How to Add a Solid-State Disk (SSD) to a Desktop Computer


An SSD, or solid state drive, is the next generation of hard-drive technology. They use "non-volatile" memory chips similar to the memory card you use in your digital camera. The SSD enjoys superior performance to mechanical hard drives because it has no moving parts. It has superior read and write speeds compared to a standard hard drive. The big boost, though, comes from its almost nonexistent access time. Using an SSD as a boot drive for your operating system will dramatically increase your performance.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • SATA data cable
  • Power down your computer. Remove the power cord from the back of the computer. Unplug any peripherals that are connected to the computer, such as the monitor, printer, network cable, etc.

  • Remove the left-hand side cover. Most covers have two Phillips head screws at the rear of the cover. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove them.

  • Use a Phillips screwdriver to attach spacer brackets to each side of the SSD. SSDs are smaller than standard hard drives and the brackets will allow you to fit the drive in the computers hard-drive bay. The SSD should come with brackets.

  • Slide the SSD into the hard-drive bay and install two Phillips screws on each side of the bay using the Phillips screwdriver.

  • Plug one end of a SATA cable into the SSD and the other end into a SATA port on the motherboard. Note that the SATA plug is shaped like an "L" so it only fits one way. If you look closely, you will see that the SATA plugs on the motherboard are numbered. If you have an existing drive in SATA 1, plug the SSD into SATA 2.

  • Plug a SATA power connector into the SSD. Note that the power plug is also shaped like an "L" and only goes on one way.

  • Replace the side cover, connect any peripherals you disconnected, plug in the power cable. Start the computer. It will automatically recognize the installed SSD.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some SSDs come with cloning software that will allow you to copy the contents of your original drive to the SSD. If you are building a new system, plug the SSD into SATA 1. If you are going to reinstall your operating system, plug the SSD into SATA 1.

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