Introduction: How to Access a Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Series Hard Drive

Hello Instructables Readers, today I will be showing you how to access a hard drive in a Dell Inspiron 15 3000 series laptop. Most likely if you're reading this you are either trouble shooting the computer and looking to reseat the hard drive or you are replacing the current hard drive. After reading this instructable you will know how to do both of these depending on your situation.

While the instructions found in this instructable are meant specifically for the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Series, many of the steps should apply to other similar Dell laptops as well.

I decided to make this instructable because whenever I tried to turn on my laptop, a message would pop up saying 'hard drive not installed', even though it was. I proceeded to do some research and performed some diagnostics tests with my laptop until I received the error code '2000-0151'. With some additional research I was able to conclude that I simply needed a new hard drive. I managed to figure out how to remove the drive on my own and figured that I would make an instructable to show others how access theirs as well.


  • A Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Series Laptop
  • (Optional) Replacement Hard Drive
  • Small Screwdriver - can be found in glasses repair kits
  • A Thin, Non-Malleable Straight Edge - I used half of a pair of tweezers that I broke
  • Container For Hardware - just a simple container for storing the screws, I used a small pot that I have

Step 1: Removing the Battery and Bottom Screws

Start by removing the battery. this can be done by simply pulling on the small switch on the bottom of the laptop that I am pointing at in the second photo above. The battery will pop up and can then be removed and set aside.

Next you can remove all of the visible screws with your screwdriver. There are two unique variants of screws; in the photo above, the 7 screws circled in blue are all the same and are longer than the 3 screws circled in red. Remove the screws and either use a pair of tweezers or a small magnet to remove the screws from their holes (you can also flip the computer over to remove them but be careful not to lose any!).

Once you have the screws removed, put them in whatever container you have for storing them so that you do not lose any. If you think you might have trouble identifying the difference between the screws upon reassembly, separate them into individual baggies so that you do not mix them up.

Step 2: Removing the Keyboard Part 1

You will now begin removing the keyboard. Flip the computer right side up and open it. Along the top edge of the keyboard you will see 5 small slots. Using your straight edge, pry the board up from each of these points, being careful not to damage any part of the keyboard. Once the top of the board has been pried up, it should be able to angle towards you. With the board making about a 45 degree angle from the computer, it will slide out away from you. Flip the board upside down by rotating the top of the board towards you and then set it down on the track pad and palm rests.

Step 3: Removing the Keyboard Part 2

With the keyboard flipped upside down, you will now see a large ribbon connecting the keyboard to the computer and a smaller ribbon labeled 'ODD'.

Each of these ribbons have small black plastic retainers holding them in place which can be seen in the second picture above. Using your fingernail, flip the retainer up. Now gently pull out the ribbon for the keyboard (This may not be the same for your computer, but I found that when I went to remove my keyboard ribbon, it was much more difficult to pull out then the other ribbons discussed in this instructable, so be careful!). Now you can set aside the keyboard along with the battery.

Repeat the process for removing ribbons that you just did on the previously mentioned 'ODD' ribbon. But for his one, only remove it from the retainer and leave it as is.

Step 4: Removing the Keyboard Part 3

Now that you have the keyboard removed and out of the way, you can finish this step by removing the 5 screws that were hidden under the keyboard. The locations of the 5 screws are circled in blue in the photo above

Step 5: Removing the Disk Drive

In order to remove the disk drive, you're going to want to take your straight edge and poke it into the small slot located where the battery would go as seen in the photos above. Don't be afraid to use some force!

Once you have the disk drive loose, it should simply slide right out as shown in the photo above. Now that you have it out, set it to the side with the rest of your parts.

You can also now remove the 3 disk drive screws that are located on the shiny/chrome trim that you just uncovered when you pulled out the disk drive. Be careful, these screws are very small and can fall into the computer very easily.

Step 6: Removing the Bottom of the Case

With all of the screws and parts removed, you can now crack into the computer. Start by using the hole that the disk drive came out of as a form of a handle, and hold on to the lid of the computer the best you can without opening it while you pry the bottom of the case off. The bottom should begin popping off. You can now use your finger tips or your straight to go along the outside of the case and pop the rest of it off. With the bottom loose, you can now set it aside with your other parts.

Step 7: Removing the Hard Drive

Now for what you came here for, removing and accessing the hard drive. Start by finding the hard drive ribbon. The ribbon should be relatively small, about as wide as the ODD ribbon from earlier and marked with a 'MB' sticker. Once you have identified the ribbon, you can repeat the same process from earlier of flipping the retainer and pulling the ribbon out.

Next remove the 4 screws holding the hard drive to the computer as seen circled in blue in the photo above. With these screws removed, you can pull out the hard drive and set it aside.

If you're goal for using this instructable was to just reseat your hard drive, once you remove the hard drive, verify that the connector for the ribbon is attached to the hard drive properly. The connector can be seen in the last photo above.

Once you have verified this connector, you can now begin reinstalling the hard drive and reassembling the laptop. Skip the next optional step in order to carry on.

Step 8: (Optional) Installing New Hard Drive

If you're goal for using this instructable was to install a new hard drive into your laptop, then follow this optional step.

Once you have your original hard drive removed, remove the ribbon connector pictured above from your original hard drive and install it on to your new hard drive.

With this done, you can now transfer the metal retainer case from your original hard drive to your new one. This piece as seen above, is what bolts your hard drive to the laptop case. This metal piece is bolted to the hard drive with 4 screws on each corner.

When bolting your new hard drive into the metal piece, leave the screws somewhat loose so that the hard drive is still able to wiggle some. This will make it easier to replace the rest of the screws because the screw holes will only line up correctly at a certain angle.

Step 9: Reassembly

In order to reassemble your laptop, you will want to follow all of the previous steps in reverse order.

Reinstall your hard drive by replacing the 4 screws that bolt it to the laptop case.

Reconnect the hard drive ribbon.

Reattach the bottom of the hard drive case, making sure that you close all gaps between the top and bottom of the case.

Reinstall the 3 silver disk drive screws and then slide the disk drive back into place.

Reopen the laptop lid, pull the ODD ribbon back out from the inside of the laptop. Replace the 5 screws that are located underneath the keyboard. Reconnect the keyboard ribbon. Slide the keyboard back into place and press it down so that the clips at the top pop into place.

Close the lid and flip the computer back over. Reinstall the 10 screws located on the bottom of the laptop.

Reinstall the battery.

Step 10: Testing

Now with everything reassembled, you can try starting your computer. If you installed a new hard drive, the computer should start right up no problem. If you are troubleshooting the computer and tried reseating the hard drive, hopefully this solved your issue, otherwise, you may need a new hard drive; however, I would recommend doing more research or seeking the aid of a professional.