How to Install a SATA Drive

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

SATA or Serial ATA interface hard drives are intended to provide the user with an easy installation procedure by eliminating the need to set terminators, jumpers, and other related hard drive settings prior to its operation. The jumper block on the Serial ATA hard drive is strictly for factory use only and the adjacent connector is reserved mostly for systems that support an older version of the SATA interface. This somewhat plug and play hardware connects directly to the motherboard Serial ATA interface or to a PCI-based SATA host adapter (for older motherboards without built-in SATA connection) without defining a specific master or slave relationship with other hard drives as the case is with Parallel ATA drives. Both PATA and SATA drives can be hosted in the same system simultaneously without any potential problems during the operation of the computer system.

Materials Needed:
- Phillips screwdriver
- mounting screw (four pieces)
- Serial ATA interface cable
- Serial ATA-compatible adapter or power cable
- motherboard with Serial ATA host adapter or connector
- PCI slot Serial ATA adapter
- Operating System with SATA support
Step 1
The first step is to unplug the computer power cord from the wall socket to avoid accidental electrocution.
Step 2
Take out the screws that hold the computer case cover in place. Remove the computer case cover.
Step 3
Select a vacant drive bay where the SATA hard drive will be placed. Remove the front panel portion of the drive bay if necessary.
Step 4
Insert the SATA hard drive slowly taking extra care not to jolt the drive. Screw the hard drive into place using the four mounting screws. Remember not to over tighten them to avoid damaging the hard drive.
Step 5
Attach one end of the SATA drive interface cable to the appropriate socket at the back panel of the hard drive. Connect the other end to the SATA interface connection of the computer motherboard or to the available socket of the SATA host adapter.
Step 6
Attach one end of the power cable to the power socket at the back panel of the hard drive. Plug the other end to the power connector coming from the power supply unit. Some power supply units have built-in power connectors for SATA drives which eliminate the need for SATA power cable adapters.
Step 7
Check if all connections are plugged in securely. Place back the computer case cover and screw it into place.
Step 8
For computer systems running under the Mac OS X Operating System platform, use the Disk Utility tool of Apple to initialize the SATA drive and prepare it for use. For Microsoft Windows Operating System environments, enter the BIOS configuration utility. Check your machine’s documentation on how to access the BIOS settings.
Step 9
In the BIOS setup utility, make sure that the SATA drive is automatically detected and its capacity is correctly identified. Save the settings which will cause the computer to reboot.
Step 10
Upon loading of the Operating System, click the 'Start' button and select the My Computer option. Right click on the appropriate SATA hard drive and use the Windows Format tool to initialize the drive and prepare it for use.