How to Take a Hard Drive Out of a Computer

Updated February 21, 2017

The most likely scenario that will lead to the removal of your hard drive is data retrieval. If your motherboard goes, then you will want to take the hard drive from your tower and place it in an external hard drive holder so you can connect the hard drive into another computer and continue to use the data from the hard drive. Fortunately, most computers are designed so that all data on the hard drive is automatically saved. Also, hard drive units are now designed so that can easily be removed from most tower units of a modern computer.

Unplug the computer. As a safety precaution the hard drive removal should not be attempted while the computer is still plugged into the house current.

Pull the cover off the computer. This should be as simple as removing a few screws and sliding off the cover. If the process seems more involved that this, then consult your owner’s manual for the computer.

Locate the hard drive.The hard drive usually comes in the shape of a black-plastic rectangular box enclosed in a metal casing. It is linked to other components by a unique connecting device that is easily recognisable. This device is a long plastic ribbonlike cord that has a long interlocking and connecting device attached to it.

Remove the metal housing. This should be as simple as removing a few screws.

Disconnect the hard drive. All you have to do is pull the interlocking end of the lock ribbon cord until it coves free. This should not require an extraordinary amount of strength. It is similar to pulling an electrical cord from a wall socket.

Unscrew anything that is still holding the hard drive in place and then pull the hard drive unit out of the computer. Now you can externally hook the hard drive to another computer to double check the data base. For this you will need an external holder, which you can purchase for £16 to £32 at your local computer store. Or you can add the hard drive unit to the inside of another computer tower.


If you are adding more hard drive capacity to your computer, you might have to buy a hard drive unit with more storage capacity and then replace your old hard drive unit with the new piece of equipment. Sometimes there is room to add a second hard drive unit but in other cases there is not.


Older computers may have a hard drive unit that is not removable. In this case the best option is to take the whole tower to a computer repair specialist and have them transfer the data to a flash drive or similar device.

Make sure your computer is unplugged befor you begin.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • External hard drive holder
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About the Author

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.