Take Apart An External Hard Drive

Taking apart an external hard drive is a reasonably easy task for anyone familiar with the most basic of hand tools. Whether you are replacing a dead hard drive or upgrading to a larger size, the same procedure will be used. The estimated time for this job is 15 minutes.


1. Unplug the cable that connects the external hard drive from your computer or network.

2. Unplug the power adapter from the external hard drive, if one is used.

3. Turn the external hard drive over and examine the base of the unit for screws.

(In some models, the screws will be covered up with a cap or a sticker that will need to be removed.)

4. Remove the Phillips head screws that hold the case together.

(Please note – most units will use four screws.)

5. Flip the external drive enclosure over (carefully) and remove the top cover.

6. Locate the hard drive retention screws and remove them.

(Most manufacturers use four screws that are located on the two long sides of the hard drive.)

7. Lift the hard drive out of the base (lifting the top of the hard drive that is away from the cable end) just enough so that you can remove the data cable and the power cable if a separate power cable is used. The original hard drive can now be safely removed.

8. Lift the replacement hard drive into place and lower the cable end of the drive first until it is close enough to the data cable so that the data cable can be plugged in. If the device uses a separate power cable, insert the power cable at this time.

9. Lower the drive into the drive frame and replace the retention screws.

10. Replace the top cover and carefully flip the enclosure over.

11. Replace the screws that hold the case together and any plugs that may have used to cover the screws.

12. Plug the external hard drive into your computer (or computer network) and test the device.