Introduction: How to Install a Solid State Boot Drive

With Technology advancing at the rate that it is everything is now shifting into the realm of computing and digital media. With this shift, we're seeing more and more people go into fields of education regarding these topics like Computer Science or Cyber Security. The nature of these jobs demand that the people involved work on computers, that is their workhorse almost everything they do will depend on it. This is a guide for Computer science majors or anyone in a related field on how to simply install an SSD. An SSD boot drive can give any old machine a little extra kick, it helps it turn on faster and can run programs that require fast access to memory and storage run much smoother. To install an SSD there are not many things you're going to need but the few that you do are listed below:

  • Basic knowledge of computer hardware and software
  • Approximately 1 to 1.5 hours
  • A Solid State Drive
  • Mounting Brackets (if the drive is a 2.5 inch)
  • A motherboard that supports two SATA ports and Power cables
  • An Operating System installed either on a Flash Drive or CD
  • A Non- Magnetic Phillips screwdriver
  • A SATA cable
  • A power cable

Step 1: Backup Your Existing Files:

This is very important unless you are using a PC that has never been used or has no important information. There are multiple ways of creating backups, the most efficient and easy is to store everything on an external storage device.

Step 2: Make Your Workstation Static Proof:

Due to all the delicate circuitry present in a motherboard even a slight current can damage it including static. Make sure you’re not working on a carpet and remove any and all plastic from the area you’re working on.

Step 3: Turn Off Your PC and Remove Cables

Properly shut down your PC through the start menu and remove all the cables from the back of the PC.

Step 4: Accessing the Motherboard

This is a step that usually varies from PC to PC. For most PCs, there is either a side panel that is screwed into the main body of the PC. Simply remove these screws and remove the side panel, this will give you access to the motherboard which will look something like this.

Step 5: Mounting the Drive in Your PC :

This is a simple process and in most cases, an empty drive bay can be found right next to your pre-existing Hard Drive. If you’re replacing a preinstalled drive simply unscrew and replace the drives. In the case that you have a 2.5-inch drive instead of a 3.5-inch one, you're going to have to attach what is called a 'Bracket' to your SSD and then screwing the brackets into the bay.

Step 6: Connecting the SSD to Your Mother Board:

Whether you choose to mount your Drive or not there are two cables that needed to connect to the Motherboard, a SATA cable, and a Power Cable. If you are replacing your pre-installed drive, you’ll find both of these cables already connected to it, simply remove them from the old drive and connect them to the new one. If you’re installing a new drive then attach one end of the SATA cable to the SSD and the other into an empty SATA port on the board. Just follow the cables from your old drive and you'll find an empty SATA port.

Next use an unused power cable from your PCs power source and connect it to the SSD as well. You should feel both the SATA and power cable click into place, if you do not feel the click, don’t apply too much pressure as you’d run the risk of breaking a port, simply remove the cables and try again. Once both cables are connected replace the side panel and reconnect the cables to the back of the PC.

Step 7: Installing Operating Software:

Turn on the PC and connector insert the device you have the operating system on. When prompted choose to boot from disk or boot drive. Choose to do a custom install and select your SSD as the save location. Follow the prompted steps to install the operating system on your PC.

Step 8: Update BIOS Settings:

Getting to the BIOS will differ from motherboard to motherboard, this is because to do so a particular key must be repeatedly pressed while the PC boots up. To find what key you need to use simple refer to the make and model of the board you’re and a simple google search can answer that question.

  • Once in the settings look for “Boot” or “Boot options” or even “Boot Settings”. You should see a list of boot devices in order of priority.
  • Look for an option that sounds similar to “Hard Disk Drive boot priority”
  • From the menu select your Solid State Drive
  • Save and Exit

Step 9: Trouble Shoot and Enjoy Faster Boot Times

Once your PC boots up you'll notice that it should start up quicker than with your traditional Hard Disk Drive. Some of the common issues you may encounter are listed below along with ways in which to deal with them.

SSD not listed in BIOS: Turn off the PC and check the SATA cable to make sure it is properly connected if the cable is properly installed and SSD is still not recognized try a different cable.

Cannot Access BIOS: Make sure you're pressing the correct key when the computer is booting up. Also, note that pressing it once may not load the BIOS repeatedly press the key during the bootup process

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