Using Laptop Hard-Drive (HDD) in Desktop

Using Laptop Hard-Drive (HDD) in Desktop

Hard drive and SSDs are two of the most used storage devices by common people in their computers. Although despite being used for both laptops and desktops, laptop hard drives are smaller in size than desktop ones.

That’s why people often this can a small laptop hard-drive be used on the desktop. Now, there are many reasons because of which a user has to do this: laptop stopped working, not useful anymore, or for data backup. So, let’s discuss about using a laptop’s hard-drive on desktops, starting with is it really possible?

Can A Laptop Hard-Drive (HDD) Be Used In Desktop?

A laptop’s hard-drive (HDD) can be used on a desktop easily. To connect, you just have to insert the SATA cable and SATA power cable like desktop hard-drive, and the laptop Hard drive will appear like a normal HDD in the desktop when you boot from it.

It is almost the same as installing a laptop hard-drive with a desktop hard drive. I saw people often doubt about connecting their laptop HDD to desktops as they are relatively smaller in size.

That’s why users also think that they need any additional cables for this connecting process. This not true actually.

For connecting, you don’t need any additional cables or an adapter. The only two things you need are the SATA cable and SATA power cord, which also need for connecting any normal hard drive.

So, after having these cables, how you can actually apply these into action.

How To Connect Laptop Hard-Drive With Desktop?

For connecting a laptop Hard drive to desktop, you will need two cables: SATA cable and SATA power cable.

SATA cable: SATA cable is the main cable that actually carries data to the motherboard from the hard drive. You just have to connect one port of SATA cable with the motherboard and the other to the laptop HDD.

SATA power cable: This cable comes from the power supply (PSU) and because of it your hard drive gets power. Without it, the moving magnetic mechanism of a hard drive will not work. So, you have to connect it with the hard drive power port.

Using Laptop Hard-Drive (HDD) in Desktop

Now, after setting everything up, do these steps:

  • Connect the SATA port with the laptop HDD, and the other end with the motherboards SATA port.
  • Then insert the SATA power cable in the HDD which comes from the power supply.
  • Then start your PC.

Now, there are a few things you should know before proceeding further:

Using Laptop HDD As Primary Storage Option:

If you are willing to use your laptop HDD as a primary storage option, then you have to do a few things. More likely, in a laptop HDD, you had an operating system (O.S.) already installed which you were using with the laptop.

Now when you install it with a desktop, you can find an issue as there will be now two operating systems on your desktop running.

So, if you want to use your laptop hard drive for booting, then you have to set it manually as your preferred booting option from BIOS (Basic Input-Output System).

To Do This:

  • Open your BIOS (pressing the key that your model supports).
  • Go to Boot.
  • Change the boot order and select your laptop HDD as the preferred one.

So, after this procedure every time you boot your computer, it will boot from the laptop hard drive. However, you can also format the other hard drive (desktop) after taking a backup of the data to use it like normal if you are willing to use the laptop HDD operating system.

Just Want To Copy The Data:

If you are one of those whose laptop is just stopped working and you want to just access your old laptop’s data. Basically don’t wanna use the drive as primary, then after connecting it with SATA and SATA power cable, just boot your PC.

Case 1:

More likely you will see an option asking from which drive you boot, select the laptop HDD and complete the boot and copy the laptop HDD’s data to another drive.

Case 2:

But if you are not seeing any option to select from which drive to boot. Also, your O.S. is booting from an old desktop hard drive and after booting also your laptop drive is not available.

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Then you have to do the previous steps that I have discussed, just set the laptop HDD as your primary option.

Now, the next time, your desktop will only boot from the laptop HDD. After that, you can easily take the backup and redo the BIOS setting after you are done talking back up, bring the main drive to the normal booting device.

Therefore you can also format this laptop HDD for use as a normal desktop hard drive.

These are some methods through which you can access a laptop hard drive on a desktop easily.

However, if your laptop HDD doesn’t have an O.S installed (was using it as a secondary drive) you don’t have to change the BIOS settings. Just insert the cables and you are ready to go after a new boot.

Also, if you find it complex to change boot menu settings, you can also try not changing the settings once, just after installing the cables, restart the PC. It works most of the time. But ultimately you do have to change the settings if the laptop drive will not show up after fresh boot.

Is Laptop HDD Faster Than Desktop HDD?

Laptops hard drives are relatively smaller than desktops and performance-wise both the two types are almost the same. Both laptop and desktop HDD gives the same read and write speed (if they are from the same price segment and brand obviously).

So, for those who are thinking a laptop’s HDD can easily beat a desktops HDD or desktops HDDs are very big and they are easily gonna crush laptops by speed, both are the same in terms of performance.

Is It Safe To Use Laptop HDD On Desktop?

It is completely safe to use a laptop HDD on a desktop. They are almost the same, just the difference is in their size. Meaning, the laptop hard drivers are smaller than the desktop ones.

Otherwise, there is almost no difference between them, their working principle is the same, performance is also the same. So, don’t worry, you can easily use a laptop HDD on a desktop, it is completely safe for your desktop.

Laptop Hard Drive vs PC Hard Drive:


Laptop and desktops hard drive offers the almost same performance, just the main difference in their size. Laptop hard drives are smaller than desktop ones.

Moreover, in general, a laptop HDD contains less space too compared to a desktop HDD.


Talking about performance, both of the hard-drive performances are almost the same. Although in some particular cases desktop HDD outperforms laptop HDD by a little margin, if you are a normal user, you can’t tell which HDD a system is using by seeing the reading and writing speed.


Laptop HDDs cost a bit more than desktop ones. For example, if we take one of the most popular HDD, WD Blue HDDs, their 1TB desktop hard drive costs around $41 while 1TB laptop HDD costs around $50.

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In this post I have discussed using laptop HDDs on desktop, is it okay to do, and how to connect it. If you are any doubts after reading this post, contact me.

See you in the next post, be techy:)

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