How to Install an External Hard Drive

by James Ballou

With the growing number of digital files accumulated for many consumers the concern over data loss is significant. Consumers are choosing to back their files up with more frequency and a greater need for external drives is evident. Connecting the drives can be done in a short amount of time by following some simple steps.


Connect the power supply to the external drive.


Identify the rectangular USB port on the external drive and insert one end of the USB cable into the port. The USB port can be identified by a symbol like the one in Image 2.


Power up the computer and wait until Windows has booted up completely.


Insert the other end of the USB cable into an open USB port on the computer.


Watch for Windows to install the plug and play software available for most devices.


Open Windows explorer and identify the new drive.


  • check Not all external hard drives require an A/C adaptor but if one was included with the external drive it should be used.
  • check Some devices have more than one USB port but it does not matter which one is used.
  • check Windows may require specialized drivers for some external drives. When this happens the manufacturer usually sends a disk with the required drivers.

Items you will need

About the Author

James Ballou began writing professionally in 1994 for Discover Card and earned the company's highest award—The Pinnacle of Excellence in 1997. Ballou works primarily as a technical writer for corporations and has been published at He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's degree in organizational management. He is an adjunct professor of technical writing for a private university.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera James Ballou