How to Replace Laptop Hard Drive

Personally, I don’t think very highly of netbooks. They run on 1GHz Intel Atom processors, and crash and hang often at the early sign of demanding use. Nevertheless, they are cheap and affordable for students to own. Or for poor parents to offer their children an ounce of IT education.

A high school student recently handed me a netbook for repair, and due to their small size, they could be quite easily abused from rough use and tossing around, which definitely doesn’t spell good for the mechanical hard disk drives (HDD) of yesteryears.

Yes, solid state drives (SSD) are fast replacing the conventional hard drives but they are expensive and likely not in the affordable range of people who use netbooks. So what happens when a netbook’s hard disk is damaged from being tossed around, and beckoning for a replacement? Well, simple: You replace it with a new one!

Get It on eBay

how to replace laptop hard drive

Hard disks have gone down in price tremendously in recent years, and at time of writing, a 1TB HDD costs just less than RM300 (USD100). That’s really a lot of bytes for the money.

Even if your HDD is not damaged, you may want to consider upgrading to a higher capacity, to go with your ever-growing collection of MP3’s and AAC’s and downloaded videos.


Replacing the Hard Disk in the Samsung N148 Netbook

So let’s examine this high school student’s netbook, which is a Samsung N148 Plus:

how to replace laptop hard drive
1. Before starting any work, unplug and remove all cables and USB devices, including the mouse and power cord. Release the catch and remove the battery as well.
how to replace laptop hard drive
2. Proceed to remove all screws holding the bottom cover of the netbook casing. Make sure to keep these tiny screws safe and not to lose any.
how to replace laptop hard drive
3. Once all the screws have been removed, open and remove the bottom casing cover to reveal the internal hardware components. You may need to pry a little to remove this cover, and if so, do it gently. The plastic cover can be quite fragile.
how to replace laptop hard drive
4. Study the layout of the components a little. The RAM chip is the longer rectangular green PCB at the lower right. The HDD which we will be replacing is the larger rectangular block with an almost equally large green PCB on it. Regardless of the brand of laptop or netbook you’re working on, this 2.5-inch HDD will always look the same.
how to replace laptop hard drive
5. If necessary, move aside some cables to gain access to the screws holding down the HDD in place.
how to replace laptop hard drive
6. There should be a total of 4 of such screws. Unscrew them and keep them somewhere safe. It is easy to lose them. It has happened to me more than once.
7. Remove the SATA cable connection from the existing HDD, remove this HDD and replace it with the new HDD. Connect the SATA cable to the new HDD before inserting the HDD into its place.
how to replace laptop hard drive
8. Replace all the 4 screws that hold the HDD in place. Do not overtighten these screws. There is no need to.
how to replace laptop hard drive
9. Replace the bottom cover and all screws that secure it to the netbook casing. Again, do not overtighten as you may damage the screw threads. A firm tightening of the screws will do. After this, you will need to install a copy of Microsoft Windows or an operating system of your choice before you can use the netbook. A tutorial on this is available online.
how to replace laptop hard drive
10. If you are just upgrading the capacity and the old HDD is not damaged, you could install it into a portable HDD casing or enclosure and use that as a portable external hard disk. See below.
how to replace laptop hard drive
The old hard disk can be installed in an enclosure such as the one above and used as a portable external hard disk. The one shown above is the OWC On-The-Go Pro, which features a transparent casing and USB 3.0 port. To buy this particular enclosure, click here. See below for other options.





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