Change A Hard Drive & Keep Files & Folders

Change a Hard Drive & Keep Files & Folders

While it is not uncommon for computer users to start with a clean slate when upgrading a hard drive, most users would prefer to keep their various files and folders after the upgrade. Keeping your files and folders may be a lot easier than you think.

Find out just how easy it is to migrate your current files to a new hard drive.


1. Shut down your computer, disconnect all of the cables connected to the tower, and then place it on a stable work surface–like a desk, table or even a chair.

2. Remove the screws securing the side paneling of the case, located at the back of the computer and situated along the edges. Remove all of the edge screws. Because some cases don’t offer side panel access, you’ll have to remove the entire case.

3. Slide the side paneling off of the case to expose the top of the motherboard.

4. Locate the current hard drive. It should be near the front of the tower and near the CD/DVD-ROM and floppy disk drives. Slide the new hard drive into an empty slot directly above or below the current drive.

5. Connect one of the 4-pin power cables to the power port on the back of the hard drive. The power cables run directly from the internal power supply. There may even be an extra plug connected to the cable plugged into your current cable that you can piggyback off of.

6. Connect the SATA or IDE data cable to your new hard drive. As with the case of the power cable, you can also piggyback off of a data plug on a cable connected to the current hard drive.

7. Remove the tiny jumper cap covering the pins on the current hard drive–removing the cap will cause the drive to function as the “Secondary” or “Slave” drive.

8. Place the jumper cap on the pins in the “Primary” or “Master” position on the new hard drive–there should be a tiny diagram detailing the cap’s “Master” position.

9. Secure the new hard drive into its slot with the supplied screws. Replace the case, screws and cables.

10. Power on your computer. You have the option of either copying the files and folders you want to keep from one hard drive to the other with your operating system’s (OS) file explorer or installing hard drive migration software to guide you through the migration process.