How to Dissasemble External Drive for Recovery

Easy way to dissasemble your external drive.

Difficulty: Level 2 (totally doable)

Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 external hard drive you need to recover
  • 1 PC - laptop or desktop
  • 1 USB-to-SATA adapter with power cable
  • A screwdriver


  1. Peel the disk – remove the outer rubber shell, if there is one.
  1. Unscrew the cover and remove it.
  1. Remove the protective padding, if any.
  1. Detach the USB-to-SATA controller by pulling it.
  1. Attach the USB-to-SATA adapter (~$10 on Newegg) to the SATA port of the disk.
  1. Connect the power cable to the adapter.
  1. Connect the USB adpater to a USB port of the PC.
  1. Plug the power adapter in.

Expert tips

  • Important: do not try to open the drive if you cannot afford failing to assemble it back exactly as it was. An external hard drive is not designed to be opened that is taking the disk apart is not that easy as it may seem. Additionally, you may damage the outer shell when opening the disk – scratch the shell or break the latches. Obviously, doing so you breach the warranty.
  • Different external drives are taken apart in a different way. If you have some problems opening your particular drive, search the net for the video instructions.
  • In data recovery, it is recommended to connect disks to a desktop PC, directly to the motherboard, using SATA cables. SATA provides faster and more stable connectivity. If this option is not for you, choose at least a USB 3.0 adapter.
  • When choosing USB-to-SATA adapters, stick to those having their own power cables. A typical hard drive when starting requires a bit more power than a standard USB connection can provide. With an SSD, you can ignore this advice and use any adapter.
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