How to Connect Laptop Hard Drive to a Desktop?

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In this article, you’ll find the steps to safely connect a laptop hard drive to a desktop. You’ll learn about the various adapters or connectors which can be used to connect a laptop hard drive to the desktop and you’ll also learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the process.

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Table of Contents:

  1. Can you use a laptop hard drive on a Desktop?
  2. Techniques Involved while Connecting Hard Drive to Desktop.
  3. Types of connectors and adapters.
  4. Advantages of connecting laptop hard drive to desktop
  5. Disadvantages of connecting laptop hard drive to desktop
  6. Can you use a laptop SSD on a desktop?

Laptop and desktop computers were considered 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.

How to Connect Laptop Hard Drive to a Desktop?

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.

Can you use a laptop hard drive on a Desktop?

Yes, you may easily use a laptop hard drive on a desktop.

All you have to do is connect the 2.5′′ laptop hard drive to the computer using the following cables:

  • Power cord for SATA
  • Data cable for SATA
  • Labeled 2.5-inch hard drive
  • Labeled 2.5" hard drive ports Power and data cables must be connected to the hard drive.

SATA Data cables connect one end to the SATA ports on the motherboard and the other end to the hard drive. Because both ends of the SATA Data cable are identical, you don't need to worry about orientation. SATA Data cables are distinguished by their L-shaped key. SATA Data Cables are frequently included with motherboard packages. If you do not have a spare SATA cable, you can easily obtain one.

Obstacles when you connect a laptop hard drive to a desktop:

Motherboards of an earlier time that use PS2 connectors or add-on support to connect other hardware components are not suitable for laptop hard drives. They don’t have the provision to accept laptop hard drives and support a maximum data transfer rate of only 100 Mbps. The motherboard should have IDE and SATA compatibility at a 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 while Connecting Hard Drive to Desktop.

The laptop hard drives can be easily connected to the desktop motherboards using connectors. These connectors and adapters are nothing but serial buses 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 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.

Note: Before you head to try and connect the laptop hard drive to the desktop, make sure you take complete back of your SATA hard drive data using a reliable data recovery tool like Remo Recover

Figure: SATA cable

Steps to connect the hard drive to the desktop:

Before starting, shut down the PC and remove the power cords from the plug points, as they 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 the PC
  • Check for the connected hard drive in BIOS

Change the jumpers on the hard drive or change the 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.

Advantages of connecting laptop hard drive to desktop:

Connecting a laptop hard drive to a desktop computer can have several advantages. Here are a few:

  1. Increased Storage Capacity: By connecting a laptop hard drive to a desktop, you can expand the storage capacity of your desktop computer. Laptop hard drives are available in various capacities, allowing you to store more files and data.
  2. Cost Savings: Laptop hard drives are generally cheaper than desktop hard drives. By repurposing a laptop hard drive, you can save money compared to purchasing a new desktop hard drive to increase storage capacity.
  3. Data Transfer and Backup: If you have important files or data on your laptop hard drive, connecting it to a desktop can provide a convenient way to transfer or back up the data. This can be useful if you need to migrate data from an old laptop to a new desktop or if you want to create backups of your important files.
  4. Access to Files: By connecting a laptop hard drive to a desktop, you can access and retrieve files stored on the laptop hard drive without needing to turn on the laptop itself. This can be useful if you have files on your laptop hard drive that you need to retrieve or work with on your desktop computer.
  5. Vital in Data Recovery: Connecting a laptop hard drive to a desktop can also be helpful in recovering data from a corrupted laptop hard drive. By connecting the hard drive to a desktop with data recovery software, you may be able to retrieve data that would otherwise be lost.

It's important to note that when connecting a laptop hard drive to a desktop, you may need additional accessories or adapters depending on the compatibility of the connectors. Additionally, it's always recommended to handle data transfers and drive connections with caution to avoid any data loss from external hard drives.

Disadvantages of connecting laptop hard drive to desktop:

  • The laptop may contain an operating system that is entirely different. There appears to be a master-slave problem with 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 drives with eSATA and mSATA technologies
  • Master-slave confusion in booting two different hard drives with different operating systems

Can you use a laptop SSD on a desktop?

Yes, a laptop SSD can be used on a desktop and vice versa.

Whether your laptop has an NVMe SSD or a SATA SSD, both can be installed on a desktop if your desktop has the necessary slots.

SSDs are classified into two types:


A 2.5′′ SSD drive is the same size as a 2.5′′ Hard Disk Drive. It can be used on both a laptop and a desktop computer.

SATA SSDs use the SATA interface and are available in 2.5′′ and M.2 form factors.

NVMe SSD, on the other hand, outperforms due to its use of the PCIe interface. NVMe SSDs are only available in M.2 form factors and cannot be found in 2.5′′ form factors.


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

About the Author: Molly Owen

Molly is the Lead Technical Specialist with distinguished knowledge and understanding of Mac computers and operating systems. Being a veteran photographer and video recovery specialist, Molly’s expertise in video formats and file repair has helped restore a lot of videos and cherished memories of users. As a technical specialist, she also believes in learning and…

6 thoughts on “How to Connect Laptop Hard Drive to a Desktop?

  1. I am also writing to make you be aware of of the extraordinary experience our child gained reading through yuor web blog. She mastered a wide variety of issues, including what it’s like to have an excellent giving spirit to make many more smoothly know specified problematic things. You truly did more than visitors’ desires. Thanks for providing such priceless, trusted, informative and in addition fun tips about the topic to Tanya.

  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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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