A laptop’s hard drive is one of its primary components; it stores all of your laptop’s digital data, including OS-related files, system and user files, and so much more. Hard drives are directly connected to the motherboard via an Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA), parallel ATA, or Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) cable, among other cable connections. Hard drives are also called hard disk drives or HDDs.
However, you might think about repurposing your laptop’s hard drive, especially when its other core parts are getting old and faulty. In this guide, we’ll go over ways how to connect a laptop’s hard drive to a desktop computer. Read on to learn more.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Hook Up Laptop Hard Drive to Desktop
- 2 Final Thoughts
How to Hook Up Laptop Hard Drive to Desktop
Hard drives that are found in most laptops can be divided into three kinds: Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE), Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA), and Solid State Drive (SSD). SATA hard drives are commonly found on most older and newer laptop models. However, SSDs are a great upgrade and are being used on newer and flagship laptop brands.
So, if you’ve decided to open your laptop’s internals, chances are you’re going to find either a SATA or SSD hard drive. But the question is, can a laptop hard drive work on a desktop? Here are some techniques for connecting your laptop’s hard drive to a desktop computer.
Method #1: Connect Hard Drive Directly to the PC’s Motherboard
You can try this method if you have a desktop setup that supports two hard drives inside its casing. Also, laptop hard drives are typically smaller than your desktop’s hard drives. So you’ll need to have a mounting bracket that securely supports it to avoid it from sliding out of place.
Important: Keep magnets away from your laptop’s hard drive to avoid damage and data loss.
To connect your laptop hard drive directly to the PC’s motherboard, follow these steps:
Step 1: Removing your laptop’s hard drive
- Turn off your laptop and unplug it from any power source—if it has a removable battery, detach it from your laptop.
Note: If your laptop’s battery is built-in internally, you’ll need to take it off first before removing other components.
- Press the Power button a few times to ensure that all power is drained from the laptop’s internal components.
- Next, remove all screws that are keeping the laptop’s back casing in place. Since most laptops have very small screws, you can use a jeweler’s screwdriver to remove them.
- After removing the laptop’s CD/DVD drive and keyboard, you will now have a clear view of where the hard drive is—it’s typically at the bottom-left corner of the laptop and is held by a few screws. Remove it by sliding it outside.
Step 2: Connecting your hard drive to the desktop
- To connect your hard drive to the motherboard, you’ll need to have an adapter or connector that’s compatible with your hard drive. If you have a SATA hard drive, you can purchase a SATA connector online or at a tech store.
- Turn off your PC and disconnect it from any power source.
- Open it and find the motherboard; it should have spare SATA sockets available.
- Connect the SATA connector to your hard drive and plug it into one of the sockets.
- Next, mount the hard drive to a secure bracket to keep it in place.
- Reassemble your PC and boot it up to BIOS; check the connected hard drive and see if it’s working.
Method #2: Connect Hard Drive to PC via USB
If your PC’s USB ports are in good condition, it’s more convenient to connect your hard drive via USB connection. This way, you won’t need to open your PC’s housing and connect the hard drive yourself. Also, you can choose between various methods that are all easy to do.
One way of connecting your hard drive to a desktop is through USB adapters. This is ideal if your PC’s USB ports are running USB 3.0 since it can quickly transfer data from your hard drive to your PC. However, most adapters still use power so you’ll need to plug it into a power source before using it.
Via Hard Drive Enclosure
Hard drive enclosures or disk caddies are cases that house and power a hard drive. It contains the necessary interface and components to be connected to a computer. Enclosures can also be connected via USB and are widely available in most computer stores.
Via a Docking Station
Another method to connect your laptop’s hard drive to a PC is through a docking station. It’s an upgraded version of a drive enclosure and can house up to two hard drives. However, you’ll need to make sure that the docking station’s drive bays are compatible with your hard drive.
Hard drives are one of the most important parts of your laptop. It stores various data and can hold them for several years. However, you might be thinking of repurposing your laptop’s hard drive as its other components are getting older.
Therefore, this guide will hopefully help you in connecting your laptop’s hard drive without losing any of its data.