Can a Laptop Hard Drive Work in a Desktop: The Question Answered?

Can a laptop hard drive work in a desktop? Does this question confuse you whenever you look at your old laptop and want to utilize its hard drive on your PC?

Can A Laptop Hard Drive Work In A Desktop

Although you can’t get the time back, this article will save your time by answering your query along with talking about all the related aspects.

So, be seated in a quiet place, read this post, and see your confusion fly away.

Can a Laptop Hard Drive Work in a Desktop

Laptop hard drives can be used on a desktop. You’ll have to check the size of the hard drive and the controller type used on the motherboard of the PC to ensure that you don’t get trapped in compatibility issues.

Is Laptop Hard Drive Same as Desktop?

The hard drive of a laptop is not the same as the hard drive of a desktop. You’ll notice a lot of differences between the two except for their common functioning criteria. The differences are as listed below:

  • Power consumption
  • Noise and vibrations
  • Size and thickness
  • Revolutions per minute
  • Connectivity options
  • Quantity of platters

– Power Consumption

A desktop hard disk consumes 150 to 1000 watts of power, which is a higher power range than the power consumed by a laptop HDD. Here, the hard drives of laptops are designed to consume less power because the Li-ion batteries offer a maximum of 65 watts. So, designing such drives will help in increasing the battery life.

For instance: you have a high-quality 7200 RPM laptop drive and a top-notch 7200 RPM desktop drive. If you compare the power consumed by the two drives, then you’ll notice that the laptop drive will run smoothly at 7.5 watts, while the desktop drive will take up around 25 watts. Hence, the difference in power consumption is quite obvious.

– Noise and Vibrations

The desktop drives are placed in huge metal cabinets and produce a lot of kinetic energy. This results in noise and vibrations. On the other hand, the laptop drives are kept in compartments made up of polycarbonate or plastic and produce comparatively less kinetic energy than the desktop drives.

Noise And Vibrations

Consequently, the same drives vibrate less and are quiet.

– Size and Thickness

A desktop drive comes in the size of 3.5 inches, while a laptop drive measures 2.5 inches. As far as the drive thickness is concerned, a laptop drive will be thicker than a desktop drive with the same drive capacity.

– Revolutions Per Minute

Whether an external hard drive or an internal hard drive, the one belonging to a laptop offers a lower RPM than the desktop drive. It means that the former is slower than the latter in terms of speed.

If you want to look at the exact numbers, then it would be safe to say that laptop drives run at RPM of 5,400 to 7,200. However, desktop drives are found to offer a maximum of 15,000 RPM.

– Connectivity Options

The laptop and desktop drives have different types of connectivity options.

The laptop drives support ATA-6 and ZIF interfaces. However, the desktop drives support SAS and SATA-Express interfaces. Also, note that SATA-Express is supported in laptop SSDs.

– Quantity of Platters

The drives used in desktop PCs have more platters than laptop drives. Eventually, the higher quantity of platters in the former results in more storage capacity than in the latter.

The storage capacity of desktop drives ranges from 3 TB to 20 TB. Contrary to this, the laptop drives have only 1 TB of storage capacity.

– Laptop HDD vs Desktop HDD Performance

There won’t be any noticeable difference between the performance of the two drives when you run usual computer tasks that don’t demand a lot of memory. Nonetheless, if you run heavy software or engage in heavy games, then you’ll see the effects of low performance offered by the laptop drives.

Laptop HDD Vs Desktop HDD Performance

Here, the desktop drives offer outstanding performance.

How To Connect Laptop Hard Drive To Desktop via USB?

You can connect your laptop SATA hard disk to your desktop PC via USB in three different ways. All of the ways have been discussed below, one after the other, to paint a clear picture in front of you and help you in getting started.

  • Work with a removable case

This approach assists you in using a removable case that contains the hard drive along with the SATA and power plugs. All that you’ll need to do is to connect the said case with your PC via USB. The said approach proves to be easy and safe to implement as the drive won’t be damaged even if you accidentally drop the case.

Here, the only thing that you need to remember is that you’ll need to purchase a case for a 2.5-inch drive. The said size might not be easily available in physical computer stores. So, you can look for the same in online stores.

  • Opt for an adapter

First, you’ll have to check the size of the hard drive and the controller type used on the motherboard of the PC to ensure that you don’t get trapped in the compatibility issues. No worries if you don’t want to use the entire case to perform the said task. You can use a laptop hard drive adapter for desktop to connect your required drive to the USB port of your computer. The said adapter comes with both power and satellite connectors.

A helpful tip here would be to use an adapter with a protocol that matches the version of the USB port on your computer. It will help in increasing the performance of the hard drive.

  • Get a docking station

A docking system is another great device that’ll help you connect your laptop drive to your PC via USB.

How To Connect Laptop Hard Drive To Desktop Without Adapter?

Although you can overcome the hard drive size issue by using an adapter, the type of the controller needs to be the right fit if you want to connect your drive to the PC without any adapter. You can connect the drive of your laptop to your PC without using an adapter with little investment. As stated earlier, a laptop drive is smaller than a desktop drive. Thus, you can not keep it in the same compartment where a desktop drive is usually placed. Hence, you’ll need to buy a mounting bracket that can hold a 2.5-inch drive easily.

