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Using a laptop 2.5 inch disk in a Desktop

Last response: in Storage
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September 6, 2011 8:06:04 PM

Hey there. I've recently found out my desktop's HDD was on it's deathbed, and I don't have money for a new HDD at the moment. I do have a spare laptop hard drive that I got with a Toshiba laptop last year. I've also read around on past threads about using 2.5 drives in desktops and the only issue seems to be voltage and power usage. I also read something about disconnecting the yellow wire, but I'm not inclined to do any hard wire tampering just yet.

Also, if this HDD from my laptop gets burnt out because of too much power (3.5" using 12v instead of 5v), I could be putting more money down than I already am. However, I'm not afraid to do so if necessary. I believe it will work.

Now, I have no idea of how to figure out what hard drive I have, as it looks to be a Toshiba hard drive that they manufactured. When I unplug it, it slides out and has the exact same SATA slots as my desktop's 3.5" HDD.

I just want to make sure that I'm not erasing my whole 2.5" HDD drive for nothing, or worse destroying my drive for no reason.

Would someone be able to help me figure out if the drives are actually compatible, and show me so that I'll be able to do so on my own in the future? I like to learn. :) 

Thanks again for your help. I can provide any necessary information about the drives and computers.

What I know so far:

The differences between drives seems to be the controllers in the Device manager. My 3.5 used a default Intel Storage Matrix, while my 2.5 uses IDE ATA/ATAPI, but under that it says "Channel 0-2" and then "Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller" which obviously means it's SATA.

I believe that the drive is compatible, I just want to learn what to look for, I want some help to make sure it's correct, and I'd like to know if the power cord for the 3.5 is safe to use on the 2.5, considering they both fit and are the same Female and Male connectors.
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
September 6, 2011 8:41:03 PM

have done it loads of times to recover data from peoples sata laptop drives--just plugged in the sata connectors from my 3.5 drive--never had any problems--most ssd drives are 2.5 form factor but most of them are installed in desktops
a b D Laptop
a c 277 G Storage
September 6, 2011 8:41:33 PM

Power and data cables for 2.5" and 3.5" SATA drives with standard connectors are entirely compatible. Note that there is a slimline connector for notebook optical drives, and a micro for 1.8" hard drives, but this should not affect you.

While IDE power connectors don't provide the 3.3 volt supply that the SATA specification uses, you won't blow out your drive. If it needs 3.3 volts, and you are not using a true SATA power cable, there will be no power on those pins and the drive simply won't work.

They should be compatible.

As to what the Device manager shows, this may depend on what motherboard you have and what SATA connector you plugged it into. Many motherboards have ports controlled by the chipsets and more ports controlled by a third-party chip, often from Marvell. If you can use the drive, don't worry about the difference.

On the other hand, it is likely that the 2.5" HDD is slower than the 3.5" HDD was, so your machine may feel less responsive. Also, the 2.5" drive must be securely attached to your case; if you put it loose in an empty 3.5" bay (as some people have done) you are subject to wires coming loose and, if you move the machine, to drive damage.
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