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21 More Super Ways to Speed Up Vista - Part 10 - Upgrade Your Hard Disk Drive

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/11/2009

This step-by-step Windows tutorial provides instruction on how to upgrade your hard disk drive so as to optimize performance and speed up your Vista system.

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    Tip #19: Upgrade Your Hard Disk Drive

    Your hard drive is your computer’s primary storage device. Upgrading your hard drive is an effective way to not only speed up your system, but also extend its working life if you are running out of disk space. You can boost your total disk space many times over by installing one of the bigger capacity hard drives available on the market today. Here's how:

    1. Shut down your PC and disconnect it from its power source. Unscrew your computer’s cover and set it aside.
    2. Ground yourself with an anti-static bracelet before touching any of the inner hardware components in your computer case. Alternatively, touch an unpainted part of the computer case periodically.
    3. Unplug any cables that are connected to your hard drive, and then detach it. Use a small screwdriver to unscrew any screws that may be holding it in place. Most hard drives simply slide in and out of the casing on rails.
    4. Insert your new hard disk into the vacant hard disk bay. Secure the disk in place. Different PC cases require different ways of securing hard disks – while some require screws, many simply slide into place on a chassis.
    5. Re-connect the computer’s power supply into the power connector that is typically located in the back of the hard disk.
    6. Connect the IDE cable that comes with the hard drive into the IDE connector on the PC’s motherboard.
    7. Screw the computer cover back in place and reboot.

    If correctly installed, your basic input/output system (BIOS) will automatically detect your new hard drive. Use the Windows Vista installation disc to install Vista on the new drive.

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    Tip #20: Install Multiple Hard Disk Drives

    Providing Vista with lots of extra capacity disk capacity will go a long way toward boosting performance, and one way to do this is to use multiple hard drives. When set up correctly, for example, using 2 drives simultaneously can almost literally double the transfer rates of a single drive, significantly speeding up your system.

    Typically, a desktop PC has room in its case for two hard disk drives. You may boost your hard disk space by installing a second hard drive into the second bay to serve as a secondary data drive.

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    Tip #21: Plug in an External Hard Drive to Supplement Your Master Disk

    Plugging in an external hard disk is the fastest, simplest way to increase your hard disk space. While you can’t use it as the primary hard disk to which you install Windows Vista, it can provide lots of extra disk space as a secondary drive, for files and programs that require huge amounts of disk space. Typically, an external hard disk can easily be installed simply by plugging it into a USB port (or into a Firewire) and then into a power source. It may also come with software that needs to be installed.

    QUICK TIPS

    Typically, a desktop PC has room in its case for two hard disk drives, while a laptop usually only has room for one. You may boost your hard disk space by installing a second hard drive into the second bay to serve as a secondary data drive.

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    Installing and working with resource intensive programs places a very heavy load on your hard drive. In addition to ensuring that your PC has sufficient hard disk storage capacity, you should also leave at least 20% of its total disk capacity free. This allows sufficient space on your hard drive to make room for temporarily files, file swapping and other processes.