Introduction: How to Remove a Hard Drive From a Laptop

A personal computer is where many of us keep our important personal “items” (the digital kind, at least) such as family photos.  Yet computers don’t last forever and in the event your computer crashes, you will want to recover the hard drive for use with a different computer.  The following instructions will guide you in the removal of the hard drive.  Some laptops have hard drives that are easily accessible through a cover on the underside.  However these instructions are for a laptop in which you have to remove the keyboard to access the hard drive, which is a considerably more difficult task.

Step 1: Tools Needed

Jeweler’s screwdriver, laptop with hard drive.

Step 2: Safety Considerations

Warning-do not work on your laptop while it has a source of power, you will get shocked.  Before beginning any work on your laptop ensure that the power cord is unplugged and the battery is removed.  Depressing the power button for a couple of seconds after taking out the battery is also a good idea; it reassures you that there is no more electricity in the laptop. 

As for the safety of your hard drive, it is a well-known fact that magnets can erase information stored electronically.  This is true; however the magnets have to be fairly powerful to do this.  I do recommend keeping any magnets away from your work area (better safe than sorry); however I would not worry too much if a refrigerator magnet accidently comes into contact with your laptop.

Step 3: Remove All Power Sources

Make sure the laptop is unplugged and remove the battery.  To do so simply slide both tabs (blue arrows) to the outside and push the battery away from the computer (red arrow).  After the battery has been removed, depress the power button for three seconds to remove any residual charge.

Step 4: Remove Screws

Once you are confident all power has been drained from the laptop you can begin to take it apart.  Begin by removing the screws circled in red.  Do not remove the screws that are circled in blue just yet, they are the ones that secure the hard drive.  Once the screws circled in red have been removed, remove the cover outlined in red.

Step 5: Remove More Screws

Remove the screws circled in red.

Step 6: Remove CD/DVD Reader

Remove the CD/DVD (outlined in yellow) reader by simply pulling the entire unit out.

Step 7: Remove the Keyboard

To remove the keyboard you will have to depress the four tabs at the top of the keyboard (outlined in red) and lift up on the keyboard.  You will have to use the jeweler’s screwdriver to reach the tabs.  It is easiest to depress one tab at a time, starting at one of the corners, and lift up on that piece of the keyboard. 

The tabs are not a part of the keyboard, rather they are a part of the surrounding case and they protrude out onto the keyboard, keeping the keyboard in place.

Once the keyboard is freed do not pull it up with force!  See the next step.

Step 8: Remove Keyboard Cable

Once the keyboard is freed from all 4 tabs, lift up on the keyboard to reveal the keyboard cable (outlined in black).  The cable is very thin so be careful and do not try to yank it out (unless you don’t plan on re-using the keyboard).  Lift up on the black connector tab (outlined in red) to remove the cable.

Step 9: Remove Strips

You will need to remove the plate seen here to gain access to the hard drive.  First, unhook the strips indicated by the red arrows (see the next step.)

Step 10: Remove Strips (Continued)

In the same way you removed the keyboard cable, lift up on the black connector tabs (outlined in red) to free the strips.

Step 11: Remove More Screws

Next remove the screws securing the plate (circled in red.)  Then simply lift the plate up and set aside.

Step 12: Locate Hard Drive

Almost done!  The hard drive is indicated by the red arrow.  To remove it you need to unscrew the screws securing it to the laptop (see the next step.)

Step 13: Remove Hard Drive Screws

Now is the time to remove the screws circled in blue (the ones we left alone in step #4.)  Once removed the hard drive will be free to be pulled out.

Step 14: Pull Out Hard Drive

Lastly, slide the hard drive in the direction of the red arrow to remove it from its connection to the laptop, lift it out and you’re done!