Installing an expansion card

One of the most commonly-feared PC tasks is installing an expansion card. Although the procedure is quite simple, it's one of very few regularly-performed procedures which requires you to open the computer, which scares a lot of newbies. However, it's easy to do. Here's how:

First, open the computer, of course.

Next, look for the slots. They'll look like a row of slots lined up on the motherboard, some of them with cards sticking out of them.

Now look for a free slot (one without a card already in it) which matches the connector on the card you have. Slots are usually color-coded as follows:

Black: ISA
White: PCI
Brown: AGP

The connector types are physically incompatible with each other, meaning you can't plug a card of one kind into a slot of another kind (in the same way that you can't put a square peg into a round hole). Once you've found a free slot, take the slot cover off. Unused slots have a little metal plate covering the opening on the back of the computer where that slot is, to keep dust and other stuff out. It's held in place by one screw, just take the screw off, then the plate. You may want to keep the plate, just in case. Definitely keep the screw, either way.

Now it's time to plug in the card. On one side of the card will be a metal thing which has much the same shape as the slot cover you just removed. Just orient the card so that the metal thing slides into much the same position as the slot cover was in, and check the edge of the card which actually plugs into the slot to make sure it goes in straight. Once you've pushed the card in so that it's firmly in place and the metal plate is flush with the ones on the other cards in the system, put the screw back on to hold the card in place. Now close up the computer and you're done.

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