How to Replace HP Laptop Hard Drive without Losing Data

What are the requirements of HP laptop hard drive replacement? In addition to new drive and screwdriver, you may need a tool to migrate the important data as well.


By Delia / Updated on August 1, 2023

Share this: instagram reddit

Benefits of HP laptop hard drive replacement

Though there are many approaches to improve the performance of HP laptops, if you’ve used the PC for a long time, the best way to speed it up and fix disk errors is upgrading the hard drive.

You may want to replace laptop hard drive with a larger HDD for better capacity, or replace laptop HDD with SSD for faster startup and operation. But for a hard drive you’ve been using for so long, there must be a lot of data you don’t want to lose. Besides, installing OS on the new drive from scratch is also a headache.

So before replacing hardware mechanically, there’s one more thing to consider - how to replace HP laptop hard drive without losing data?

In this article, I’ll share my solution.

Hp Laptop

Preparations to upgrade hard drive on HP laptop

Here's a list of what you need to replace the hard drive in an HP computer:

  • New drive: pick the new drive carefully and make sure it will fit in your laptop.

  • SATA to USB cable: for a laptop with only one drive bay, you should connect the new drive to USB port via a SATA to USB cable or SSD enclosure.

  • Screwdriver: to replace hard drive on HP laptop mechanically, you need a screwdriver that fits the screws.

  • Cloning tool: migrating data from the old hard drive to the new SSD or HDD requires reliable disk clone software, unless you have the patience to install Windows OS and programs from scratch. To save your precious time and effort, the transmission speed and the availability of cloned data should be also took into consideration.

Here I will use AOMEI Backupper Professional not just because above factors, but also for its simple operation and complete backup & clone features.

▪ It includes three clone options to meet different migration needs: System Clone, Partition Clone and Disk Clone.
▪ It runs in an intelligent-sector manner by default, which copies only used sectors, and therefore empowers you to clone larger HDD to smaller SSD.
▪ If the target drive is larger, you can perform sector-by-sector clone to copy all the sectors (including unused or logically bad sectors), or edit partition sizes to make the full use of disk capacity.
▪ It offers SSD alignment feature to accelerate the target drive if you are replacing haptop HDD with SSD.

Download the software and follow the guide below to start hard drive replacement.

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

*Clone features in free trial can only be demonstrated. Please upgrade for full functionality.

How to replace HP laptop hard drive without losing data

Replacing the hard drive in an HP laptop or desktop is a relatively straightforward process, but it's essential to follow proper procedures to avoid any potential issues. Here's the step by step guide for replacing HP laptop hard drive and migrating your operating system and data.

Step 1. Clean up your disk

After long-term use, there must be a lot of insignificant data stored on your hard drive. Now it’s time to delete files and apps that you no longer use.

But be sure not to touch those unfamiliar files especially in system partition. Accidental deleting may lead to serious consequences.

To delete temporary files and free up space securely, you can also perform a Disk Cleanup with a built-in tool.

Step 2. Connect your new drive

For laptop with only one drive bay, you can use SATA to USB adapter to connect the new drive as an external drive.

For laptop luckily contains two drive bays, you can directy install the new hard drive alongside the old hard drive.

Connect Hard Drive

Step 3. Clone hard drive to the new drive

The Disk Clone feature in AOMEI Backupper enables you to clone all the partitions containing OS on your current disk with a simple process. If your HP laptop has a factory recovery partition, it will also be included (with sector-by-sector clone option ticked).

📢Note: After cloning, the destination hard drive will be overwritten. If you’ve stored some files on it, please use AOMEI Backupper to backup the hard drive at first. 

How to clone laptop hard drive to new SSD or HDD:

1. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper Professional, navigate to Clone tab and choose Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

◑ If you only want to transfer Windows to another drive, choose System Clone. It will automatically select the operating system drive and boot-related drives, so you don't need to worry about missing important system files.
◑ AOMEI Backupper supports cloning data disks and system disks of all brands and partition styles, such as cloning MBR to MBR/MBR to GPT or GPT to GPT/GPT to MBR directly. But you still need to ensure the partition style of the target disk is compatible with your boot mode (MBR for legacy BIOS and GPT for UEFI).

2. Select your current hard drive as the source directory, click Next.

Select Disk

3. Select the new drive as the cloning destination, with the intelligent cloning technology, you can even clone larger drive to smaller SSD. Then click Next.

Select Destination Disk

4. Confirm your operations and Start Clone. Optionally, you can edit the partition size, check SSD Alignment for better speed in destination SSD, or choose Sector by Sector Clone to clone all sectors no matter used or not.

Start Clone

5. Wait for the cloning to end, click Finish to exit.

If your laptop has 2 drive bays, and you want to keep the old hard drive as the secondary storage device, you just need to restart the computer, press the required key to enter BIOS and set the new hard drive as the first boot option. After making sure the HP laptop can boot from the new hard drive, you can also use Disk Wipe feature of AOMEI Backupper to erase the old hard drive.
If your laptop has only 1 drive bay, please keep reading and follow Step 4, Step 5 to replace the hard drive.

More useful features:

 Edit Partitions allows you to resize partitions and convert disk type. It's especially helpful when you want to clone smaller drive to larger drive. BTW you cannot use it and Sector By Sector Clone at the same time.

  • Copy without resizing partitions: It will not resize the partition size.
  • Add unused space to all partitions: Reallocate unused space to each partition of the target disk appropriately.
  • Manually adjust partition size: Extend unallocated space to any partition on the target disk you want. 
  • Convert the destination disk...: Convert the partition style of the target disk if you want to make it the same as the source disk. 

Copy Without Resizing

 Sector By Sector Clone enables you to copy all the sectors on the source hard drive, even the unused or logically bad sectors. You can tick it only when your target drive is larger.

Step 4. Remove your current hard drive

Before starting HP laptop hard drive replacement:

  • Power it off and wait for the components to cool down.
  • Pull out all cables on the laptop including the connected new drive, then detach the screws (preserve them for later use) to remove the battery and back panel.
  • Now lift the hard drive and remove it from the carrier carefully. Don't break any wiring inside.

Remove Hard Drive

The detailed approach to physically replace a hard drive vary between different laptop models. For example, here’s a graphic guide for HP PAVILION hard drive replacement

You can also refer to this video tutorial of replacing hard drive in HP All-in-One 22 and 24 Series:

If you're not sure how to do a particular step on your HP laptop, you can search for tutorial videos of a specific laptop model on Google or the HP channel on Youtube.  

Step 5. Install the new drive and boot the HP laptop from it

  • Put your new drive into the carrier and push it back to the drive bay, then reconnect it properly. It’s basically the reverse of how you detach the old hard drive.
  • Use the screwdriver to secure the drive with the screws you removed before. Reinstall the back panel and battery.
  • Then, restart your laptop and launch Windows with the new drive. You’ll find everything you need is already in place without data losing.

Now you’ve fulfilled the task to upgrade HP laptop hard drive successfully. You can use it as normal, but with a higher speed or larger capacity.


After making full preparations, you can perform HP laptop hard drive replacement on your own. If you want to preserve all the important data at the same time, an effective cloning software like AOMEI Backupper can help.

Other than disk migration, this tool also works as a daily backup and recovery software. You can use it to protect your data flexibly even after the replacement. For example, you can create a scheduled task to backup automatically, or create a bootable disc or USB in case the system fails to boot.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.