External Hard Drive From an Old Internal Hard Drive

This instructable shows the step by step process of making an external hard drive from an old internal hard drive. In addition, the methods I used to get the internal hard drive of an old laptop computer and to make the housing/casing of the DIY external hard drive are included. I hope this tutorial may help you ^_^.


Main Materials

1. Old internal hard drive

2. IDE/SATA to USB connector

If you will buy a connector, please be advised that it would be better to have your hard drive with you in order for you to test its suitability before purchasing it.

Optional 1 (harvesting internal hard drive from a laptop)

o Old laptop

o Phillip screw

o Box for screws

to avoid misplacing the screws

Optional 2 (for the casing/house of your hard drive)

· Ruler

· Pizza carton box

Use any materials that you desire however it is highly recommended to use something that can act like a cushion to protect the hard drive

· Glue gun

Use any adhesive that you want ^_^

· Scissor

· Pencil


1. Remove the battery of your laptop

First, you need to remove any power supply which is connected to the laptop (yes, even the laptop battery). By doing this, you eliminate any possibilities for an electric shock to happen. This procedure is very important and is concerned about your safety.

2. Locate the hard drive of your laptop

Second, turn your laptop upside down then search for the location of its hard drive. Most of the time, you can see a rectangular shaped pattern (the shape of the hard drive) which tells the position of the hard drive.

3. Begin to disassemble the laptop

Lastly, you can now unscrew the part where the hard drive is located. Please be careful on removing the hard drive to avoid damaging it.


1. Measure and cut

First, get the dimension of your hard drive. In my case, I have a hard drive with a width of 70mm, a height of 10mm, and a length of 100mm. I want to cover my hard drive by just rolling the pizza carton box on its body. In order to do so I cut a rectangle having a size of 105mm by 175mm.

(105mm is the length of the hard drive, 100mm, plus 5mm factor of safety)

(175mm is twice the width (70mm * 2 = 140mm) plus twice the height (10mm * 2 = 20mm) plus a factor of safety of 5mm)

2. Form the casing

Second, envelope the body of the hard drive with the pizza carton box. I used glue gun as an adhesive to make sure that it will not easily break apart.

3. Design and finish

Lastly, furnish your work by putting some decorations on the cover. You can draw, paint, or color the cover. In my case, I put my name on the center front and a sticker below it. Also, I used plastic cover to make it more presentable.


You can now test your hard drive! I congratulate you for being patient and persevering to accomplish this task. I hope you like this tutorial and please be informed that I am grateful to share this. Please comment/subscribe/like/share this. Thanks ^^.


Thank you for ИванИ11 for reminding that you need an exhaust (or any mechanism that will prevent entrapping the air inside the casing). One way of doing this is to have some tiny holes on your casing.



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    8 Discussions


    3 years ago

    The idea does not seem appropriate. Placed so can not is cooled and no time will overheat and become damaged. Put a USB fan to purge to avoid overheating and a hole through which to go out warm air. I have something, but drive of a desktop computer and power and cooling through the old Power PC and stay even under load below 28 degrees Celsius.

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    thank you for this. Will definitely edit the instructable to take not of this.


    Reply 6 months ago

    You're welcome. It is good to emphasize that this is for a hard disk which is a PATA interface. Others can not be powered through this adapter, additional power is required. Adapter you choose supports all standard hard drives so you do not need to carry the hard drive in a store. This does not apply to optical devices with this interface (PATA) because their connector is different than the hard disk drive with the same interface somehow unknown.


    If you do not put the disc in a cardboard box, there will be no need for a cooler just for something to keep the electronics from static electricity. Typically, laptops have one cap that isolates them from static electricity and turns on the disk itself.


    2 years ago

    Need to consider the reliability of the old drive before storing any valuable/important data.

    DIY Hacks and How TosNoctOwl

    Reply 3 years ago

    It really is a good idea. The only thing that I usually do with old hard drives is make jewelry and modern art.

    NoctOwlDIY Hacks and How Tos

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you sir. This is my first instructable and I am so happy that someone appreciates it. I checked your instructable link and saw that the jewelries are pretty impressive. They are like gemstones ^^.