Is replacing the SATA cable to the hard drive and motherboard just a matter of powering off the computer, unplugging the old one and switching for the new one?

In other words, will there be any programming involved, driver installs, etc.?

5 Answers 5


nothing to fear, it's as simple as it sounds. unplug one, plug new one in !

On most machines you can even do it without powering off... but dont do it if you're unsure of your abilities (fingers and spinning fans dont mix) :-)

  • 4
    "On most machines you can even do it without powering off" - this is pretty dumb advice
    – Draemon
    Sep 13, 2010 at 13:15
  • 2
    hot-swap is part of the sata specification.
    – Sirex
    Sep 13, 2010 at 13:52
  • 3
    It's a very poor idea if it's the system drive, though.
    – Jess
    Sep 13, 2010 at 14:19
  • 3
    To swap the plug while the system is running, you would want to unmount the hard-drive to prevent corruption, and I'm guessing this isn't something the OP has done before.
    – Jarvin
    Sep 13, 2010 at 16:18
  • 1
    The drives are designed to be hot swapped, but what if the hard drive needs to be unscrewed in some fashion - and then the screwdriver slips and touches a couple of leads or pins on the motherboard? Regardless of SATA spec, opening your computer case should generally be done powered OFF.
    – DHayes
    Sep 13, 2010 at 16:41

It's just hardware so your assumption is correct. There is no programming or even reinstallation of drivers.

Power off, unplug the old and insert the new. Make sure that the cables have the same type plug at each end (straight or bent).

Make sure that you and the computer case are grounded to avoid the (small) risk of static shock.

  • Thank you for the confirmation. (I'll accept you since you were first.)
    – andrz_001
    Sep 13, 2010 at 10:31
  • @andrz_001 - actually @Sirex was the first to answer, I was third.
    – ChrisF
    Sep 13, 2010 at 10:40
  • Sorry about that, I suppose I didn't scroll beyond the ad.
    – andrz_001
    Sep 13, 2010 at 10:43
  • 1
    I think the sort for "newest" is playing up. Select "oldest" and they are in order
    – BrianA
    Sep 13, 2010 at 11:01

Replacing a SATA cable is just a matter of unplugging. The only thing you should look for is whether the cable ends are straight or angled and what length you need them to be. No drivers/programming or anything else.

Make sure you're grounded and the computer is turned off.


I would think the first question is why do you suspect your SATA cable is no good? If your not sure how to change it, I'll bet you didn't diagnose the problem.

  • I'm just learning stuff as it comes....I've got this horrible, frequent lockup problem (like once a day). The system freezes with no warning or messages (nothing in event manager, etc). I've eliminated heating issues, memory, router and old NIC driver. So this is really a last attempt. I hope that it's something as simple as changing a bad cable. processor is AMD phenom II, XP SP3, Gigabyte mobo and D-link router (home LAN is 2 computers). Ideas?
    – andrz_001
    Sep 13, 2010 at 10:41
  • 2
    It is possible that the cable is bad but 9 times out of 10 its the drive. I've been working with SATA drives since they became main stream and have never once changed a cable if the cable is not removed and reconnected regularly. Sep 13, 2010 at 22:28
  • You have a good point. Inspired by your comment, I ran a seagate diagnostic tool for the seagate. I hadn't done that before. After several hours of that, it passed. Also, I regularly run chkdsk --it reports no errors. I might as well try the cable now. Today, while playing a movie (and the usual processes running), the system locked up.
    – andrz_001
    Sep 14, 2010 at 16:55
  • wondering if you figured out your issue yet? Sep 17, 2010 at 23:59
  • 1
    Brought home a new cable on Thursday. So far, no problems. Looks promising! .... In tiny print on the cable, is "80 C", which I'm assuming is the max temp allowed on the cable. Since I had a few overheating issues a couple of months back (mainly dust in the sink which I should have been removing)--wondering if my negligence caused the SATA cable to experience higher than usual temperatures...
    – andrz_001
    Sep 19, 2010 at 21:03

  • You Just have to Remove the OLD SATA CABLE and plug-in the NEW ONE. Make sure you have done it properly.

  • 2
    – Hello71
    Sep 20, 2010 at 2:21

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