Setting a hard drive to function as the secondary (“slave”) drive allows you to use the drive solely as a storage unit. You can use the drive to back up valuable data on the primary drive without having to install or use an operating system on it. And all you need to get going is a screwdriver to pop the case open.

1. Power down your computer. Disconnect all of the cables and then put the computer on a stable work surface such as a desk or a chair.

2. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws securing the side paneling of the case. The screws are located at the back of the computer and along the edges–only remove the screws securing the case. Unhinge any case latches on the computer.

3. Slide the side paneling of the case off the computer. Some case designs require you to remove the whole case, and some are broken down into removable panels. Remove enough of the case to have both sides of the computer exposed.

4. Discharge any static that may have accumulated on your clothing before handling any internal components. Rub your hands against a solid metal portion of the case to discharge the static.

5. Locate the hard drive. It should be secured in a station of bays adjacent to the motherboard–it’ll also be near your DVD/CD-ROM and floppy disk drives.

6. Remove the screws that secure the hard drive to the bay. Slowly slide the drive out of the bay. The drive will be connected to a data and power cable. You can temporarily disconnect them to take the drive out completely and give yourself more room to work with–but remember to reconnect them.

7. Locate the jumper pins on the hard drive. There will be a diagram displaying the proper jumper settings for a given hard drive mode. Follow the diagram and set the pin cap in its slave position on the hard drive–for example, some drives may require the cap to be placed on the last two pins to set the drive as a slave.

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