How To Connect Laptop Hard Drive To Desktop Without Adapte

Once you’ve bought the bracket, you’ll have to insert and secure the same at the position of the 3.5-inch disk drive. Lastly, you’ll need to attach the bracket to your laptop drive. Moving laptop hard drive to desktop is that simple and easy.

How To Install 2.5 HDD in Desktop?

You can install a 2.5 HDD or any HDD of your choice on your desktop by implementing the following steps, one at a time:

  • See where the drive cage and the drive are located.
  • Carefully secure the hard drive in the drive cage.
  • Get the hard drive connected.
  • Power on and go straight to the BIOS.
  • Visit the Device Manager.
  • Partition and format the hard drive.

– See Where the Drive Cage and the Drive Are Located

The drive cage is where a drive is placed. Although its location and orientation can be different depending on the type of the desktop case, you’ll find it mostly at the lower front, away from other components, and near the intake fans. Usually, you’ll notice that the drive cage is placed perpendicular to the case floor while the drive is placed parallel to the floor of the case.

Furthermore, the drive connectors point to the rear in mainstream cases, while you’ll see the same pointing towards the right side in enthusiast-class cases. You can even remove or place the drive cage in a new position to simplify cable management and increase the airflow in some enthusiast-class cases.

– Carefully Secure the Hard Drive in the Drive Cage

After looking into the positions of the drive and the drive cage, you’ll now need to place the drive in the drive cage that can hold a 2.5-inch drive. Don’t forget to secure it with the help of screws or a tool-less tray, depending on the case type. Also, you should ensure that there is enough space between the drives and they are placed near the intake fans to avoid excessive heat.

Note that there would be no harm in using the tool-less tray to secure the drive if you don’t plan to move your system often.

– Get the Hard Drive Connected

This step deals with connecting the drive to the motherboard and the Power Supply Unit (PSU). So, after securing your drive in the drive cage, you’ll need to connect it to the motherboard through a SATA cable.

As the SATA cables usually have L-shaped and straight connectors, it would be better to use the L-shaped connector to connect to the drive. Also, the connectors with metal retention clips are recommended to be used for the connectors’ safety.

As soon as you create a connection with the motherboard, you should connect the drive to the PSU through another SATA cable and proceed with the next step.

– Power On and Go Straight To the BIOS

Now, you’ll need to turn on your PC and press the Delete key to enter the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS). First, you’ll have to visit the standard System Settings menu or the Integrated Peripherals. Second, you should open the SATA menu to view the list of all of the installed drives and see if your newly installed drive is listed in the same.

Power On and Go Straight To the BIOS

Here, if you don’t see the new drive in the list, then you’ll need to turn off your PC. Next, you should ensure the correctness of all of the connections, boot into the BIOS, and go through the list again. If you still don’t see the drive, then you’ll need to plug the SATA cable into another port of the motherboard and repeat the current step.

Remember that if a message appears on your screen after pressing the Delete key, you can check for the correct key in your motherboard’s manual.

– Visit the Device Manager

This step can be carried out to confirm that your Operating System has successfully recognized your newly installed drive. So, if you are using Windows 10, then you’ll need to right-click on the Windows button on your desktop and open the Device Manager. Next, you should look for the given drive in the section labeled Disk Drives.

– Partition and Format the Hard Drive

The last step would be to split your new drive into multiple partitions labeled as per your preference. The same partitions can then be accessed through File Explorer.


1. What Are Some of the Top-notch Desktop Drives?

Some of the best desktop drives have been listed below:

  • Seagate Barracuda 3.5″ SATA III HDD
  • Seagate IronWolf NAS 3.5″ HDD
  • WD Blue PC Desktop HDD or WD Blue Desktop HDD
  • WD My Passport HDD
  • Samsung 870 EVO SATA 2.5″ SSD

2. Can You Use Your Laptop’s CPU and RAM on Your Desktop?

No, you can’t make your laptop’s RAM and CPU work with your desktop.

For RAM, a laptop uses SODIMM RAM, and your desktop won’t be able to work with the same. The only desktop computers that use SODIMM RAMs are usually All-in-One PCs and Desktop MACs. Still, you might face issues due to the contrasting formats and timings.

Can You Use Your Laptop s CPU and RAM on Your Desktop

As far as the CPU is concerned, the CPU of a laptop is different from that of a desktop PC. So, the chances of successfully fitting a laptop CPU to a desktop motherboard are few.


Putting it all together, a laptop’s drive can successfully work on a desktop. Although the two devices have drives with many differences, the connection is still possible and will work fine.

Here are some more important facts from the above post to conclude the topic:

  • A laptop drive can work on a desktop if it is properly placed and secured in a bracket that is made to hold a 2.5-inch drive.
  • You’ll need to consider the type of the controller card on the motherboard of the PC to ensure that the drive will connect to the PC without any compatibility issues.
  • The drive of a laptop will work fine on the desktop irrespective of the way you choose to connect the same.

So, whether you wish to use a removable case, an adapter, or want to fit the laptop drive internally on the desktop, nothing can stop you.

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  • Seagate Barracuda 3.5\" SATA III HDD
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  • Seagate IronWolf NAS 3.5\" HDD
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  • WD Blue PC Desktop HDD or WD Blue Desktop HDD
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  • WD My Passport HDD
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  • Samsung 870 EVO SATA 2.5\" SSD
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