Mixing Up The Parts: Can You Use A Laptop Hard Drive In A Desktop?

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Hard drives are our old friend when it comes to computers. They store all our essential and cherishing files for years, working tirelessly. The more storage a hard drive has, the more appealing it is. That’s why sometimes we might feel the need to upgrade our hard drives for more space.

You could make this upgrade by changing a drive entirely or adding an extra one. In this case, what if you have an extra hard drive lying around from your laptop that you don’t use? Can you use a laptop hard drive in a desktop for the upgrade?

To answer these questions, let’s first find out the differences between these two below:

A Laptop Hard Disk Vs. A PC Hard Disk

We all need a good amount of storage in our computers. This storage is inside a hard drive, and it’s the hard drives that store all our documents, pictures, and videos. However, why do you think people have a divided preference for choosing between a laptop or a desktop?

Whether you should use a laptop or desktop depends totally on how heavy your use will be on the computer. As laptops and desktops vary in terms of power, their hard disks have a significant difference. The HDD (Hard Disk Drive) of a computer has quite some differences compared to a laptop HDD.

Now, which hard drive will be ideal for you totally depends on your use. Each has its pros and cons. But first, let’s look at some of the differences between these two drives below:


The first and most prominent difference between these two items would be their speed. Since hard disks use rotating platters to read and inscribe data, their rate determines how fast they are doing it. When we move a file from our USB to the computer, our HDD is writing the data in reality. 

Moreover, the countdown on the screen indicates how long it will take for the HDD to fully copy everything from the USB to the computer.

Therefore, desktops have a running speed of 7200 revolutions per minute. On the other hand, laptops generally have a speed of 5400 revolutions per minute. This greater speed in desktops is supported by a cooling system that prevents the computer from overheating.


The most attractive feature of a hard drive is its storage capacity. We know: the larger the space of a computer, the more data we can store. If you’re using a computer for regular minimal use, any hard disk storage should suffice.

Laptop HDDs can store maximum data worth around 1 Terabyte usually. Whereas, in desktops, there are a greater number of platters. Hence, their storage range differs from 2.5 to 3 TB. These are the highest range of these drives, though. 

Desktops and laptops with a lower range drive are always available. If you need lower storage space (like 900 GB), it doesn’t matter whether you use a laptop HDD or a Desktop one. So, both should be good purchases!


It is necessary to know that desktop hard drives are generally heavier. They have a dimension of 3.5 inches and contain many internally stored platters. This makes the computer larger in size and weight. Hence, these HDDs will be hard to use on a portable computer. 

But for laptops, the hard disks are only 2.5″. They are much lighter in weight and thinner in density. As a result, laptops are so slick and thin. 

Therefore, these were the differences between a laptop and a desktop hard disk.

Can You Use A Laptop Hard Drive In A Desktop?

If we are building our computer or need extra storage space, it will be intriguing to use a laptop HDD on a desktop. It would save us so much cost and no need to buy a super expensive desktop hard drive. But is it possible to use a hard drive from a laptop in a computer, though? Will your computer function rightly?

Well, the answer is yes! You can absolutely use a laptop hard drive on a desktop if both the devices are SATA compatible (the rotary system). Now, what is a SATA drive? 

SATA drives are basically rotary drives with spinning platters introduced in 2003. A needle prescribes the required data on the platters, and your information is stored accordingly.

Currently, almost every computer and laptop brands use SATA drives as their default hard drive. So, you should be able to switch them. Moreover, although desktops use a 3.5″ drive, many are compatible to fit 2.5″ drives — that is, that of a laptop.

This is probably because modern desktop manufacturers like to keep their devices compatible with SSDs, which are also 2.5″. Therefore, you can always use a laptop’s hard drive on a desktop both internally and externally. A laptop drive generally takes about 1 to 1.5 minutes to load a file.

Interestingly, even though you can mount a laptop drive to a desktop internally, vice versa is not possible. That’s right. Desktop hard drives aren’t compatible with laptops at all. They are incompatible with fitting a 3.5″ drive in their system. Moreover, desktop drives are heavy, which makes them inconvenient to use with a laptop.

But you can always connect the drive to your drive externally using a USB cable if you want to move files. This is an easier and feasible option. 

Mount Or No Mount?

Whether you should internally install the drive to your desktop computer or not totally depends on what you’ll be using it for. Everyday use is transferring files from a laptop to the desktop or vice versa. In this case, plugging the laptop HDD into the desktop with a USB cable would suffice.

Transferring with USB doesn’t take a lot of time, and you will be saved from the trouble of mounting. It is better not to move much during this time as connecting the drive externally restricts mobility. Hence, use this way if your usage is only for moving a few files.

But what if you have a much heavier use? How do you permanently fit the drive to your desktop’s internal system? This depends on a few situations.

Situation 1

If your desktop is an older model that is not suitable for 2.5″ SATA drives, buy an internal HDD mounting bracket kit from the market. These adapters help mount 2.5″ hard drives to 3.5″ slots. They will help fit your drive to the desktop efficiently, and you’ll be good to go for smooth use.

Situation 2

Now, this one’s the most simple and easy condition to fit a 2.5″ drive to a 3.5″ place. If we elaborate, all SATA drives have the same power cables/points. Therefore, all you have to do is plug in the drive to the desktop if both your laptop and desktop used SATA drives. There’s no need for complex mounting!

Therefore, how to use a laptop hard drive on a desktop depends on the kind of devices you have and how you use it!

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using A Laptop HDD In A Desktop

In this world, everything comes with pros and cons. Likewise, the merits and demerits of using a laptop hard disk on a PC are:


  • Using an additional laptop HDD will give you extra storage space. If you use it as an external drive, then combining it with your original drive, your desktop will have massive storage.
  • Laptop hard drives have a smaller number of platters than desktop ones. Therefore, there will be a lot less friction and drag. As a result, fewer chances of overheating. In contrast, desktop hard disks were heavier and produced more inertia.
  • These hard drives are much lighter in weight than desktop ones. They are thin to use and carry.
  • Laptop HDDs are cheaper when compared to desktop drives of the same storage capacity. Therefore here, you can save a few bucks.


  • The most crucial disadvantage in using a laptop HDD on a desktop is the massive drop in speed. As we mentioned before, desktops have a 7200-rpm drive, whereas laptop drives rotate at 5400 rpm. Hence, changing your drives would cause your desktop to become slower.

It will read and write data more slowly, and the waiting time will increase. Make sure you have this con in mind.

  • Loading content is also faster on a desktop computer because of its drive. If you change it with that of a laptop, games, videos, and other files will take longer to load.

Final Words

Due to various reasons, we often find the need to use a laptop hard disk on a desktop. It is a cheaper option, and it can provide excellent service when you want some additional storage space. But it depends on our use to conclude if using the drive in this way would be beneficial for us personally or not. There are both pros and cons.

Therefore, can you use a laptop hard drive in a desktop? We hope this article helped you find the answers. We must judge explicitly when making crucial decisions about our gadgets. 

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