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Swap hard drives in a laptop


Novice Member
A query:
Laptops regularly have a hard disk drive, can I alternate two disks without losing information and that they boot normally with different operating systems?


Established Member
not totally sure what you are asking but if you wanted to know if two disks can be mounted and used in you laptop then yes cant see that being a problem. the main drive with the OS will be referenced in the BCD ( boot configuration data file in Win 10 which replaced the old boot.ini file. The second drive will need to be partitioned and formatted with a volume label and once you've booted up you should be able to see and access it Similar to if you attached a usb disk caddy with a disk in. it would be assigned a volume label and you can see and access it.


Distinguished Member
Most laptops these days have solid state drives.

If you mean physically take them out and swap them it depends. If you have bitlocker encryption enabled then no it's not straight forward. If not it is easier. How accessible are the drives, some particularly compact ones have them soldered in.

What are you trying to do, having dual boot might be easier.


Distinguished Member
You can, although most laptops won't be designed for repeating assembly and dissassembly so if you're talking about taking it apart more than a couple of dozen times over the lifetime of the laptop I'd make sure there aren't any alternative solutions that would work.


Distinguished Member
If you are saying can I have a disk with, for example, Windows and other with Linux and swap them in and out then yes you can. Seems a bit of a palaver though if doing it regularly.

What are you trying to do exactly as there may be better ways of doing it.




Novice Member
Thanks for your answers, as I have to do a project, and I have to use linux, and for now I occupy windows, and also I have the hard disk almost full, I do not want to format it, so I had thought about the option of buying another disk, but I did not know if it was possible to exchange disks, obviously not regularly, and to boot normally with each operating system without making important changes.


Distinguished Member
The normal way would be to buy a new drive large enough for both.

You can then either use the Windows Subsystem for Linux, a general purpose VM or install Linux to it's own partition.

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