How to Remove a Hard Drive

By Kim Linton

According to Microsoft, installing a new hard drive drive is one of the most common ways to upgrade a computer. Before you can add a new drive, you need to remove the old one if you have no available space or if the drive is bad. Prior to removing the drive, back up any important data stored on it if it's functional. If you are selling or giving the hard drive to someone else, erase any data on the disk by formatting it.

Things You'll Need

  • ESD wrist strap
  • Screwdriver
  • Antistatic bag

Step 1

Remove any jewelry and static-conducting outerwear, such as wool sweaters. Put on an ESD wrist strap if you have one. If not, touch the unpainted metal casing on the rear of the computer case to eliminate any static charge; then unplug the computer from the electrical outlet.

Step 2

Unscrew the screws or thumbscrews, or unfasten the clips that hold the computer case closed. Check the user's manual if necessary to determine how to open your particular PC case.

Step 3

Locate the hard drive. Hard drives are often housed in removable metal cages that are secured to the computer case with one or more screws. They are connected to a power cable and a serial ATA cable. Refer to your user's manual to locate the hard drive if necessary.

Step 4

Grab the plastic or metal SATA cable connector with your thumb and forefinger, and gently pull. If the connector does not come free, look for a clip. Push the clip in and pull the cable. Pull the power cable out in the same manner. It may be difficult to remove if the connector is fitted tightly.

Step 5

Locate and unscrew the screws that are holding the drive to the drive cage. Pull the hard drive out of the drive cage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always store a functional hard drive in an antistatic bag when not in use. If possible, also enclose it in a layer of bubble wrap while in storage.
  • Be careful of the motherboard and other components when removing the drive.
  • Hard drives are very sensitive to cold, heat and jarring. Be careful not to hit, bump or drop the hard drive when removing it.