No matter what size hard drive or SSD your PC comes with, there’s never enough storage for all your photos, videos, and games. New hard drives and other solutions make adding more storage to your PC convenient.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a laptop, desktop or tablet, there is a way to add more storage without breaking the bank. More space allows you to build a bigger music collection and install more games. Windows sometimes needs space to install updates that add new features and fix old problems. Here’s how to add more storage to your PC.
How to Add More Storage to Your PC Quickly
There are three quick ways to add more storage to your PC without going inside or paying for an expensive upgrade.
Laptops and tablets have limited options for adding more storage. Instead of opening them up, try adding a new SD or MicroSD card to them. You don’t have to worry about them awkwardly sticking out of your laptop, desktop or tablet. All you need to do is drag your music, pictures and video to the SD or MicroSD card to free up space on the drive inside your PC.
All SD and MicroSD Cards are not created equal. You want one with lots of space and a fast transfer speed. Cheaper, slower cards could leave you waiting for all your music to load frequently.
- PNY Elite 32GB MicroSDHC Card for $19.99 at Amazon
- Samsung 128GB Pro Select MicroSDXC Card for $81.86 at Amazon
- SanDisk Extreme Plus 65GB MicroSDXC Card for $58.00 at Amazon
Flash drives are a convenient option for adding more storage to your PC. Trouble is, many of them stick out from the sides. On desktops, this is fine. It’s not ok on tablets and laptops you move around frequently. Tiny flash drives give you a place to store your files other than your PC’s drive. Because they’re so tiny, they can be left plugged in all the time.
- SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB Flash Drive for $34.99 at Amazon
- Lexar 64GB JumpDrive for $21.99 at Amazon
- Samsung 32GB USB Flash Drive for $20.99 from Amazon
How to Add More Storage with Cloud Storage
Cloud storage provides a great way to add more storage to your PC. These services let you dump your files on their servers and free up space on the drive inside it.
There are some drawbacks to using cloud services to add more storage to your PC. They’re fully dependent on how great your internet connection is. Also, you’ll have to pay for cloud storage every month or every year.
- 1TB of Storage with DropBox Plus for $9.99 a month or $99.99 a Year
- Unlimited Storage with Amazon Drive for $59.99 a Year
- 50GB of Storage with OneDrive for $1.99 a Month
How to Install a New Hard Drive
A new hard drive is one of the most popular ways to add more storage to your PC. Hard drives hold all of what’s stored on your PC.
Getting the Right Hard Drive
Hard drives come in a few different sizes. Desktops usually have 3.5-inch hard drives inside. Laptops have a 2.5-inch hard drive for storing all your information. Besides the physical size of your hard drive, you need to take into consideration what type of hard drive you are looking for. SSD drives offer really speedy performance. With them, you’re trading speed for storage size. Standard hard drives are a bit slower, but offer lots more storage for lower prices.
Before purchasing a hard drive to add more storage to your PC, look over the PC’s included manuals or description online to be sure you have the right size and type of drive. They’re not interchangeable.
If you’re willing to go in your computer to add a drive, you want to be sure that you’re adding enough storage that you won’t have to do this again in the near future. Try doubling the amount of storage you have. For example, upgrade a PC that has 500GB of storage with a 1TB hard drive. Be sure that you’ve backed up everything on your PC.
Adding a hard drive to a desktop PC is straightforward when not replacing the original drive. You’ll need space to work and a Philips screwdriver.
- Back up your files.
- Power off your PC.
- Lay the PC on a flat surface with plenty of space to put the screws you need to remove to open the case.
- Open the PC case.
- Mount the new drive into the drive bay with the included screws.
- Connect the SATA and power cables.
- Close the PC case.
Because you’re not replacing the original drive, you won’t need to install Windows. Go to the My Computer folder or This PC area to see the new drive show up. You can move your files there by dragging them.
Be aware that there are a few caveats for adding storage to a desktop. Very small desktop PCs don’t often have space for a second drive. This may require you to replace the hard drive that’s inside and reinstall Windows. The company that made your PC can provide you with a disc or flash drive with all the necessary files for installing Windows again.
Very small PCs have storage permanently attached to their other components. You’ll need to add storage to these PCs using a flash drive, MicroSD card or cloud storage service.
Recommended Drives for Desktop PCs
- WD Blue 1TB SATA 3.5-inch Hard Drive for $49.99 at Amazon
- Seagate 2TB BarraCude Hard Drive for $66.99 at Amazon
- Seagate 2TB FireCuda Gaming Hybrid Hard Drive $103.99 at Amazon
There are other things to consider when adding more storage to your PC if it is a laptop. Lots of laptops have a 2.5-inch hard drive inside. Those are straight forward to replace. Other laptops are so thin that their makers have permanently attached storage to the other components inside.
Make sure that your laptop can be upgraded by looking through its documentation. Check the PC’s manual on the manufacturer’s website. Call into the maker’s support line if you have to. Don’t buy anything until you know upgrading storage in your PC is possible.
Because you’re forced to replace a drive in laptops, expect to have to restore Windows. The company that made your PC can send you a disc or flash drive with the software you need to install Windows on the new drive.
- Back up your files or the entire existing hard drive.
- Power off your PC.
- Lay the PC on a flat surface.
- Open the hard drive door.
- Remove the existing drive and unscrew its holder from the drive.
- Mount the new drive into the holder.
- Put the drive back into your case.
- Close the case.
- Use restore media to reinstall Windows.
- Copy your files from your backup to your PC.
Recommend Drives for Laptop PCs
- Seagate 1TB Firecuda Gaming 2.5-inch Hard Drive for $64.99 at Amazon
- WD 500GB Mobile 2.5-inch Hard Drive for $49.99 at Amazon
- WD 250GB Mobile SSD for $86.95 at Amazon
Getting Help with Adding New Hard Drives
Adding more storage to your PC with a new hard drive can be stressful. If this all sounds overwhelming to you, that’s ok. There are companies that will handle this type of thing for you.
- Geek Squad charges $39.99 to upgrade hard drives when you bring the PC into one of its stores. You’ll still need to buy a suitable hard drive for them to install. They can make recommendations in the store.
- Staples Tech Services charges $39.99 for hard drive upgrades too. Again, you’ll need to purchase a hard drive for them to install. Staples also carries hard drives for you to purchase when you drop off your PC.
Be sure to read reviews for anything that you buy to add more storage to your PC. Amazon offers customer reviews at the bottom of each page in its store. Don’t hesitate to ask your friends about storage solutions that have worked for them too.