My question is, is there a way to remove an optical drive and replace it with an external drive (converted to an internal drive of course) on the fly? In an earlier question I asked about multi-booting with Linux on an external drive. However I've found the external drive a bit cumbersome, which is why I would like to replace my optical drive with the external drive. Because I still need my optical drive I think it would good to be able to swap it out.

I've heard of drive enclosures, yet I haven't found one which would fit this drive. The drive by my measurements is 4' and 7/8s inches long (without the connector tab used to make it connect via USB) with the case on it. Would this even fit my laptop if I made it in to an internal drive? I'm using an HP Envy Dv6.

  • Ok. Could you provide a link to something which would work for this?? I've been unable to find anything.
    – jayftw
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 21:49
  • Ah, ok! What I meant when I said I wanted to remove the drive and swap it for my optical drive, I didn't mean I wanted to be able to pull it out while the computer is running. Because I'm dual booting Linux on that external drive, and windows 8 on the original Laptop I just want to be able to remove it when needed and the laptop is powered down. Would that change things? Sorry for the confusion, I just wanted to clear things up! :D
    – jayftw
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 4:01

2 Answers 2


I want to clarify something, since this question has attracted some comments that I consider false.

Yes, this is possible on the HP Envy dv6 laptop (link goes to service manual in PDF format).

However, you have to use unofficial parts (like for example this HP Pavilion & Envy DV5 DV6 DV7 HDD Caddy from HDDcaddy.com)

You will need a 2.5" (laptop) Hard drive or SSD, which will fit the dimensions of the caddy.

So to conclude, this is not only possible, but also an extremely viable option if you do not need the built-in optical drive in the laptop. And although it requires some experience with PC parts, it's a fairly easy replacement for most PC hobbyists.


[edit] I wanted to add that when I asked the original question I was in a hurry to get an answer. I don't remember why exactly; only that I glossed over almost everything that was my research.

My answer merely adds additional information about the kind of dimensions the optical drive is on the HP Envy Dv6 laptop. In the manual on page 14 it says the laptop uses a 12.7mm (1/2 inch) thick optical drive. If you keep the bezel and another plastic component (I forgot the name, but once you pull it out its obvious what it is) which is connected to the original drive, you won't need to worry about an unsightly square-ish box protruding from the side of the device. It should snap right in to place over the top.

SATA devices are indeed hotswappable as evidence by this Yahoo! Answer: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=A86.J7zSqFtV_XoAMPAnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByNWU4cGh1BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--?qid=20091215180053AA2pO9k (I could not find my original research, it has been months since I posted this)

[original post] After doing some research I've found what Frank said patently false. The HP Envy DV6 has 12.7mm (1/2 inch) in height tool-less optical drive, and almost all optical drives can be replaced with a HDD/SSD caddy these days, with the exception of ultrabooks (too small).

If anyone else reads this then know that most laptops can have their components replaced these days. The optical drives are usually 9.55 mm or 12.7mm in height, and I've discovered they are really easy to pull out! I literally had to undo two screws and the thing slid right out!

As for the Operating System (OS) and motherboard requirements Frank was talking about; I don't know why anyone would say that. SATA (Serial ATA) , SATA 2, and SATA 3 are all standard on modern computers. In fact SATA drives are defined as hot-swappable disks, Windows will let you safely eject one and you can then pull it out (by default). It won't let you pull out the OS containing disk however (while powered on).

  • Good answer. But it would be even better if you provided a source for your research for others to follow!
    – Kristian
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 15:51

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