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Hard Drive Window

Page: 2/5
First off, you have to find yourself a hard drive. Since the only drives in my possession are my IBM 60gig, Western Digital SE 80gig, and the ones laying around in a few 486's collecting dust, I chose one from a 486. I don't have the unlimited funds to replace one if I kill it, and I was glad I chose that one, as you'll see later.

Here's the pc that donated the hard drive... State-of-the-art, isn't it?

The drive before being mutilated.

120 Gigs! err.... I mean 120 Megs! w00t!

Here you will see my Tupperware. You'll need something like this to put the drive in while you're cutting the window on the casing. Contrary to popular belief, hard drives are not hermetically sealed. A lot of people think that simply opening your hard drive will kill it. While that's not entirely true, it is true that dust or any other contaminants could harm your hard drive, and possibly make it completely unusable. Keeping your hard drive in a sealed container will help protect it from dust and accidental handling. Just make sure you put it somewhere safe, not on your coffee table where a child could knock it over.

[Editor's Note: It is extremely likely that opening a hard drive will render it completely useless. The distance between the read/write head and the platter it accesses is smaller than a piece of dust, smaller than a human hair, and smaller than a particle of smoke. If any contaminants come into contact with your drive, they can cause permanent data loss. Also, no hard drive manufacturer will honor a warranty for a drive that has been opened. is not responsible for anything that happens if you attempt this mod.]

It's Tupperware - available at your local department store for a fairly moderate price.

Warranty? What Warranty?

First you're going to want to locate all the screws that you'll need to remove to get your HDD open. My Maxtor has 6. I circled them for you in this picture.

The hard drive I'm using had regular Phillips head screws, but some other drives have had Allen or Torx head screws. Make sure you use the right tool to remove them. Fat and slim mean exactly the same thing when talking about your chances of finding screws lying around to replace them - so be careful!

Unscrew all the screws and open your HDD. Make sure to put the drive in your sealed container immediately. The less it is exposed, the better. If you kill your hard drive while trying this mod, chances are it will be before you put the hard drive in the container. Remember, Dust is the enemy!

[Editor's Note: Once again we remind you that any contaminants at all, whether visible or not, can cause permanent damage and data loss. is not responsible for what might happen if you attempt this mod on a hard drive you cannot afford to lose. Also, remember the golden rule of computing - Always have a good backup!]

The final part of the preparation is to decide what your window cut is going to look like. I chose to do a simple design. I just drew it with a pencil. You want to make sure you leave a lip big enough to attach the window to the casing. I also only drew it big enough to show off only the platter. I didn't want to see the other contents of the drive such as the arm holding the read/write heads, but that's just my opinion.

Next you need to find something to use for the window itself. I decided to use the plastic from a CD jewel case. You will want to find something as rigid and as thin as you can.

Next up... The Dirty Work! w00t!

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