How to Change Platters on a Hard Drive

Hard disks store data on reflective disks, called platters. Depending on the brand and model, a hard drive can contain multiple platters or just a single one. It is generally unadvisable to open a hard drive and change platters, but sometimes this is done for data recovery purposes by deploying platters from a faulty drive in a job one to recover data. Or someone might just be curious. The hard drive’s internal environment is extremely sensitive to dust and particles, so all work must be done very carefully in a clean room or a clean box. If deploying platters in a working unit, make sure that the working unit is the exact same model as the original unit. Things You’ll Need
T6 Torx Driver
T8 Torx Driver
Clean Room or
Powder-Free Latex Glove Box Platter Removal Tool
Show More Instructions

Place the hard drive in the clean case with its circuit down and seal the case. Wearing rubber gloves and working through the openings in the clean case, remove all screws from the top of the hard drive using a Torx T8 driver. Some screws can be hidden under the labels, so you may need to remove or perforate the label. When all screws are out, lift the cover and set it aside.

Move the arm so that it does not obstruct the circular discs at all. It may be necessary to disassemble the mechanism to do this. At the end of the arm, you will notice a plastic piece held by a single screw, remove this with a T6 driver. At the base of the arm is a metal plate, held by a strong magnet, carefully prying this up and out. You may also need to lift a rubber cap, which was under the board, so that the arm swings freely, away from the crossbars.

Remove the restriction ring from the top of the dish by loosening the screws using a T6 driver. Lift the restriction ring up and off the dish.

Lift the dish on the center post and move to the side. If there are multiple cymbals, carefully note the alignment of the cymbals to one another. The slightest misalignment can make the data unrecoverable. Lines printed on the edges of the dishes allow for the correct alignment to be ascertained. Better yet, when removing platters with important data, use a platter removal tool, which fits over the platters and locks them in place to make removal and replacement for proper alignment more feasible. If these are just throwing away dishes, then obviously the alignment is not important.

Slide the new crossmembers over the center beam, ensuring correct alignment is maintained. If these come from an old hard drive, remove them the same way as before, preferably with a platter removal tool. Lock them in by replacing the center restraint ring and screws.

Replace any removed mechanical parts such as the magnetic plate, rubber stopper and plastic tab on the end of the arm. They will come back together the same way they were removed, but in reverse.

Replace the car cover and lock all screws using the T8 driver. You are now done and ready to test the unit.

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