PC Components

How Many Hard Drives Can a PC Have?

Pc Hard Drive

You may feel while purchasing your PC that its storage space will be enough to store all your files until you discover later that the space is insufficient. When this occurs, you can only decide on the files that are worth staying on your device and those that must be deleted or moved to another storage space. As a tech expert, you can either think of getting an external hard drive or get a replacement for the existing one. With this, you may ask how many hard drives a PC can have.

Quick Answer

Generally, every PC is designed to support more than one hard drive. Your PC can keep or hold multiple hard drives, provided its case offers adequate options. Importantly, the number of available SATA slots in the motherboard will determine how many hard drives your PC can have. Ideally, most motherboards feature 4 or 6 SATA slots, which implies that your PC can have up to 6 hard drives.

Transferring files from an old hard drive to a new one can expose your files to critical risks. So to avoid this, you may prefer permanently installing an extra hard drive into your PC, turning it into an internal hard drive. 

In this article, we’ll further discuss how many hard drives a PC can have, how you can check the number, and how to install another hard drive.

The Number of Hard Drives Your PC Can Have

It is widely known that laptops or computers feature more than a single slot for a hard drive. Technically, the number of hard drives you can have on your PC is the number of  SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) slots. The SATA port is L-shaped, with a size almost like a USB port. 

Serial ATA is the connection between a hard drive and the motherboard. Most times, you will see a motherboard with four SATA slots. In this case, you can connect three hard drives and one DVD drive or two hard drives and two DVD drives. Now that modern motherboards are available (such as the gaming ones), you will see up to six SATA ports, giving more room for hard drive installation. 

It should be noted that there are several up-to-date components, aside from DVD drives, that can fit into these SATA ports. With this, you can minimize the chances of adding more hard drives to your PC. Besides, your PC case must feature good options that can keep or hold multiple hard drives. But if it doesn’t, you can’t have the drives on your PC, even if the number of SATA ports is great. 

How To Check How Many Hard Drives a PC Can Have

You should know that before getting an additional or external hard drive, knowing the maximum number of hard drives your computer can have is crucial. Below are methods to check it.

Method #1: Opening the PC

This is a method you may not like if you feel that you may unintentionally damage any part of the computer during the process. But if you are not afraid of this simple way, you can go ahead. 

Here’s how to check how many hard drives your PC can have.

  1. Open the PC.
  2. Look at the motherboard to see the number of SATA ports.

Method #2: Opening the BIOS program

The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) is the most important start-up program for the PC. It’s embedded as a chip into the system on the motherboard; without it, the PC’s system cannot reboot. You must first find the pre-set BIOS key to access your computer’s BIOS. 

There are different keys, and each of them depends on the motherboard’s model number and manufacturer. Examples include Del, F12, F10, F2, and F1. While the PC is booting, you should press the pre-set BIOS key.

Here’s how to check how many hard drives your PC (Windows 10) can have.

  1. Hold the Shift key and hit the restart option.
  2. Press the “Troubleshoot” option.
  3. Click the “Advanced Options”.
  4. Hit the “UEFI Firmware Settings”.
  5. Press the restart button to launch the BIOS program.
Quick Tip

The number of SATA ports on the motherboard will appear after opening the BIOS program. If the results are unsatisfactory, try to increase the hard drive expansion slots, purchase an external hard drive, or take action to help increase the computer storage.

Steps To Install a Second Hard Drive

Below are steps to install a second hard drive on your PC.

Step #1: Check SATA Availability 

The first step is to shut the PC down and turn the power source off. You may even have to unplug the power cable if it’s necessary. Remove the back case of the computer by removing the screws, and then check if there is any SATA port on the motherboard.

Step #2: Connect the Second Hard Drive

If a SATA port is available, connect the second hard drive to it. Then, attach the drive to a hard drive bracket. If no SATA is available, try to detach less important drives (like the DVD drive) to have room for a SATA slot on the motherboard to install the second hard drive.

Step #3: Reassemble the PC

Screw the back of the computer after connecting and securing the second hard drive on a bracket, and turn on the power supply. But if you have unplugged the power cable, you should reconnect it. Ideally, your PC should now find new storage space or hard drive. But if you can see the new hard drive, you should open the BIOS settings and format the second hard drive. 

Conclusion 

If you see the need to install another hard drive, you should first take the proper steps to know how many hard drives your PC can have. This article has offered the different methods and explained the number of hard drives your PC can have. If the storage space of your PC is not enough, the best solution may be to install an additional or external hard drive.

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