Tech

Can You Use A Laptop Hard Drive In A PC? – [Answered]

The hard drive is one of the most critical components of a PC. It stores all the applications and other important data, including the operating system. If there isn’t any storage device connected to your PC, you won’t be able to do anything. However, a lot of people wonder whether they can use a laptop hard drive in their PC or not. And today, we will be answering this question in detail.

Can You Use A Laptop Hard Drive In A PC?

For the short answer, yes, you can use a laptop hard drive in your PC. The process is the same as using a regular hard drive, only that you might need to purchase a drive bay adapter for it. We are going to talk more about this in detail below.

Why Should You Use A Laptop Hard Drive in A PC?

If you’re someone who uses his PC every day, there are some chances for its hard drive to get corrupt. Or because for some reason, you might need to replace it. There can be times when there’s a laptop lying around that doesn’t work anymore. Instead of purchasing a brand new hard drive for your PC, you can take out the hard drive from the laptop and use it with your computer. This way, you will save a lot of money.

Difference Between A Desktop Hard Drive and Laptop Hard Drive 

Just by taking a look at a desktop and a laptop hard drive, you’ll be able to tell that they are pretty different from one another. While both of them serve the same purpose, that is to store data, there are major differences between the two. We are going to discuss them in detail below.

Size

The biggest difference between the two is their size. Desktop hard drives are large in size, and they are commonly referred to as 3.5” drives. This type of hard drive is mostly found in desktops and large-capacity external drives. Its exact dimensions are (D) 5.7″ x  (W) 4.0″ x (H) 1.0″. 

On the other hand, laptop hard drives are small in size and they are 2.5” drives. These hard drives are packed in laptops. However, you can also find external hard drives of the same size as well. As for its dimension, its around (D) 4.0″ x (W) 2.75″ x (H) 0.4″. The reason why laptop hard drives are smaller is that laptops are meant to be compact and slim. If the size of the hard drive is similar to the desktop one, it will ruin the design. 

Capacity

Another huge difference between the two is their storage capacity. As mentioned above, desktop hard drives are larger in size, and thus they can store more data.  At the time of writing, there exist desktop hard drives that can store 20 TB of data, which is a lot. Meanwhile, as laptop hard drives are smaller, they can max store 3 times fewer data than a desktop hard drive, as you can find ones featuring space up to 5 TB. While this is still a lot, it’s nothing compared to what desktop drives offer. 

Performance and Speed

Hard disks have platters that spin whenever they are in use. The faster it spins, the better the hard drive performs. Desktop hard drives come equipped with better platters as compared to laptop hard drives. The speed of the platters is measured in RPM (rotations per minute). While desktop hard drives offer speeds up to 10,000 RPM, laptop hard drives are set at 5,400 RPM. However, keep in mind that because the platters in desktop hard drives spin pretty fast, they heat up quickly as they consume more power.

On the other hand, laptop hard drives stay cooler than desktop ones and also consume less power. But this comes at the cost of slower HDD performance. This is again done because of the laptop’s design. If the speed of the hard drive increases, the laptop may overheat. In other words, it will do more harm than good. 

Compatibility 

Both hard drives have their own compatibility options. Desktops are large in size, and you can place any hard drive inside them. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a 3.5” desktop drive or a 2.5” drive, all you need to do is connect it to the SATA cable and it will start working.

On the other hand, due to the small size of laptops, you can only use 2.5” hard drives with them. Therefore, 2.5” hard drives are compatible with desktops and computers, while 3.5” drives are only compatible with desktops. 

How To Install A Laptop Hard Drive In A Desktop

The process of installing a laptop hard drive in a desktop is the same as installing a regular drive. However, we are still going to talk about it in detail to make things easier for you. 

  1. First, turn off your computer. Make sure to disconnect the power cable as well as you don’t want any current going to the system.
  2. Now, remove the side and front panel of your desktop’s case.
  3. Take out the hard drive bay and insert the laptop hard drive into it. However, since they are designed for 3.5” drives, you might not be able to fit the drive into it properly. If this happens, you’ll need to purchase a 2.5” hard drive bay.
  4. After you have placed the hard drive inside the bay, put it back in the slot.
  5. Now, connect one end of the SATA cable to the motherboard and the other to the hard drive. The SATA cable usually comes with the motherboard. But if you don’t have one, you’ll need to purchase it separately. Without it, you can’t connect the hard drive to the motherboard.  
  6. Next, you will need to connect the power cable that is attached to your power supply to the hard drive. If you’re unsure about which power supply you have, you can check out our guide on how you can find out its exact model. 

Why Isn’t The Laptop Hard Drive Appearing in My Computer?

Although you can access the laptop drive in your computer right after connecting it, there might be times when you may not see it in the list of drives instantly. If this happens, you will need to follow the steps mentioned below.

  1. Turn on your computer.
  2. In the windows search box, type “Disk Management.”
  3. In the Disk Management section, you will see the laptop drive in the unallocated tab.
  4. Right-click on it and click on “Initialize Disk.”
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions where you will also need to set the volume size of the hard drive as per your need. The obvious choice will be to select the maximum value. 
  6. After everything is done, click on finish.

You will now see the laptop drive appearing next to your other drives in your PC. You can proceed to install anything you want on the drive, including games. Speaking of video games, we recently wrote a guide on how to play games offline on Steam, so might wanna check that out as well. 

Why Can’t I See The Laptop Hard Drive In Disk Management?

If you can’t see the laptop hard drive in Disk Management, chances are that there is something wrong with the drive. In this case, you will need to open your PC’s case again and remove all the cables from the hard drive. Then, connect the cables again and turn on your PC to see whether it is appearing or not. 

If the issue still exists, you will need to take the hard drive to a repair shop. They will either repair the drive for you or will tell you to purchase a new one if it is beyond repairing. However, this will only happen if you’re using a pre-owned laptop hard drive, as news ones rarely have such issues. 

Wrapping Up

This was all you needed to know about whether you can use a laptop hard drive in a PC or not. As you can see, you won’t face any problems with using a laptop hard drive with your PC, unless there is something wrong with the drive itself. Otherwise, it will work fine after you connect it to the motherboard and power supply. 

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