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Old 21st October 2014, 01:36   #1
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Default Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

DIY for adding a second HDD to a laptop or replacing a P-ATA HDD in an old laptop with a new SATA HDD.
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Hello all - the successful culmination of an ambitious cost-cutting project today is what made me decide to write this minor DIY.

Background.

(1) Sometimes we may want to install a larger HDD in an existing laptop but do not want to go through the pain of a Windows / App reinstall and fine-tuning. An external HDD is good but can be annoying to carry around, plus it blocks a valuable USB port. So the objective is to install another internal HDD.

(2) Some of us may be using old laptops (2004-07 era). I have a 2005 IBM Thinkpad R52 -- at one time ubiquitous in offices as a moderately fast workhorse. These old laptops are built to accept Hard Disk Drives with the older P-ATA (Parallel ATA) interface. Since 2007-08 all laptops are sold with S-ATA (Serial ATA) interface HDDs. It is impossible to buy a PATA internal HDD today (except used ones). How then can an old laptop that us other wise perfect for business or word processing salvageable if its PATA HDD crashes for some reason. This page shows the differences between a PATA and a SATA laptop HDD.

Both the objectives above can be met with the method I am about to narrate provided the laptop has an internal "removable" CD-ROM/ DVD ROM drive. I was in the second boat when the PATA HDD of my Thinkpad failed in July so I will start from there. This walkthrough also applies to people with objective (1) except they need not obviously install an OS at Step IX below.

Process
Step I

Locate the CD-ROM/ DVD ROM drive on your laptop. Typically it will be on the right hand side, away from you. On my Thinkpad, the DVD ROM drive is marked in red. Make a note of the bottom of the laptop where the DVD drive would have it's footprint - that will usually contain the bits needed for removal of the drive.

In this photo of my Thinkpad, the DVD ROM drive location is marked in red and the existing HDD location is in yellow.

Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)-img_3664.jpg

Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)-img_3663.jpg

Step II

Slide out the CD ROM / DVD ROM drive. There is usually a slider or a spring that is provided to aid. In some laptops there may be 2-3 screws that need to be opened. On my Thinkpad there was one screw that I had to remove from the bottom. That done, there was a push-pull type mechanism on the floor just below the DVD drive - similar to the way SD cards are inserted in some older digicams. Slide out the entire DVD drive - there may be some initial resistance - that is because the connectors between the drive and the laptop may be a bit stiff.

This is how the drive looks after removal.

Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)-img_3665.jpg

Step III

Procure a 12.7mm SATA to PATA HDD 'caddy'. It's a plastic tray moulded in the exact same shape as the DVD drive and built to accommodate a 2.5 inch SATA HDD inside. Here is an example of one from amazon - it is on sale for Rs 1,099. I bought one from AliExpress for USD 11 (Rs 690). The amazon one has an external SATA connector whereas the one I bought has an external PATA connector (to mate with the older PATA connector inside the laptop)

Step IV

Procure a 'modern' SATA 2.5 inch HDD. A 500 GB one is available for Rs 2,500 on amazon. I cannibalized a 160GB one from a more recent laptop of ours which has been junked due to a screen problem that is too costly to fix.

Step V

Insert the rubber dampners on the screw holes of the HDD. This protects the HDD from mechanical shock inside the caddy.

In this photo you can see the 2.5 inch HDD with the four yellow rubber dampners inserted (circled in red).

Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)-img_3660.jpg

Step VI

Place the HDD inside the caddy and slide it into the SATA connector. It should be a smooth slide with no stiffness. Once in, gently place the plastic end clip so that the fit is smug. Here is what it looks like. The internal and external SATA / PATA interface locations are outlined in yellow.

Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)-img_3661.jpg

Step VII

Insert the caddy (containing the HDD) into the DVD bay of the laptop as if it was the DVD ROM drive. At the end of the insertion will be a bit of resistance to be overcome -- that's the connectors locking into place.

Here is the caddy being inserted.

Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)-img_3662.jpg

Step VIII

Screw the caddy into place / replace locking clips as appropriate (depending on the brand of the laptop)

Step IX

Switch on your laptop and you are good to go! Those who did this to get a second HDD will see the new HDD in 'My Computer' (Windows users).

Those who installed this to replace their existing PATA HDDs will (1) either physically remove the existing PATA HDD or (2) disable it from the BIOS. In these cases you should have a USB optical drive present to install your preferred OS onto your new drive. IF you cannibalise a HDD from another laptop (with OD installed) be mindful that the OS may not boot immediately (due to wrong driver software) and a system recovery / restore may be needed.

