How to Change a Laptop Hard Drive

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Back then, if you wanted to change the hard drive in a laptop, you have to pack up the entire machine and send it back to the manufacturer or to the local computer repair shop. Nowadays, with just the right tools and technical knowledge, you can save time and money by changing your laptop’s hard drive with just a few quick and easy steps.

Materials Needed:
- Screwdriver
- laptop hard drive
- backup software (optional)
- backup CDs or DVDs
Step 1
The first step in changing the hard drive is finding the right one. Most laptop hard drives sold nowadays follow the 2.5-inch-wide hard drive form factor and have about 4,200 to 7,200 rpm. Having the right hard drive for your laptop is crucial for it to work properly and safely, so it is best to consult your laptop’s operational manual first before going out and buying a new hard drive.
Step 2
Once you have purchased a new hard drive, the next step is to back up the files from your old laptop drive into the new one. You can either do this by using file backup software or by transferring the old files onto a CD, DVD or a portable storage device. You can also use online file backup services such as MozyHome Online Backup ( to store your data until the new drive is installed.
Step 3
Remove the laptop from the plug and detach the battery to avoid electrical damage to yourself and to the laptop's motherboard when replacing the hard drive.
Step 4
Search for a drive release mechanism or a removable panel on the back part of the laptop. A typical laptop drive is usually found at the side or bottom of the chassis and is released either by pressing a lock and unlock button or unscrewing the drive from the laptop. However, if you are unsure on how to remove the drive, read the laptop’s manual for instructions.
Step 5
Install the new drive on the laptop in a reverse manner of the old hard drive's removal. If the laptop utilizes a slide-in drive mechanism, it will slide without a hitch and make a faint clicking sound when the connectors are properly set. However, if the drive sits loosely in a panel located on the laptop's bottom, you need to first insert one edge in order for it to fit snugly. If you experience any resistance when installing the new drive, do not force it in. Always look for possible obstructions and make certain that all the guiding rails are installed properly and the screws are fitted correctly.
Step 6
When the drive has been properly installed, turn the laptop on. The laptop BIOS should immediately detect the new hard drive.