HP Customer Support - Knowledge Base







HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Installing or Replacing a Hard Drive

This document provides step-by-step instructions and links to a video on how to remove and add an IDE hard drive on HP and Compaq desktop computers. The document also provides instructions for replacing an IDE drive with a Serial ATA (SATA) drive.
It might help to print this article for easy reference before starting the hardware change.
HP cannot be held liable for damage resulting from improper installation of software and/or parts, or the installation of parts and/or software that were not supplied by HP.
The images in this document might not be exactly the same as the computer you are using.

Before you begin

Before you begin, check the following items:
  • If installing an additional drive, make sure that your computer has at least one additional drive bay. Many HP and Compaq desktop computers only have one drive bay and it is already in use. For these computers the only option is to upgrade the hard drive.
  • Make sure the motherboard in the computer can support the type of drive that you want to install. The most compatible drives are IDE, followed by Ultra-IDE (EIDE), and then Serial ATA (SATA).
  • If you want to add an additional hard drive to the computer, you probably should upgrade the power supply as well. Especially if additional components like memory or a CD or DVD drive were also added.
  • If adding an IDE drive to a computer that already contains an IDE hard drive, you might need an IDE cable that has three connectors. Some HP and Compaq computers use IDE cables that contain only two connectors, one for the motherboard connection and one for the back of one drive.
  • If you are replacing an IDE drive with a Serial ATA (SATA) drive, you might need a PCI SATA controller card or a SATA to IDE adapter.
  • If you are replacing a drive, get a recovery disc set for your exact model of computer.
  • If you are installing new drive, you will need recovery discs to format the new hard drive.
  • Get a Phillips screwdriver and a medium flat-blade screwdriver.
  • HP strongly recommends the use of an anti-static wrist strap and a conductive foam pad when working on the computer.
  • Find a clear, flat, stable work surface over a non-carpeted floor.

Installation overview video

This video is provided as a supplement to the instructions in this document to gain a familiarity with what can be involved in performing this procedure. Read the other sections before attempting to add or replace hardware.
Your case will probably be different than the case example used in the video.

Step 1: Opening the case

Use the following steps to open the case:
The edges of metal panels can cut skin. Be careful not to slide skin along any interior metal edge of the computer.
This product contains components that can be damaged by electrostatic discharge (ESD). To reduce the chance of ESD damage, work over a noncarpeted floor, use a static dissipative work surface (such as a conductive foam pad), and wear an ESD wrist strap connected to a grounded surface.
  1. Unplug all cables except for the power. Write down each cable location if you do not already know where it connects.
  2. Unplug the power cable and with the power cable removed press the Power button on the front of the computer.
  3. Remove the screws on the rear of the computer.
  4. Slide both side panels off from the rear of the computer.
  5. On some cases, it might be necessary to remove the front of the computer so that you can remove the drive cage. If so, press in on the tabs that retain the front cover, there should three to four on each side of the cover and gently pull forward. It helps to have a friend help with this process. Carefully detach any cables that are also attached to the front cover.

Step 2: Disconnecting the cables

  • If you are replacing a drive, use this section to find and unplug the IDE/Serial ATA or power cables.
  • If you are adding an additional drive and the empty bay is part of a removable drive cage, use this section to find and unplug the cable to make the drive cage removal easier.
  • If you are adding an additional drive into an empty drive bay on the chassis, skip this section and go to Step 5.
  1. Find the hard drive. The hard drive usually sits under the CD and DVD drives and has a thin flat ribbon cable.
  2. Disconnect the IDE or Serial ATA cable and the power cable from the back of the drive. remember where each cable goes.
    Serial ATA
Some serial ATA data cables include a latch (underneath the plug for select models only). Press the latch and pull the plug to remove the data cable from the drive. Failure to unlatch the connector might damage the hard drive.