Note: Those who do this due to a crashed primary HDD need not physically remove that HDD from the laptop (nor is it desirable as it would weaken the supporting structure as well as leave an inviting gap for insects and lizards. If required you can disable the old HDD from the BIOS.

Overall pros:
-Cost effective: I saved myself Rs 20k on purchase of another laptop. Those looking for additional storage space can pay Rs (600 caddy + 2500 new 2.5 inch HDD) instead of 4000 external HDD

-Convenience: I have not had to compromise on the mobility of the laptop or sacrificed a USB port.

-Data recovery: After the OS is installed on the new HDD, you can access the old HDD (to the extent possible) and recover any data that is still intact. No need to call a technician for this.

Cons

- Little complicated process - but if a novice like me can do this, anyone can so not really a con.

- BIOS issues. On the internet there are some complaints of OS not booting properly off the second HDD.

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd October 2014 at 12:09. Reason: As per reported post
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Old 22nd October 2014, 14:59   #2
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Default Re: Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

Wonderful DIY, thanks for sharing Kumar. Moved it out to an independent thread
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Old 22nd October 2014, 15:24   #3
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Default Re: Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

Indeed a great DIY! Thanks for sharing!

Question: Is there way to do a similar thing for a laptop without CD-ROM slot?
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Old 22nd October 2014, 17:18   #4
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Default Re: Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

Quote:
Originally Posted by maheshramaling View Post
Question: Is there way to do a similar thing for a laptop without CD-ROM slot?
I presume you mean an old laptop (like my Thinkpad) which has a PATA interface for the existing HDD and no CD/DVD ROM drive (or maybe the optical drive is just to valuable to remove).

I did spend some time thinking about this (just in case my HDD caddy did not arrive from Aliexpress). In such a case a SATA HDD may be modified to work but at a significant cost (metaphorically). Here's how.

You'll want to first remove the existing PATA HDD. Those slide out in some laptops (like my Thinkpad) and in others (HP ones specially) you need to open a small panel at the bottom and take out the HDD (rather like a large Li-ion cell). In both cases removing the HDD will expose the 44-pin PATA male connectors on the laptop.

Next you need to procure a 44-pin PATA cable with one male and one female connector. Something like this .

The other bit of hardware needed is a PATA to SATA conversion board like this - a small PCB that mates with the 44-pin PATA male connector of the cable ^^^ and also has a SATA port with power for connecting to a SATA HDD.

The resultant setup will be like this

Laptop 44-pin male ---> Cable End A (44 pin female) -----> Cable End B (44 pin male) ---> Adapter (44 pin female) -- Adapter (SATA) <--SATA Cable -- SATA 2.5 inch HDD

This should work in theory (without much monetary cost) but the big drawback will be much loss of mobility as all this cabling/adapter setup means the new HDD cannot fit into the drive bay. It may be simpler to use an external USB HDD (assuming you can install an OS onto such a drive which is not that hard)

Last edited by Kumar R : 22nd October 2014 at 17:20.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 17:30   #5
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Default Re: Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kumar R View Post
I presume you mean an old laptop (like my Thinkpad) which has a PATA interface for the existing HDD and no CD/DVD ROM drive (or maybe the optical drive is just to valuable to remove).
Thanks! In my ThinkPad X60 there is no CD-ROM Slot! Hence - asked!
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Old 22nd October 2014, 17:45   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maheshramaling View Post
Thanks! In my ThinkPad X60 there is no CD-ROM Slot! Hence - asked!
Hi Mahesh, if you are really attached to your X60 (as I am to my Thinkpad) you could buy a Lenovo Ultrabase docking station for it -- it's still found online at USD 30 or less.

Once you have it you could install a SATA HDD into the Ultrabase with the help of a similar caddy as the one I used (except that is will be smaller in height - 9.5 mm v 12.7 mm). Total cost should be around USD 40 (30/Ultrabase + 10/Caddy) or Rs 2600/- excluding cost of second HDD (or Rs 5,200 including cost of new HDD) -- quite worth it as opposed to buying a new laptop.

Last edited by Kumar R : 22nd October 2014 at 17:47.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 18:06   #7
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Default Re: Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

Very useful thread. Thanks.

