How to Slave a Laptop Hard Drive

By Bonnie Conrad

Access your laptop drive from your desktop computer.
i hard drive interior image by Curtis Sorrentino from

If the motherboard or other major component fails on your laptop, the data you have stored on your hard drive will suddenly become unreadable. Fortunately, you can slave your laptop's hard drive by connecting it to the USB drive on your desktop computer, or even on another laptop. All you need to slave your laptop hard drive is a simple hard drive enclosure and a working computer. Slaving the laptop drive allows you to recover your files and copy them to the primary hard drive on your desktop computer, or to a back-up device or external hard drive.

Shut down your laptop and remove the power cord. Turn the laptop over and remove the screws that hold the hard drive in place. The hard drive is generally located on the bottom of the laptop, on the opposite side from the CD-ROM or DVD drive. The easiest way to locate it is to find the CD-ROM or DVD tray and trace a line to the opposite side of the laptop.

Grasp the hard drive by the front bezel and pull it out of the laptop. Attach the hard drive cable on the laptop drive enclosure to the connector on the hard drive.

Connect the USB cord from the laptop drive enclosure to a free USB port on a working desktop or laptop. Turn on the power button on your hard drive enclosure.

Log on to your working computer and right-click the "Start" button. Choose "Explore" and locate the drive letter assigned to the slaved hard drive. Depending on how many hard drives you have in your main computer, this could be the "D," "E" or "F" dive.

Click the plus sign next to the slaved hard drive letter and browse through the files and folders. Right-click any folders and files you want to back up, then choose "Copy." Navigate to the folder where you want to save the files, then right-click and choose "Paste."