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How To Remove A Laptop Hard Drive

So here is a little tutorial on how to remove a laptop hard drive. I only have Dell’s in my little arsenal but the method should be the same across the board no matter what laptop you have. The only exception I will make that is with the dell I use for this it is a “slide out” hard drive and on some model of laptops you may just have a plastic cover that you remove and the hard drive is under it.

For this job you will need a clear space to work in, not a HUGE amount of space but enough that you can set your laptop down and have a good 4 inches all the way around. You will also need somewhere to set the hard drive once removed, aluminum foil makes a nice anti static surface. Also it is likely you will need a precision Phillips head screw driver, because like everything else on a laptop the screws are much smaller then that of a desktop. The screw drive will look something like this.

laptop 4

This is the bottom of my laptop, from here I need to look around and locate the SMALL screws I will need to remove to free the hard drive from the laptop.

laptop 1

They can “usually” be identified by the universal sign for Hard Drive which I have a picture of below.

laptop 2

From here you will need to remove the screws.

laptop 3

As you can see there is quite a few screws on the back, make sure you are removing the proper ones. If you are not sure you can always check with the manufacturers web site.

Once the screws are removed then you will have access to the hard drive, if it is the slider type you should be able to easily slide the drive away from the laptop. If it is the kind with a plastic cover over it you will have to disconnect the IDE cable or SATA cable and power. You should now be able to either do hard drive recovery on the laptop drive with an external USB chassis or replace the hard drive if that is what you were trying to do.

Related Hard Drive Recovery Resources:

How To Slave A Laptop Hard Drive Using a USB Enclosure Video – if you are removing your laptop hard drive for data recovery, this video will show you how to use the adapter for USB.

Hard Drive Recovery


3 Responses to “How To Remove A Laptop Hard Drive”

  1. Joseph Whitehead January 22, 2009 3:43 am #

    Do it all the time – just got to be careful of drives that are tied to a system password. Even then, all you have to do is use a bootable CD (optional, depends on if you want to bother removing the password) and enter the password after trying to get to the BIOS setup screen to tell it to boot off the CD. Tell it to remove the password, reboot, and presto – you can reuse the drive in another machine or just use a bootable CD and don’t even bother going into the BIOS setup beyond just telling it to boot off the CD.

    Step-by-step (No boot CD, just need to unlock drive for desktop adapter):
    1) Press the button to enter BIOS setup. This is F2 on Dells, but Delete on generic computers, entirely different on other name brands.
    2) Enter the password.
    3) Find the setting for the password and tell it to clear the system lock password (or wording like that – it unlocks drive).
    4) Exit setup, making sure to confirm that you want to save you settings and reboot.
    5) Shutdown the laptop and proceed as usual.

    Step-by-step (Using UBCD4Windows or other bootable CD, leaving system password intact):
    1) If your laptop has an option to select which device to boot off of, press the button for it after you turn on the laptop. It should tell you that it wants a password to allow you to in fact do this.
    2) Choose the optical (CD/DVD/etc.) drive and press enter.
    3) Once you boot into BartPE/UBCD4Win/Kubuntu/whatever, do whatever you need to do.
    4) Shutdown the machine and remove the CD.
    Note: Substitute Boot’n’Nuke or your OS install CD if you want to wipe/repartition the drive and optionally put the OS back on it.

    On my Dell: Press F12 to choose what to boot off of. It’s different on other brands/models. Almost all tell you the button to press but some make you get the manual to find out.

    Good luck, and pray that you don’t need this information often!

  2. Bill November 24, 2009 9:32 pm #

    I got identical D-600 with no harddrive 9 or ram, switched over those and the hard drive booted up. I was adjusting the display but then the screen froze up and I decided to power down and reboot.
    The screen had gone black and I think I pulled the hard drive about 1/4″ out before I realized the power was still on. So I quickedly pulled the plug.
    Next go-round, the D-600 says “No primary hard drive” and it will not see the hard drive. Have I knocked out this hard drive?
    Thanks for info

    • Jacqui Best November 24, 2009 11:51 pm #


      My guess is that something got fried.. if you need data on off the drive I would say clean room (physical recovery) is going to be about the only option.

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