The form factor of an internal hard drive storage device is smaller for a laptop than for a desktop computer. Laptop hard drives are 1.8 in. (4.57 cm.) or 2.5 in. (6.35 cm.) in width, while desktop hard drives are 3.5 in. (8.9 cm.). Storage devices are CRUs, unless a warranty requires technical assistance.

An external USB hard drive connects to a laptop using the USB port. Another type of external drive is the IEEE 1394 external hard drive that connects to the FireWire port. A laptop automatically detects when an external hard drive is plugged in to a USB or FireWire port.

Before purchasing a new internal or external storage device, check the laptop documentation or the website of the manufacturer for compatibility requirements. Documentation often contains FAQs that may be helpful. It is also important to research known laptop component issues on the Internet.

On most laptops, the internal hard drive and the internal optical drive are connected behind a cover on the underside of the case. On some laptops, the keyboard must be removed to access these drives. Blu-ray, DVD, and CD drives might not be interchangeable in the laptop. Some laptops may not include optical drives.

To view the currently installed storage device, check the POST screen or BIOS. If installing a second hard drive or an optical drive, confirm that there are no error icons next to the device in the Device Manager.

Replacing a Hard Drive

To remove and replace a hard drive, follow these steps:

Step 1. Power off the laptop and disconnect the AC adapter.

Step 2. On the bottom of the laptop, remove the screw that holds the hard drive in place.

Step 3. Slide the assembly outward, as shown in Figure 1.

Step 4. Remove the hard drive faceplate from the hard drive.

Step 5. Attach the hard drive faceplate to the hard drive.

Step 6. Slide the hard drive into the hard drive bay.

Step 7. On the bottom of the laptop, install the screw that holds the hard drive in place.

Step 8. Connect the AC adapter to the laptop and power on the computer.

Replacing an Optical Drive

To remove and replace an optical drive, follow these steps:

Step 1. Power off the laptop and disconnect the AC adapter.

Step 2. Press the button to open the drive and remove any media in the drive. Close the tray.

Step 3. On the bottom of the laptop, remove the screw that holds the optical drive in place.

Step 4. Slide the latch to release the lever that secures the drive.

Step 5. Pull on the lever to expose the drive. Remove the drive, as shown in Figure 2.

Step 6. Insert the drive securely.

Step 7. Push the lever inward.

Step 8. Replace the screw that holds the hard drive in place.

Step 9. Connect the AC adapter to the laptop and power on the computer.