Anyone getting HDD caddy, please check your CD-ROM drive height. HDD caddy comes in 2 sizes - 9.5mm and 12.7mm.

Please buy that fits your laptop, else it will be a waste of money.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 19:02   #8
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Default Re: Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

I already have this setup on my laptop- I have a SSD+ HDD combo. To all members out there, please avoid putting HDD in caddy. Or if you have opted for a dual HDD setup, pack the caddy with some thin foam,or those yellow dampners which our friend Kumar_R has used, and tighten the screws well so that HDD doesn't vibrate even a bit. HDD's use mechanical moving parts which tend to create very minute vibrations. These vibrations tend to introduce bad setors on our hard disks over a period of time, or it will show immediately if your HDD is old. I learnt it the hard way, hence posting here for members' benefits. Currently, I have put SSD in caddy and have left hard disk in its place. Just interchanged the mSATA cables so that SSD benefits from 6.0Gbps Speed.

Regards
Shashi

Last edited by Leoshashi : 22nd October 2014 at 19:05.
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Old 23rd October 2014, 10:00   #9
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Default Re: Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

That is a nifty DIY! Thanks for sharing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kumar R View Post
In this photo you can see the 2.5 inch HDD with the four yellow rubber dampners inserted (circled in red).
Where did you procure the dampners? Can you please share?
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Old 23rd October 2014, 11:17   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitewing View Post
That is a nifty DIY! Thanks for sharing.

Where did you procure the dampners? Can you please share?
Those came packaged with the caddy (with two spare pieces as well). If you don't have those - not to worry, use foam or bubblewrap cut into very small pieces to ensure a smug fit for the HDD. Another trick I have used for something similar is chewed chewing gum set in a thin plastic foil - it can be deformed like putty and provides an excellent cushion, filling up all space. When you want to remove the HDD just lift the plastic to remove the (now-hardened) gum.

Last edited by Kumar R : 23rd October 2014 at 11:18.
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Old 23rd October 2014, 12:52   #11
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Default Re: Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

I had replaced the 750gb HDD on my Lenovo Z570 laptop with a Corsair 128GB SSD and was using the removed HDD on an external USB to sata casing. But this was pretty cumbersome and used to block two of my USB ports.

Never knew something like this existed. Just ordered the Sata-to-Sata version from the Amazon link. Hope it comes with the rubber dampeners.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd October 2014, 13:40   #12
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Default Re: Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

Curious - do all laptop manufacturers offer a caddy? We use half a dozen of them with thinkpad T series all the time. Not sure of the others.
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Old 23rd October 2014, 16:24   #13
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Default Re: Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

Got this done a couple of years back, but I put in an Samsung SSD 740 Series. I also installed the OS (Win 8) on the new SSD, thus making the system dual boot from either drive. I bought my caddy from hddcaddy.com (23 Euros). Well worth it. Also, for installation, I took the help of a professional (HiFlex Tech in Bangalore - near Yediur lake). My machine flies...takes about 8 seconds to boot!
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Old 23rd October 2014, 17:38   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Curious - do all laptop manufacturers offer a caddy? We use half a dozen of them with thinkpad T series all the time. Not sure of the others.
I believe no laptop maker sells caddies. Reasons I can only speculate but possibly such a cheap product might compete with their more lucrative docking stations (which amongst others have a USP of allowing more drives, etc.).
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Old 27th October 2014, 15:32   #15
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Default Re: Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)

Received the item today. It did not come with the rubber dampners but had four fastening screws to secure the HDD to the caddy.

Just installed the spare 500gb WD Drive (5400rpm) into this and it works flawlessly. Transfer speeds are also much much better than what we get with a USB drive! Installation was just a 5min job and super easy. No vibrations felt either.

Now i have Dual Hard Drives in my system!

- A Kingston SV300 120gb SSD for a superfast boot.
- A Western Digital 500gb HDD for extended storage.

Laptop DIY: Adding a 2nd Hard-drive (or replace with new SATA HDD)-snapshot.jpg

Thanks once again for sharing!



Quote:
Originally Posted by vikash49 View Post
I had replaced the 500gb HDD on my Lenovo Z570 laptop with a Kingston 120GB SSD and was using the removed HDD on an external USB to sata casing. But this was pretty cumbersome and used to block two of my USB ports.

Never knew something like this existed. Just ordered the Sata-to-Sata version from the Amazon link. Hope it comes with the rubber dampeners.

Thanks for sharing!
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