Installing a PCI Adapater Card

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Intro and Power Down

Turn Off All Power tot he PC
Turn Off All Power to the PC. ©Mark Kyrnin
Difficulty: Simple
Time Required: 5 minutes
Tools Required: Philips Screwdriver

This guide was developed to instruct users on the proper method for installing a PCI adapter card into a desktop computer system. It is a step-by-step instruction guide with photographs detailing the individual steps. Since there are a wide variety of PCI adapters that can be installed inside of a computer system, it will only show the physical installation of the card. Peripheral attachment either through internal or external connections should be done by referring to the installation directions that come included with the adapter card.

Before beginning any work on the inside of a computer system, it is important to make sure there is no power. Shutdown the computer from the operating system. Once the computer has safely shut down, flip the switch on the back of the power supply and remove the AC power cord.

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Opening Up the Computer

Open Up the Case
Open Up the Case. ©Mark Kyrnin

The method for opening of the computer case will vary depending upon how it was manufactured. Most new cases will use either a side panel or door while older one require that the whole cover be removed. Remove any screws that fasten the cover to the case and set them aside in a safe place.

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Remove PC Card Slot Cover

Remove the PC Slot Cover
Remove the PC Slot Cover. ©Mark Kyrnin

Determine which slot inside of the computer the PCI card will be installed in. Based on this slot, remove the slot cover from the case. Most cases will have an internal slot cover that needs to be unscrewed from the case. Some new cases use covers that simply snap into the slot.

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Insert the PCI Card

Insert the PCI Card
Insert the PCI Card. ©Mark Kyrnin

Position the PCI card in the slot directly over the connector and gently push down on both sides of the card until it slides into the PCI connector.

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Fasten the PCI Card to the Case

Fasten Down the PCI Card
Fasten Down the PCI Card. ©Mark Kyrnin

Fasten the PCI card to the computer case with a screw in the slot cover. Some new cases may use a tool free connector that snaps into place over the card cover to hold the card in place.

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Attach Any Cables

Attach Any Cables to the PCI Card
Attach Any Cables to the PCI Card. ©Mark Kyrnin

Most PCI cards are being installed into the computer to connect some peripheral to the computer system. This means that one or more cables will need to be attached between the PCI card and the peripheral. Attach any internal or external cables at this point.

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Close the Computer Case

Fasten the Computer Cover to the Case
Fasten the Computer Cover to the Case. ©Mark Kyrnin

At this point, all the internal installation work is completed and the computer case can be closed up. Return the panel or cover to the case and fasten it with the screws that were previously removed.

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Power Up the Computer

Plug the AC Power In
Plug the AC Power In. ©Mark Kyrnin

Plug the AC power cord back into the computer and flip the switch on the back to the ON position. At this point, the card is physically installed into the computer system. It is still necessary for the system to be powered on and the hardware detected. Once the system has detected the hardware, it should request any necessary software drivers for its proper operation. Please refer to the documentation that came with the adapter card for the proper software installation procedure.