How to Remove the Hard Drive From a Dell Computer

By Ezekiel James

Hard drives generally have a lifespan of one to five years, depending on how much they are used. It is still never good news to find that your hard drive has died. Fortunately, you can purchase a replacement hard drive for almost every Dell computer online (see Resources). Dell computers can run hard drives as small as a few gigabytes (GB), and as large as several hundred GB depending on the computer's make and model.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • ESD wrist strap

For Dell Laptops

Step 1

Power down your Dell laptop, and fold down the LCD screen. Disconnect the AC adapter from its socket on the laptop. Place the laptop face down and remove the battery from its compartment and set it aside.

Step 2

Locate the hard drive compartment on the bottom casing of your laptop. The location the hard drive varies from laptop to laptop. For more specific information as to your hard drive's location on your laptop, refer to your computer's service manual.

Step 3

Remove the two Phillips-head screws securing the hard drive inside its compartment. Grasp the face of the hard drive, and then slide it out of its compartment and set it aside.

Step 4

Slide the replacement drive into your Dell laptop's drive compartment until it is fully seated inside the drive compartment. You will hear a faint click when the connectors on the back of the hard drive connect with the motherboard's data and power connectors. Replace the hard drive's retaining screws.

Step 5

Place the battery back inside its compartment. Flip the laptop over. Re-connect the AC adapter and all peripheral devices to the laptop.

For Dell Desktops

Step 1

Shut down your desktop, disconnect the power cable from its socket and remove all external and peripheral devices from the computer. Rotate the computer so the back panel of the desktop is facing you.

Step 2

Lay the desktop on its left side, remove the two locking screws from the upper and lower right-hand corners, and then slide the side access panel away from the laptop. Some Dell side access panels are secured by a locking latch on the back panel of the desktop.

Step 3

Locate the hard drive inside your desktop on the front panel of the computer. Disconnect the power and data cables from the back of the hard drive. Remove the Phillips-head screws securing the hard drive inside the drive compartment on the front panel of the desktop.

Step 4

Place the new hard drive inside the hard-drive compartment. Align the screw holes on the hard drive with the screw holes on the drive compartment. Replace the retaining screws so the replacement drive is securely fastened to the drive compartment. Connect the power and data cables to the back of the new hard drive.

Step 5

Replace the side access panel, and replace any Phillips-head screws to hold the side access panel in place. Place the desktop vertically and reconnect the power cable and peripheral devices.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use an ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) strap to prevent against electrical damage to your computer caused by static electricity.