Step 3: Removing the drive cage

On many HP and Compaq computers, drives are attached to drive cages. Often, the installation and removal instruction for the cages are located next to the drive cage or on the side panel. The following images are some examples of the types of drive cages that come on HP and Compaq computers. For more detailed information about a particular chassis, refer to the Hardware and Servicing guide or User Guide for your particular model of computer.
Many Media Center computers come with a swing out drive bay (shown below). The plastic covering for the memory card reader must be removed and the cord to the front panel lights must be unplugged before the drive bay can be removed.
Drive cage examples

Step 4: Removing the drive

  • If the drive is attached to the chassis or drive cage with screws, remove the screws and slide the drive out.
  • If the drive is retained by a plastic latching system, lift the latch to slide the drive out.
    Set the old drive aside. If the drive is to be re-used, place it in an ESD safe container for storage.

Step 5: Installing a new drive

Use the following steps to install a new hard drive into the computer:
  1. If you are installing an IDE hard drive, Make sure the jumpers on the drive are set to Cable Select or CS.
    Not sure which pins represent Cable Select? Refer to the labeling on the drive itself, looking for CS. If the drive is not labeled, refer to drive documentation.
    Serial ATA drives do not require jumpers.
  2. Slide the new drive into the open bay until the screw holes align with the holes in the chassis or drive cage. If the drive attaches to the chassis using a plastic latch you will need to insert the screws into the drive and screw them down before sliding the drive into place.
    Chassis screws
    Sliding guide for a latch system
  3. If a drive cage was removed, reattach the drive cage and secure it in place.
  4. Connect the cables, following the instructions for the type of drive you are installing.
  5. Connect the power cable into the back of the drive. Be careful to not dislocate any other cables.
  6. Make sure that all of the connectors are fully seated. A loose cable can cause many different types of boot errors.

Step 6: Replacing the cover(s)

  1. If the front cover was removed earlier, connect any cables that go to the front cover, align the tabs on the front cover to the holes in the front of the chassis and snap the front cover into place.
  2. Replace a side panel by matching the side panel tabs with the tab openings in the case.
  3. Insert the side panel and slide it forward.
  4. Fasten the screws to secure the side panel. Repeat for the other panel.
    MBR or NTFS partitions are limited to 2 TB (without using dynamic disks and volume sets). If you are installing a hard drive that is 2 TB or greater, HP recommends formatting the drive using GPT partitions.

Step 7: Configuring the new hard drive in the BIOS

Finding the BIOS version on your computer

The procedure for configuring the hard drive depends upon the BIOS version on your computer. Follow these steps to determine the BIOS version on your computer. Then proceed to the section that matches the BIOS version on your computer.
If your computer was built before 2006 (came with Windows XP or earlier), then it has BIOS version 6 or less. Go to Configuring the hard drive in BIOS version 6 or less.
  1. Turn on the computer.
    • If your computer was built in 2006 or later (Windows 7 or Vista), immediately press the F10 key. You might need to press the key repeatedly, about once every second, until a BIOS Setup utility screen opens.
    • If your computer was built before 2006 (Windows XP or earlier), immediately press the F1 key. Your computer has BIOS version 6 or less. Go to Configuring the hard drive in BIOS version 6 or less.
  2. In the BIOS Setup utility, do one of the following:
    • On the Main tab, find the BIOS version.
      Figure : Finding the version for BIOS version 6 or less
      Finding the BIOS version
      If your computer has BIOS version 6 or less, go to Configuring the hard drive in BIOS version 6 or less.
    • On the File tab, use the down arrow to select System Information, and then press Enter.
      Figure : Finding the BIOS version
      Finding the BIOS version
      On the System Information screen, find the BIOS version.
      Figure : Finding the version for BIOS version 7 or greater
      Finding the BIOS version
    If your computer has BIOS version 7 or greater, go to Configuring the hard drive in BIOS version 7 or greater.

Step 8: Setting up RAID configuration

If a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) manager is installed on the computer and you have two or more hard drives installed, you can set up RAID configuration. RAID technology allows several hard disk drives to function as one storage area (the array) to provide either data redundancy (a copy of a hard drive for backup security) or faster performance (striped reading/writing data from or to the disk drives to create one larger drive).
To find the RAID manager installed on your computer, click Start, All Programs, then look for one of the following:

Troubleshooting a hard drive installation

If you experience problems after installing a new hard drive, see the HP Support document, Troubleshooting a New Hard Drive Installation.






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