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Does removing hard drive remove all data?

How to Replace Your Laptop Hard Drive without Losing Data

Some people ask, «Will I lose my data if I replace my laptop’s hard drive?» The answer is Yes. All data in your laptop, including the Windows operating system, programs, files, etc., is stored on its internal hard drive. If you take out the hard drive and put in another one, all data will remain on the removed hard drive. It will not automatically or magically transfer to the new hard drive.

So, is there any way to replace a laptop’s hard drive without losing data? The answer is Yes. You need an efficient data transfer strategy, allowing you to transfer all data from the old hard drive to the new one. Now, this page will show you how to replace a laptop’s hard drive without losing data.

Why replace a laptop’s hard drive?

  • Your laptop comes with a small-capacity hard drive, and the space available is now getting less and less, so you want to replace the hard drive with a larger one.
  • Your laptop is equipped with an old-fashioned mechanical HDD and runs slowly, so you want to replace the HDD with a new SSD to improve your laptop’s performance.
  • Your laptop’s hard drive is faulty. (In this case, if the hard drive is unable to boot, see How to Backup Data without Booting into Windows 10.)

How to replace a laptop hard drive without losing data

  • Step 1: Connect the new hard drive to the laptop externally.
  • Step 2: Transfer data from the old hard drive to the new one.
  • Step 3: Replace your hard drive with the new one.

Step 1: Connect the new hard drive to the laptop externally.

1. Place the new hard drive in an external enclosure or connect it to a SATA-to-USB adapter, and then plug the enclosure or adapter into a USB port on your laptop.

connect hard drive to laptop

2. Go to This PC and see if the connected hard drive displays as a new volume. If yes, go straight to the next step. If it doesn’t show up, continue to do the following.

3. Open Disk Management. In general, a Initialize Disk dialog box will automatically open, and you only need to select the Disk 1 and click OK to initialize the new hard drive.

initialize the hard drive

4. Right click on the unallocated space behind the new hard drive and select New Simple Volume. Then follow the on-screen wizard to create a partition and assign a drive letter for the new hard drive. After you’re finished, you should see the new hard drive displayed as a new drive letter in This PC.

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create new volume

Step 2: Transfer data from the old hard drive to the new one.

To replace a laptop’s hard drive without losing any data, the most critical step is to copy/transfer all your important data to the new hard drive. Unless you already have an operating system on your new hard drive, or you plan to perform a clean Windows installation, you have to also transfer the Windows operating system from the old hard drive to the new hard drive, and most importantly, keep the new hard drive bootable. Manual copy-paste is not workable. The best way is to use disk cloning technology. Follow these procedures.

1. Download and install the disk cloning software iSumsoft Cloner on your laptop. After installation, start the software.

2. Select the Disk Clone option on the main interface.

3. Select Disk 0 (the laptop’s internal hard drive) as the source disk, and then select Disk 1 (the hard drive connected to the laptop externally via USB) as the destination disk.

select source and destination disks

4. Click on Start in the lower right corner of the interface to start cloning the laptop’s internal hard drive to the connected external hard drive. Then just wait for the cloning process to complete. This takes about 20 minutes, depending on the total capacity of the internal hard drive (source disk).

click Start

When the cloning is complete, you’re done. All data on the laptop’s internal hard drive, including the Windows operating system, all partitions, programs and data, has been successfully copied to the new hard drive.

Step 3: Replace your hard drive with the new one.

Now that you have copied all data to the new hard drive, you can safely replace your hard drive without worrying about losing data. To remove your old hard drive and install a new one, it’s best to refer to the laptop manual or related video tutorials. In general, the following steps are required.

1. Turn off your laptop and disconnect both the power cable and any other connected cables, including the new hard drive connected via the USB port.

2. Flip over the laptop and remove its battery.

remove battery

3. Unscrew the back panel to get physical access to the actual hard drive. Some laptops require you to pry off the front panel, remove the keyboard, and separate the base and front panel. This will vary by manufacturer.

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remove back cover

4. Take out the hard drive caddy or bracket, unscrew the existing hard drive and remove it. Put the new hard drive in the caddy or bracket and secure it with the screws. After that, put the caddy/bracket with the new hard drive back to the laptop in the same way as you took it off.

5. Cover the back panel up and secure it with screws.

6. Put the battery back in the laptop and then turn on the laptop

That’s it! Your laptop will automatically boot from the new hard drive. Your Windows operating system and all programs will run on the new hard drive normally without any problems, just like they did in the removed hard drive. All your data is intact without losing a single file. That’s how you replace a laptop’s hard drive without losing any data.

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How to Delete Hard Drive in Windows 10

The article mainly introduces how to delete a manually-added hard drive in This PC on Windows 10 computer.

Note: Deleting hard drive will erase all data on it, so do back up the data you want to keep before getting down to delete it.

Video guide on how to delete hard drive in Windows 10:

Steps to delete hard drive in Windows 10:

Step 2: Right-click a manually-added hard drive in the list and choose Delete Volume on the context menu.


