How to Install Hot Swap Hard Drives


Having a hot swap drive bay in your computer gives you a convenient way to access data from several different hard drives without needing to have all of them installed in the computer at the same time. Install a hot swap drive bay if you have multiple hard drives and would like to be able to exchange them in your computer without opening the case each time.

Things You'll Need

  • SATA hot swap drive bay
  • SATA hard drive
  • SATA data cable
  • SATA power adapter (optional)
  • Shut your computer down and remove the power cable from the back of the computer or the wall outlet.

  • Open the computer case. Your case may have a side panel that slides off, or a U-shaped metal cover secured by screws. Consult the instruction manual if you are unable to determine the method for opening your case.

  • Locate an open 5.25-inch drive bay inside your computer. In most tower configurations, the 5.25-inch bays are located on top, and in front. Remove the plastic cover in front of the bay to expose it.

  • Slide the hot swap bay into the 5.25-inch drive bay through the front.

  • Locate the power supply in the back of the computer case. Several wires will extend from it. Find one with a one-inch wide connector at the end, either white with four pins or black with several pins and an L-shape. If you have a black L-shaped power connector, connect it to the back of the hot swap bay. If you have a white four-pin connector, attach a SATA power adapter before connecting the cable to the back of the bay.

  • Connect a SATA data cable to the remaining connector on the back of the hot swap bay, and to an open SATA port on the motherboard. The connectors on the motherboard and hot swap bay will be keyed with an L-shape to prevent the cable from being inserted incorrectly.

  • Slide a hard drive into the front of the hot swap bay. The connectors on the back of the hard drive will engage with those inside the bay.

  • Plug the computer's power cable back in, and turn the computer on. The drive inserted into the hot swap bay should spin up and be detected automatically. Close the computer case after confirming that the hot swap bay works properly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many different types of hot swap enclosures are available for hard drives, and most are installed in a similar manner. However, some types of enclosures may have installation methods differing slightly from what is described in this article. This article was written using the Antec Easy Swap Hard Drive Caddy Enclosure as a reference.

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