Can I Use a Laptop SATA Hard Drive in Desktop? – Learn Here

Last Updated on November 6, 2020

You may know that most modern laptops and desktop computers make use of the SATA interface for connecting the hard drives to the motherboard. While the interface is the same for both types of computers, a question arises here: can I use a laptop SATA hard drive in desktop?

Certainly, this can be done because both the 2.5-inch laptop hard drive and the 3.5-inch desktop drive make use of the SATA interface. You need to check for an empty SATA port on the motherboard and a SATA power cable from the power supply unit for connectivity. You can also mount the 2.5-inch hard drive within your computer’s casing, and it will function normally like the 3.5-inch drive.

As people often switch between laptop and desktop computers, a need may arise to connect your laptop hard drive to desktop.

Plus if you have a spare 2.5″ HDD lying around, you can easily place it in the desktop to reap the benefit of increased storage space.


Can I Use a Laptop SATA Hard Drive in Desktop?

Can I Use a Laptop SATA Hard Drive in Desktop
You can connect a laptop SATA hard drive to desktop using a SATA data and power cable.

There exist a common uncertainty and question in the minds of many people regarding the usage of a laptop SATA hard drive in a desktop.

The short answer to this question is yes. You can connect and use a laptop hard drive in a desktop.

As you see, hard drives come in two physical sizes that’s 2.5 inches and 3.5 inches. Commonly, 2.5-inch drives are used for laptops while 3.5-inch drives are used for desktops.

Most modern 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard drives make use of the SATA interface. A 2.5-inch SATA hard drive can be connected to a desktop as long as there’s a SATA port available on the motherboard along with the power cable protruding from the power supply unit.

Keep in mind that like the 3.5-inch SATA hard drive, a 2.5-inch SATA drive will function normally in the desktop as per the SATA standard.

Also Read:

Is it Safe to Use a Laptop SATA Hard Drive in Desktop?

As you see, laptop hard drives require 5V DC to operate and the power supply in a desktop provides 5V and 12V DC by default. Thus, it raises a question that it may be unsafe and risky to connect a laptop hard drive to a desktop.

Usually, it will not cause harm to the hard disk because the SATA data and power connectors are universal according to the standard.

While you connect the drive, it will work only at 5V and not use the provided 12V. Most laptop hard drives are designed in that way and there is not a risk that the hard drive will blow up as some people argue about it.

There’s also no need for an adapter to convert 12V to 5V that’s contrary to the perception that it’s necessary.

The Basic Procedure for Connection

2.5 inch to 3.5 inch adapter
To house the 2.5 inch inside a desktop chassis, you can use a 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch adapter.

The procedure to connect a 2.5-inch laptop hard disk to a desktop is straightforward and you can also do it by yourself. In the starting make sure your computer is turned off and not connected to the AC outlet.

  1. Remove the desktop’s casing and look for a SATA power cable protruding from the power supply unit.
  2. Connect the SATA power cable to the hard disk carefully so that it fits into its place.
  3. Look for an empty SATA port on the motherboard. Using a SATA data cable, connect the hard disk to the motherboard. One end connects to the hard disk and the other to the SATA port on the motherboard.
  4. Mount the hard drive within the casing. Most modern PC cases have a slot for an SSD which you can use to slot the hard drive in there. Otherwise, you may need to need to get a bracket to mount the hard drive.
  5. Close the casing and then turn on your computer. Then your hard disk will be detected.
  6. If you want to boot from the laptop hard disk you can change the boot order in BIOS.

Also Read: Best Thunderbolt External Hard Drives

Why Connect a Laptop Hard Drive to Desktop?

There can be several reasons for connecting a laptop hard drive to a desktop.

For instance, if you own both a desktop and laptop and the latter malfunctions, you can access the precious data in your laptop hard drive by connecting it to the desktop.

You can also use the laptop hard disk as a secondary hard drive in the desktop. This allows you to move data between your primary desktop hard disk and the secondary one for various purposes such as for backing up.

If you want to boot from the operating system (such as Windows 10) that’s installed in the laptop’s drive and not the desktop one, then it’s also possible. Keep in mind that you may have to install drivers and reactivate Windows for the proper functioning of the operating system.

We reiterate here that you can permanently use the 2.5-inch laptop SATA hard disk in a desktop just like you would use a 3.5 inch-desktop drive.

The Cons of Using a Laptop Hard Disk in Desktop

There may be few cons of connecting a laptop hard drive to the desktop which we will discuss here.

If your desktop’s motherboard supports SATA version 3 and your laptop’s drive is based on SATA version 2 or 1, then you won’t be able to take full advantage of the interface.

This is because your hard drive won’t achieve the full data transfer speed of SATA version 3 that’s 6Gb/s. It will work eventually but at a reduced data transfer rate (3Gb/s or 1.5Gb/s) depending on SATA version 2 or 1 of your drive.

On the other hand, most desktop hard drives available today run on 7200 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) while laptop ones run at 5400 RPM. Therefore, if you connect a 5400 RPM laptop drive to a desktop it will give reduced system performance in comparison to the desktop hard disk.

In such a situation, you may feel that your computer becomes slow while booting up and carrying out other tasks.


By now you must have a clear picture of the answer to the query: can I use a laptop SATA hard drive in desktop.

It may be very beneficial to know this while you use your laptops and desktop computers.

With this article, we also have tried to cover different aspects regarding laptop hard drive’s connectivity in desktops.

We reiterate that hard drives are fragile components and must be handled with care while connecting to the desktop.


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