1. The system drive (e.g. Disk C) cannot be deleted.
2. In this procedure, you can also right-tap the manually-created hard drive in the disk info thumbnails and select Delete Volume in the menu.

Step 3: Click Yes to confirm deleting this hard drive.

Related Articles:

  • How to Add A Hard Drive to This PC in Windows 10
  • How to Set Hard Drive Password in Windows 10
  • Remove Hard Drive Password If Remember It in Windows 10
  • Turn on/off System Protection for Hard Disk in Windows 10
  • How to Delete Power Plan in Windows 10
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Deleting your data from computers, laptops and other devices

Getting rid of your computer? Laptops, mobile phones and other devices may contain personal information that you wouldn’t want others to see, such as passwords and credit card information.

It’s important to properly delete any personal information before you sell or dispose of your hardware, so that it cannot be accessed by anybody else either by mistake or for malicious purposes.

Also, if you have a device that is faulty think about what personal data is stored on it before you dispose it. Remember that just because a device will not turn on does not necessarily mean that the data is not accessible by someone.

Personal data can be stored on any device with a permanent memory, including desktop and laptop computers, external hard drives, games consoles, mobile phones, tablets, faxes, printers, and removable memory such as that found in digital cameras. When deciding what to do, consider the type of media the data is stored on and whether or not this is easily accessible.

Options for secure deletion



Physical destruction

This involves physically destroying the media so that it can no longer be used.

Once destroyed, data on the media will not be recoverable except using specialist, expensive equipment.

You can destroy the media without specialist equipment.

If you can remove the media you can destroy it separately and leave the device intact.

This is a good method of destruction for removable media such as CDs and DVDs.

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You will have to replace the destroyed media with a new storage facility if you want to use the device again.

If you are not able to remove the media from the device you will have to destroy the device itself.

Removing the media may invalidate the warranty.

Fragment particles raise health, safety and environmental complaints. Consider specialist help for devices with hazardous elements eg mobile phones and batteries.

Secure deletion software

This involves using software to overwrite data one or more times.

Simple and cheap.

The media can be reused once the overwriting is complete.

Large drives may take some time to overwrite multiple times.

Ineffective on some media such as write-once CDs.

It may be difficult or impossible to remove the media from the device.

Restore to factory settings

Many devices offer a function to ‘Restore to factory settings’. This will return the device to the state in which you bought it.

Can be used on devices which do not have removable or otherwise accessible storage media.

This method relies on the device manufacturer to have implemented a secure wiping stage into the factory reset process.

You should check with the device manufacturer to determine if this is sufficiently secure.

Send to a specialist

There are many organisations which will securely delete data from a range of devices and types of media. These organisations will destroy or overwrite your data on your behalf.

A specialist organisation may be able to return, reuse or recycle your media or device after they have securely deleted your data.

You will need to check the organisation’s processes to be sure that your data will be securely deleted.

If you can, you should perform another secure deletion method or at least a ‘restore to factory settings’ before you send a device to a specialist organisation.


Formatting media recreates the data structures and file system.

A full format can be used in conjunction with overwriting to provide further assurance that data cannot be recovered.

Where will I find my data?

Desktop and laptop computers will have a hard drive inside where your data is stored. Above you’ll see some common types of hard drives found in PCs and laptops.

Don’t forget that you may have personal data stored on other memory types such as USB drives, CDs and DVDs and SD cards (eg in a camera or mobile phone).

What speeds up collagen loss?

My data is in the cloud. How do I delete this securely?

Securely deleting data from the cloud or other remote storage service cannot be achieved by you running overwriting software. You should contact your cloud provider to see what service they offer to securely delete the data.

Where do I get overwriting software from?

Software products which can perform the secure deletion of data are available from IT security firms. There are also other software products (often free) which you can download and use. However, when obtaining software from the internet you should make sure this comes from a reputable source and that you review evidence that the software has been tested against the claims that it makes.

I cannot decide between physical destruction and overwriting.

In choosing between physical destruction and overwriting, the main point to consider will be whether or not you want to use the media again. Physical destruction will completely destroy the media so it is only appropriate if you are sure that you do not want to use it again.

What is the difference between data deletion and data destruction?

Data deletion is when data is removed and is no longer available in plain sight and can’t easily be recovered. If you perform a ‘quick format’ of your hard drive or perform a factory reset of your device, you will be typically deleting data. It’s not enough to send an item to your recycle bin to delete it, you need to remove it from there too. Data recovery experts can restore this data but even with that said, data deletion is generally an adequate method of removing personal data from a device in most situations.

In contrast, data destruction is when data is removed from your device and can never be restored, even by professional data recovery experts. Examples of data destruction are physical destruction of the data storage, secure data removal software or sending the data to a specialist data destruction company. You might consider data destruction if you feel the data on the device is of such importance that you would not want to risk the data ever being recovered by someone else.

Can I get someone else to securely delete data from my equipment?

Yes. If you are not confident in performing the deletion yourself you can get assistance from a professional who has experience in this area.

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