Ditch Your Laptop’s DVD Drive and Replace it With a Hard Drive

Want more storage in your laptop? Ditch the optical DVD drive and re-purpose its bay for an additional spinning hard drive for extra storage space.

Looking for a groovy way to add a second internal storage disk to your laptop? If it has a DVD drive that you could go without, the solution is easy. The peripheral needed is called a “HDD caddy,” and they run for $7 to $10 on Amazon.

A few weeks ago I upgraded my laptop’s hard disk to a Solid State Drive (SSD). The performance improvements have been amazing, to say the least. But, I was left over with a perfectly good HDD that was just sitting in my desk drawer going to waste. Then I realized that I never use my laptop’s DVD drive. Surely, all of that excess space wasted by the dormant DVD drive could be utilized.

What you need:

  • A small-tipped screwdriver
  • A HDD optical bay adapter caddy
  • An extra HDD

second hdd

The first thing to do is put the HDD into the caddy. This is simple enough and just involves adjusting the mounting screws.

hdd in a laptop caddy

Now onto the laptop. Before working on any of the laptop’s internal components make sure it’s unplugged from the power supply, and it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery too.

detach battery

Most laptop models have one or two screws that are accessible from the exterior of the case. On this particular model they are marked by three small dots.

two screws to unmount

Once these screws are removed, the entire DVD drive should just slide out when pulled. It shouldn’t be difficult, if you encounter resistance pulling out the drive it is likely that there is another screw holding the drive in.

optical drive removed

At the edge of the disc drive should be a removable bezel that matches the laptop case. In a typical design it has a small hook on either end of the panel that keep it form detaching.

unhook panel

Once you unhook the bezel,you can remove it.

detach panel

Depending on the design of the laptop case, there may be an additional mounting bracket attached to the optical drive. In the case of the model I was working on it was difficult to notice, but there was such a mount on the underside.

mounting bracket

Now all that’s left to do is attach the mounting bracket and exterior panel to the HDD caddy. Then insert the caddy into the slot where the DVD drive used to be. Reinsert the screws that were holding the drive in, and it’s done.

install caddy

The hard drive will be tucked safely within the laptop and hopefully working. Just be sure to warn your friends before they try to watch a DVD!

caddy inserted, incognito

I can’t tell you the last time I watched a DVD on my laptop or even installed software from a disc. If the DVD drive on your computer is just wasting space, this is a great way to get more storage, and make that space useful again.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Henry Barnett

    December 3, 2012 at 5:29 am

    May I suggest that you always place a soft cloth on your table before placing the laptop on it. This will save it being scratched – (3rd image) and always use a small bowl to put screws and small pieces in to stop them getting lost – (8th image) BUT a great idea that I will certainly follow.

    Question: what is the thickness of the disk drive that can be loaded with the new tray. There are as I believe seveal thicknesses of small disk drives?

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