How to Connect Laptop Hard Drive to a Desktop?

Laptop and desktop computers were considered as the master brainiest of the modern era. These two things paid platforms to their development as well as industry development. Though they work similarly, the physical components differ by size and other factors to comfort the user at their earnest boundary levels.The hard drives used in laptops can be categorized into three IDE, SATA, and solid-state drives (SSD and SSHD). Though these drives are generally found in this generation, the main difficulty is with the desktop motherboards. Only if the motherboard supports and provides an option to connect the hard drive then only it’s possible to connect it. There are chances that a laptop may damage severely and need to perform hard disk data recovery.

How to Connect Laptop Hard Drive to a Desktop?


Motherboards of an earlier time that use PS2 connector or add-on support to connect other hardware components are not suitable for laptop hard drives. They don’t have provision to accept the laptop hard drives and supports a maximum data transfer rate of only 100 Mbps. The motherboard should have IDE and SATA compatibility in minimum to connect laptop hard drives. It is a complex process to connect SATA and SSD laptop hard drives in motherboards with IDE compatibility alone.

Techniques involved:

The laptop hard drives can be easily connected with the desktop motherboards using connectors. These connectors and adapters are nothing but the serial busses and synchronous devices to connect laptop hard drives to motherboards. The hard drives can be connected in two ways.

  1. Directly with the motherboard
  2. Through USB devices

It depends on the connectors and adapters used. Suppose if the motherboard doesn’t have USB support you can use IDE to IDE, SATA to IDE, and SSD to IDE type connectors to link. If the board supports USB then the connection is not a complex issue and no need to open the CPU cabinet and wiring stuff.


Before starting, shut down the PC and remove the power cords from the plug points as it may damage the ductile components.

  • Remove the hard drive from the laptop
  • Find the hard drive type from its label
  • Check for PC motherboard specifications
  • Purchase the connector or adapter which is needed
  • Plug the hard drive correctly with the adapter and motherboard of PC
  • Check for the connected hard drive in BIOS

Change the jumpers on the hard drive or change first boot device priority in order to mount the laptop hard drive as a non-bootable storage device.

(Jumper – a minute mechanical component in HDD that indicates the motherboard whether it is primary or secondary)

The speed of the data access and retrieval depends on the desktop motherboard and processor speed because the hard drive is just only a secondary storage device and the entire control is on the desktop PC. The main drawbacks of using USB over a direct connection with the motherboard are:

  • Drives booted through USB are not readily booted it requires a manual change of settings in the BIOS
  • The actual speed of the drive is not attained because of the slow and unsteady synchronization process

Types of connectors and adapters:

Nowadays they are available to bundle at low cost in PC hardware stores and e-commerce websites. Here the type is listed based on its functionality. They are IDE to IDE, IDE to SATA, IDE to USB, SATA to IDE, SATA to SATA, SATA to USB, SSD to IDE, and SSD to SATA.


  • At the time data recovery from the damaged laptop using data recovery software.
  • Even though the laptop is damaged at its max and can’t be replaced, the connection of HDD to the desktop PC will be efficient.
  • Additional disk storage space


  • The laptop may contain an operating system that is entirely different. There appears a master-slave problem on connecting directly with the motherboard
  • The desktop PC using USB ports in add-on cards does not provide good support to laptop HDD to USB
  • It is difficult to find connectors and adapters for laptop hard drive with eSATA and mSATA technologies
  • Master-slave confusion in booting two different hard drives with different operating systems


In all the connectors supporting IDE hard drive must be minimum IDE 2.5 and above. And if the motherboard supports only IDE then it has to be IDE 3.5 compatible otherwise the process will end in assaults.

If you are connecting the laptop HDD with desktop to recover data then use a powerful tool like Remo Recover to restore data. As some third party applications will be incompatible with connected drives. For example, the recovery software may be developed for only SATA type hard drives or the software doesn’t have the support to OS corrupted hard drive, etc.

How to Connect Laptop Hard Drive to a Desktop? was last modified: March 29th, 2021 by Molly Owen
6 comments on “How to Connect Laptop Hard Drive to a Desktop?
  1. sandler says:

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  2. Susan says:

    My personal preference is by far in favor of lap top computers. I do not really like tablets because they generally do not have the computing power of a good old fashion lap top computer. I will not sacrifice having less size / bulk if it means I have to lose computing power. Besides, I like the larger, wider screens of a bigger lap top computer.

  3. Robert says:

    I have connected other computer hard drives to the mother board of a computer that was working fine just so I could trouble shoot the problem with the operating system in the hard drive that I was connecting via SATA or standard IDE cable. I suppose this can be done to trouble shoot the components of a lap top as well. I think it is always good to have a working computer on hand for this very purpose.

  4. Greg says:

    This is great I didn’t know what the benefits of this would be until I read your post and now it makes perfect sense. Thank you for the work that you put into this because I am sure a lot of people out there were like me and just couldn’t see the point. Great work keep it up because I for one will definitely return for more of your blogs.

  5. Lloyd says:

    Why would you want to do something like this? I mean yes I have things on my lap top that are not on my desktop but that is because the desk top kept crashing and I didn’t want to lose the materials that I had. I guess some people would use this to sink up their calendars and things maybe but to me it seems like a risk I am not willing to take.

  6. Harold says:

    After reading this post I actually tried it and was able to transfer everything from my laptop to my desk top in a matter of minutes. I now feel like I have a secure back up to what was on my laptop and will most likely continue to do this ever so often so that I don’t lose anything important. Thank you for the work you put into this post.

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