is mounted inside the case, the power cable and motherboard cable must be connected. SATA hard drives require a special power cable which is different from the all-purpose four prong device cables which are used to connect IDE hard drives, disk drives, fans, and other devices. The power consists of a narrow slit, will most likely have a black end, while the other power cords will have clear colored ends. Plug the power cable into the longer slot on the back of the hard drive, then plug one end of smaller motherboard cable into the other plug on the back of the hard drive. (This cord will come with your hard drive.) Finally plug the other end of the SATA motherboard cable into the motherboard; the SATA ports will usually be located on the bottom of the motherboard near the front of the case.

Detecting the New Hard Drive

After physical installation of the hard drive is complete, open the case and start up the computer. Depending on your operating system and BIOS, the hard drive may be automatically recognized during start up. If not you must configure it in the system BIOS to get the computer to recognize the hard drive. To do this enter the BIOS setup utility by pressing the appropriate key during start up. The screen will prompt you as to what key to press, but usually it is F1, F2 or Delete. Search through your BIOS setup options for and Auto Detection or Auto Config option, turn it on, then save the changes and reboot your system. (The exact menus available in the BIOS will vary from one computer to the next.)

About the Author

Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.