How To Install and Troubleshoot Serial ATA (SATA) Hard Drives

How To Install and Troubleshoot Serial ATA (SATA) Hard Drives

Serial ATA interface disk drives are designed for easy installation. With a Serial ATA interface, each disk drive has its own cable that connects directly to a Serial ATA host adapter or a Serial ATA port on your motherboard. Unlike Parallel ATA, there is no master-slave relationship between drives that use a Serial ATA interface.  Because of this, there is no jumper to set to make a Serial ATA drive a master or slave on its cable, as it will be the only drive connected to that data cable. 

You can use a Serial ATA drive in the same system with Parallel ATA drives as long as both interfaces are supported on the motherboard or with a host adapter. This makes it easy to add Serial ATA compatibility to your existing system without removing existing Parallel ATA disk drives.


What You Need  

  • A Phillips screwdriver and four 6-32 UNC drive mounting screws.
  • A Serial ATA interface cable (sold separately, unless drive purchased as part of retail kit). Maximum length is 39 inches (1 meter).
  • A Serial ATA-compatible power cable or adapter (sold separately, unless drive purchased as part of retail kit).
  • A version of Windows with NTFS file system.
  • A system with a motherboard that has a Serial ATA connector on it, or a Serial ATA host adapter and available PCI slot in which to install the adapter.

Refer to your computer system documentation to see if your system supports Serial ATA on the motherboard and to locate the Serial ATA connector. If your system does not have a Serial ATA connector on the motherboard, you must purchase a Serial ATA host adapter that is compatible with your computer and operating system and install it with the appropriate device driver according to the host adapter manufacturer's installation instructions.

Handling Precautions

  • Disc drives are fragile. Do not drop or jar the drive. Handle the drive only by the edges or frame. Keep the drive in the protective anti-static container until you are ready to install it to minimize handling damage.
  • Drive electronics are extremely sensitive to static electricity. While installing the drive, wear a wrist strap and cable connected to ground.
  • Turn off the power to the host system during installation.
  • Do not disassemble the drive. Doing so voids the warranty.
  • Do not apply pressure or attach labels to the circuit board or to the top of the drive.

Attaching Cables and Mounting the Drive

  1. Attach one end of the drive interface cable to the Serial ATA interface connector on your computer's motherboard or Serial ATA host adapter (see your computer manual for connector locations). Host adapter configuration is shown below.
    Serial ATA connectors are keyed to ensure correct orientation.

  2. Attach the interface and power cables to the drive.
  3. Secure the drive using four 6-32 UNC mounting screws in either the side-mounting or bottom-mounting holes. Insert the screws no more than 0.20 inches (5.08 mm) into the bottom-mounting holes and no more than 0.14 inches (3.55 mm) into the side-mounting holes.
    Do not overtighten the screws or use metric screws. This may damage the drive.

Configuring the BIOS

Close your computer case and start your computer. Your computer may automatically detect your new drive. If your computer does not automatically detect your new drive, follow the steps below.

  1. Restart your computer. While the computer restarts, run the system setup program (sometimes called BIOS or CMOS setup). This is usually done by pressing a special key, such as DELETE, ESC, or F1 during the startup process.
  2. Within the system setup program, instruct the system to auto detect your new drive.
  3. Save the settings and exit the setup program. When your computer restarts, it should recognize your new drive. If your system still doesn't recognize your new drive, see the troubleshooting section.
    Serial ATA is a new interface type. Some older systems may see the drive and classify it as a SCSI device if you are using a Serial ATA host adapter. This is normal even though this is not a SCSI disk drive. This does not affect drive performance or capacity.

Microsoft Operating System Installation Instructions

For detailed information about installing a Microsoft operating system on your new Seagate drive, refer to the Microsoft Knowledgebase Article references below:

Windows 8 / 8.1
Windows 7
Windows Vista


See also:

Document ID: 184911: How to install Windows onto a SATA drive.


Upgrading Your System: Additional Storage or Transferring Your Data to Your New Drive

A new drive is often an upgrade to an existing system. It could be additional storage or a replacement for an existing drive. In either case, the physical procedures are the same as described above. Since the operating system does not require a fresh installation, preparing your drive for use is easier. For additional storage in Windows, you can use the Disk Management utility. If you need to transfer your data (sometimes called data migration or clone) you can use the Seagate utility DiscWizard.


If your drive is not working properly, please visit the SATA Hard Drive Troubleshooting

A great first step is to download SeaTools diagnostic software. 


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