Many sellers claim that their security camera systems (DVR or NVR) come with pre-installed hard drives. But how to tell if your DVR or NVR comes with or without a pre-installed hard drive?
If you want to record footage on your security camera system, you need to have a hard drive installed inside your recorder. This hard drive can come pre-installed (by the manufacturer) or you can even install by yourself. Make sure to purchase a surveillance rated hard drive.
Let’s say you purchased a security system online that says it comes with a pre-installed hard drive. In this guide, we have summoned up a few methods on how to tell if the system comes with or without a pre-installed hard drive.
How to tell if your NVR or DVR comes with a pre-installed HDD?
Method 1. Inspect the label
Generally, if you bought a system with a pre-installed hard drive, the hard drive will be included as part of the model. You have to inspect the label and you should see “1T” or “1TB” on the model number which stands for 1 TB hard drive.
Additionally, you can see 2T, 4T, 6T, 10T etc, depending on the size of the hard drive. In some cases, the hard drive can be listed as “HDD: 1TB”.
For example the label below, indicates that this NVR or DVR comes without any hard drive installed.
Method 2. Check the system’s settings
Another way to check if your security system comes with a pre-installed hard drive is to check the recorder’s settings. Basically, login to your recorder setting panel and inspect the hard drive section.
If nothing is listed there, then the NVR/DVR comes without a hard drive. If there’s a hard drive, you should see it listed over there.
For example, the HDD’s status can be “normal”. If it is unformatted, it needs to format it before using it. If the status is abnormal or empty, that indicates the HDD can’t be recognized by the DVR/NVR (or there’s no hard drive at all).
An example is shown below (Hikvision equipment). Go to the Main Menu > HDD > General to check its status. It should be “Normal”. Click the “Init” button to format the HDD for the first use.
Method 3. Open up your recorder
You can simply open up the top cover of your NVR or DVR and check if there’s any hard drive over there. This is the easiest way to check.
There should be two cables connecting the hard drive to the DVR’s motherboard (HDD power cable and HDD data cable).
If you need to purchase a hard drive for your security camera system, make sure to get a surveillance rated hard drive. These hard drives are specifically designed to work with CCTV systems and last longer.