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Switch out internal drive from notebook

camtz asked
Hi, I would like to exchange the current internal drive on my notebook:
Inspiron 14R (N4110, Early 2011)
Service Tag: 2Z3Q3S1 | Express Service Code: 6476137633
So I went to Dell's website:


to try and find out what kind of drive I currently have and couldn't find out.  One of my concerns is that there are three listings under ATA and one of them says "Thin".

Is there a way to determine that by looking in Device Manager and/or somewhere else on my notebook?

Secondly, once I find a replacement, will it be a simple manner of disconnecting and re-connecting using the existing wires/cables? My hope would be to find a 1 TB, 7200 RPM replacement but the only thing I know at this point is that it has to be a 2.5 inch disk. (don't know if it has to be thin).  Thanks, Carlos
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Open it up and see what you have to work with.
Notebook disks are pretty standard, except for the thickness, which sound like it will be your limitation here.
Thickness is usually specified in milimeters (mm) so pay attention to this specification when you are shopping for disks.
I think 1TB may not be one of the thin disks, it depends, newer ones may fit.
If you are looking at the 1TB SSD, you can often take the cover off to make it a bit thinner.
William FulksIT Services Analyst

That is a Serial ATA-300 drive. From what I can tell it is not an ultra-thin model so you should be able to replace it with another SATA 3.0 GB 2.5" hard drive.

Be VERY careful shopping for a 7200rpm drive because they generate a lot more heat and your smaller size laptop may not be designed for that sort of thing. It could cause all kinds of problems.

Also, you'd need to find a way to clone your old drive onto the new one unless you have some restoration disks from Dell or a Windows disc. Have you considered that?
you can use this free tool that will give you  a lot of good information https://www.piriform.com/speccy 
This is a handy tool I use to if I need to know system information.
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Standard laptop 2.5" SATA go for at least the 7200rpm version (Dell ships the 14R with 7200 as an option so cooling not an issue).
Approximate Dimensions: 9.5mm (H) x 70mm (W) x 100mm (D)
You should drop a SSHD in, they've really come down in price.

i.e, http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Laptop-2-5-Inch-Internal-ST1000LM014/dp/B00B99JUBQ/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1425679813&sr=8-10&keywords=1tb+ssd

I second jjimen about Speccy, it's a great system info tool.

You can use a cloning tool like Paragon or Acronis to painlessly move your operating system from the one drive to the other.
System Information for Windows is a free tool that will give you details of your Hard Drive.
Once loaded: See Hardware > Storage Devices for details of your Hard Drive.
You can download from this link:
Your Inspiron 14R specifications show that it uses a Serial ATA-300 which = SATA II
All SATA II drives will fit.
You need to clone your drive to an external drive or to DVDs so that you can recover the OS and data to the new drive.


I checked out the SSHD that tailoreddigital mentioned and it sounds pretty impressive so I think I'll go with that.  Regarding the mechanics of "how to do it", I have made a Restore disc (using Windows tools in control panel) and I have made an image of my entire drive using Casper.  

Correct me if I'm wrong here.  -  Once I physically change them out, I plan to use the Restore disc in the tray which I suppose will boot up the computer.  Then I plan on connecting the external drive that has the image and restore (transfer back) all the information on to my new drive.  Is this correct?? Thanks
Yes, follow the Casper instructions and the old drives image will restore / transfer to the new drive.
Note, that the new drive must be the exact same size or bigger than the old drive.


I'm going to leave this post open for a few days just in case I have a problem.  I expect to have the new drive on Monday.  Thanks for all your help.  btw, the Speccy tool is fantastic.  It tells you everything about your computer.
Most Valuable Expert 2013

"It tells you everything about your computer." - Except the physical dimensions of the drive :D
RE: my comment "Note, that the new drive must be the exact same size or bigger than the old drive."
I mean data storage size.

One last point, make sure you order the correct thickness SSHD

I think you need 9.5mm but remove your present drive and measure the drive before ordering a new drive.

They come in 3 thicknesses:

9.5mm for all-in-one PCs and older laptops
7mm for thin and light laptops and high-performance gaming systems
5mm for tablets and ultrabooks

Quoted from:


WOW - Problema!!!
I just removed the only visible cover and I thought I would see a disk drive.  Instead, this is what I see.  It looks like I'll have to remove more stuff but the only other option I see, is to remove the entire back cover.  Should that be necessary?


Sorry, forgot the pic.2015-03-07-16.09.17.jpg
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Some disassembly required ...

You'll need to remove the systemboard

Fortunately all documented here:


Yea, I just found it.  Looks like I went about this backwards.  Should have checked this before buying the drive.  Looking at the instructions, looks like you practically have to take the entire computer apart to get to the drive.  I really don't feel competent enough to do all of this.  I'm going to read this over to see if I get the courage. Thanks


After careful consideration  - considering my abilities and time it would take to do this, - I've decided to list this on eBay and just get another notebook.  Thank you all for all the input.  I learned a couple of good hints from all of this.
You had posted the following link in your opening question:

Once this link is clicked it leads to:
Inspiron 14R (N4110) Service Manual PDF (6153 KB)
Inspiron 14R (N4110) Setup Guide PDF (2880 KB)

If you click the sub-link: Service Manual PDF :link, then you get:

(posted by MASQ2015-03-08 at 07:44:19ID: 40651422)

I believed that because you had posted the main link in your opening question, that you had also opened and understood the sub-link, specifically page 95~ " Removing the Hard-Drive Assembly"

Thus I believed that you had acknowledged the difficulty of replacing the drive and the necessity to check the drives dimensions before ordering a new drive.


Thanks again
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Honestly, stripping these down is easier than it looks even if this is the first time you've done it it's a about an hour tops. Just print out the guide and make sure you mark which screws come from where.
2) Accept one or more comments as the solution (including the Asker's)

No other experts have replied.

It seems that various answers conflict each other, but I think that my comment:

"Michael-Best2015-03-08 at 09:28:15ID: 40651502"

Consolidates all my comments and offers the best solution to the OP question.



Thank you