Can You Use A Laptop Hard Drive In A Desktop? Advantages And Disadvantages?

Can You Use a Laptop Hard Drive in a Desktop

The revolution of portability in smart devices came to us with the first Laptops. To us, laptops and personal computers are virtually the same. But they have intricate differences in physical components, especially in storage systems.

Laptops and computers are evolving fast, and at some point, you might have wondered, can you use a laptop hard drive in a desktop

Well, you can, if you are able to connect it with a SATA cable. But if the PC’s motherboard is not compatible with the particular hard drive, you cannot. 

It would be best if you were very careful while you attempt to connect your laptop’s hard drive to the PC. Otherwise, it might get damaged, and you will need costly data recovery.

How To Use A Laptop Hard Drive In A Desktop

Let’s get to know about using a laptop hard drive on a desktop.

Find the Compatible Zone

If you are hoping to connect the laptop’s hard drive to a computer, you are probably using an old device. 

These devices might still have antique PS2 connectors and a very low chance of having IDE and SATA compatibility. Without them, your computer will not accept the laptop’s hard drive.

Also, your laptop drives are 2.5’’and the desktop ones are 3.5″. Size is not the only issue. The laptop’s hard drives run at 5900rpm approximately, while the desktop’s one is 7200rpm. So, the performance will also take a hit.

Use Clever Workarounds

We have two solutions for you to connect the laptop’s hard drive to the desktop. Let’s face it; we don’t want to lose the data, and transferring data is tedious. Also, it takes a lot of time. 

The first process is connecting the laptop’s drive directly to the motherboard of the computer. You can deploy IDE to IDE connector or SATA to IDE connector for this process. It takes a bit of wiring.

The second one is using a USB device. For that, your desktop’s motherboard must support a USB connection. In recent times, most motherboards do.

Unplug and Shift the Memory

Safety first! Shut down both your laptop and the desktop, and make sure to remove the plug. We do not want to damage any sophisticated parts unintentionally.

  • Disconnect and bring out the hard drive from your laptop
  • Identify its connection type, speed, and ratings from the label
  • Open the casing of your desktop
  • Go through the motherboard’s specs and check the connection ports
  • Buy adapters or connectors as needed
  • Connect the hard drive with IDE to SATA or IDE to IDE connector with the motherboard
  • Look for the hard drive during boot in BIOS

You might be asked to choose the boot device when you connect the laptop’s hard drive for the first time. Set your laptop’s hard drive as a non-bootable storage device.

This is a highly recommended process to connect your laptop’s hard drive to the desktop’s motherboard. You can also opt for mounting the hard drive in a USB casing and connect it via the USB port of your computer. You can access the data, but the speed will be irregular and lower because of the limitations of the USB drive.

Advantages Of Using A Laptop Hard Drive In A Desktop

  1. You will get additional storage in the desktop computer
  2. No need to transfer data, just plug and play!
  3. You can perform data recovery of damaged laptops
  4. Take the data with you (USB portability)

Disadvantages Of Using A Laptop Hard Drive In A Desktop

  1. If your laptop has a different operating system than the desktop, connecting directly with the motherboard will cause errors.
  2. If the desktop uses an extra card for USB ports, the hard drive’s performance connected via HDD will be drastically lower.
  3. If the laptop uses eSATA or mSATA ports, you might not get the connectors needed to plug it with the desktop motherboard.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are laptop and desktop hard drives different?

Yes. Laptop hard drives are smaller in size (2.5 inches) than desktop ones (3.5 inches). There is also a difference in speed.

2.  Is it possible to use a 2.5-inch hard drive in a desktop?

You can connect it to the desktop. There is no issue with the software part, but you will need a bracket to fit it in the casing.

3. Is a 2.5 or 3.5 Hard drive better?

3.5-inch HDDs can store more data and perform faster than 2.5-inch ones.

4. Are laptop HDDs slower than desktops?

Desktop HDDs can spin at 7200rpm, which is considerably faster than laptop HDDs (5400rpm).

5. Can I connect my 2.5-inch laptop hard drive with SATA to the desktop?

Yes, and it is what we recommend. There is no issue if you connect it with SATA.


Our storage is not unlimited, and we do not want to waste our laptop’s hard drive even when the device is not waking up anymore. We tried to answer the question that crossed the minds of all of us; can you use a laptop hard drive in a desktop?

If you read our guide thoroughly, you will find it’s as easy as it gets. However, we suggest caution and patience while you work this out. With your guide, you will have no problem doing so! 

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