As always, refer to your owners manual for specifics about your computer system
before performing any work. This guide is intended to be generic in nature and
developed to assist in replacing or installing different types of expansion
cards in a computer.
1) Turn off all power and unplug the computer.
2) Disconnect all cables from the back of the pc. If you cannot remember
where they go, sketch a diagram or label in some way so the cables can be
reinstalled into its proper connection. CAUTION - be extremely careful with the
monitor connector a) use caution removing as most vga connectors have thumb
screws that must be loosened before removal b) the connector pins can be easily
bent or broke off so be gentle, especially when reconnecting. If the pins get
bent, the entire cable will have to be replaced, so once again BE GENTLE and
make double sure that it is being properly connected.
3) Move the computer to a good work table. Do not work on carpeted areas.
Static electricity can cause catastrophic damage to a computer. It is
recommended that an anti-static wrist strap with pad be used. They cost very
little money. Worth the investment. If you just have to do it without the anti
static wrist strap, touch the metal case on the computer before touching any
4) Remove the cover according to your owners manual. Most older pc's require
small Phillips head screws to be removed, then slide the side panels or entire
cover out to the rear of the machine. Newer computer's (such as Dell) just
simply press the plastic tabs in and swing the cover open.
5) Chose the expansion port you want to use. They come in different
configurations such as AGP, ISA and PCI. AGP is mainly used for video cards. PCI
is usually for modems, sound cards and older video cards. Very unlikely you will
use an ISA slot unless you are dealing with older hardware.
6) If you are installing a video card, you may need to disable the on-board
video prior to installing the card. If your vga connector is built into the
motherboard (meaning your video connection port is not on an expansion card) you
have onboard video. Installing the card without first disabling the onboard
video could cause conflicts and the computer may not boot. The onboard video is
usually disabled through the BIOS settings. BIOS settings are accessed during
the boot up process. A specific key must be held during the initial startup of
the computer. Some common keys F2, del and F12. Look on the screen during boot,
it should say something like "F12 to enter setup". Sometimes video is disabled
through jumper settings on the motherboard. In that case, you will have to have
your motherboard owners manual to locate and jumper the correct pin on the
7) If you are working with older pc components, there may be some jumper
settings to do before installing to prevent I/O and IRQ conflicts. But, most
newer computers are plug an play, thus no configuring is necessary
8) Remove the blank (dummy bracket) on the back of the computer that lines up
with the slot you want to use. Blanks are held in by a Phillips head screw (save
the screw, you will need it later) or have tear away tabs. If they are tear
away, grasp the blank with needle nose pliers and gently twist from side to side
until the blank falls out. If the dummy bracket was held in by a screw, save it,
you might need the blank at a later time if you do any more upgrading.
9) Hold the card by the mounting bracket and the top rear of the card. Place
directly over the slot then push firmly down to seat the card. Sometimes a
gently rocking back and forth is needed to seat the card. Do not force the card
or bend from side to side as this can possibly damage the card and / or the
motherboard. Make sure the card is seated all the way down into the slot. If it
is not properly seated, it can cause the computer not to boot.
10) Fasten the card bracket with the screw you removed earlier. If you had
tear away blanks, you will have to acquire a screw.
11) Replace or close the cover, reconnect all cables, plug in electrical
cords and viola', you are done! Congratulations and enjoy. You just saved
yourself some money!