PC ComponentsStorage

How To Connect a Laptop Hard Drive to a Desktop

Laptop Hard Drive

The hard disk drives (HDD or hard drive, HD) on laptop and desktop computers have the same technological design. Both utilize spinning magnetic-coated platters to save data. The only difference is their size. The size of HD laptops is smaller. Thus, you can easily connect your laptop’s hard drive to a desktop computer and recover all the saved data. There are two methods for connecting the HD directly to a desktop computer or through a USB connector.

We’ve discussed these two methods in the simplest way possible below. Let’s take a look through the details so that you can get this thing over and done.

2 Easy Methods to Connect a Laptop Hard Drive to a Desktop

The two methods below would help you how to connect your laptop hard drive to a desktop computer. It would be beneficial for you if you want to copy or large backup size of files.

Method #1: Connect Hard Drive Directly

As mentioned in the earlier part of this article, the size is the only difference between laptop and desktop HD. Laptops utilize 2.5-inch hard drives, with approximately 4.0 x 2.75 x 0.4 inches (D x W x H) in dimension. On the other hand, desktop computers use 3.5-inch drives; it’s about 5.7 x 4.0 x 1.0 inches (D x W x H).

Because of its size, a laptop hard drive can’t fit in a desktop system since it’s smaller than the desktop’s counterpart. However, you can still connect the laptop’s drive to the desktop directly using these steps:

  1. Purchase a mounting bracket for a 2.5-inch HD, or you can check if the mounting bracket is already on your desktop computer. The bracket will enable the laptop’s drive to fit inside your desktop unit. 
  2. Carefully insert your laptop’s drive into the bracket.
  3. Connect the desktop’s motherboard SATA cable to the hard drive.
  4. Connect the power cable to the drive.
  5. Now it’s time to turn on your desktop computer. Your newly installed hard drive will be displayed on the computer operating system when it opens. 
  6. Check the drive in BIOS if you can’t find it in the drive list

Method #2: Use a USB Connector

It’s simple to connect a laptop hard drive to a desktop through a USB connector. The method is convenient because you won’t need to disassemble or unpack your desktop computer. You only need to have special connectors or drive adapters:

  1. Drive adapter – It’s one of the most effective methods of connecting laptop HD to a desktop using a USB connector. Drive adapters are commonly available in local computer stores and come with a SATA cable and power connector.   
    Be careful when choosing drive adapters. They are available in different types of USB, such as USB-C and USB 3.0. Ensure you select the right one for your desktop system. 
  2. Removable case – You can also connect your laptop hard drive to a desktop using a removable case. The case comes with a complete set of power connectors, a SATA cable, and a case for HD. You only need to place the drive inside the case and connect it to the desktop via the USB ports. The case is good at protecting your hard drive against any physical damage
    Removable cases are available in varying sizes. You must choose the right one for your needs – one suitable for a 2.5-inch hard drive.  
  3. Dock station – It’s also an easy and effective USB connector method. A dock station will allow you to connect different types of hard drives. Just buy one and insert your drive into it. Connect the cable to your desktop via a USB port. The great thing about dock station is that you can use multiple hard drives simultaneously


The above are the three most popular methods for connecting a laptop hard drive to a desktop. As you’ve noted, the methods are quick and straightforward to execute. We have learned that you can connect a laptop HD to a desktop system in two ways. The first is the direct method, where you’ll need to buy a 2.5-inch case to enable the installation of the drive into your desktop unit. 

The second method is by using USB connectors. You have three connector options: a drive adapter, removable case, and dock station. Therefore, we leave it to you to choose the one that works best for you. Cheers!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I convert my laptop into a desktop?

Start by turning off your laptop. Afterward, connect a display cable from the laptop to a monitor via VGA, DisplayPort, DVI, or HDMI. After that, plug in your desktop keyboard and mouse from your laptop’s USB ports. Now turn on your laptop!

What are hard drives in laptops?

Modern laptops come with SATA hard drives. Conversely, older units used SCSI and other interfaces. 

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