Sony Vaio Z505 / Z600 Hard Drive Replacement

Here are photos of the process of opening my old Sony VAIO Z505JSK laptop and upgrading the hard drive. The pictures are linked to larger versions.

The pictures on this page should apply to most Sony VAIO Z505 laptop / notebook computers, as well as to the Z600 laptops since they’re the same (just renumbered for the European market). Even where the pictures don’t match, the procedure is the same – carefully disassemble, keeping things organized. If something won’t go, look around to figure out how it might be attached or fastened, don’t just try to force it.

Your laptop was designed to be opened and serviced by technicians without damage. That means there’s a way to get into it without breaking things.

You may not know the official correct steps, but if you think you have to break something then you’re doing something wrong or have missed something. Expect tricky clips and redundancy because of the need to balance between a sturdy laptop and an easily disassembled laptop.

It’s possible that some of my notes on this are slightly inaccurate – it’s been at least 5 years since I did this drive replacement. (Alan Miller, 5/12/2009)

I’ve received a few comments about folks who’ve had the hard drive light staying constantly on after they replace the drive, but I have no idea what would cause it.

Hard Drive Replacement Overview

The basic procedure for opening the Sony VAIO Z505 / Z600 series laptops is:

  • Remove several plastic clips and covers, some of which are hiding screws,
  • Remove quite a few screws, and maybe a few more,
  • Partially open the cover,
  • Disconnect and/or reroute some internal cables,
  • Disconnect and remove the drive,
  • Migrate data,
  • Install the new drive,
  • Reverse the steps to put everything back together.

Equipment Needed

To do all of this you’ll need a small flathead screwdriver (for gently prying up some clip connections), a small phillips-head screwdriver for removing the case screws and a regular phillips-head screwdriver to remove the rails from the hard drive. You might also want good tweezers or forceps to help with some of the cable connection/disconnection steps.

You’ll also need a replacement hard drive – probably a 9.5mm high one, but check the stats for your current drive if possible before ordering a new one. You should be able to find the stats for your current drive by Googling the model number (available in Windows by going to Device Manager, Disk Drives). Thinner drives should work, thicker drives probably won’t. Drives with higher power consumption may mean more heat and shorter battery life.

Moving Data

You’ll need to get data moved from the old drive to the new one on your own; there are several software packages available to do that including Symantec/Norton Ghost and several open source options.

CAUTION: If you do hook your laptop drive(s) up to another system, be very careful about drive settings! On an earlier laptop I mistakenly connected my laptop drive to an IDE chain that already had a “master” drive without setting the laptop drive to be a “slave.” This completely corrupted the partition information on both drives – I was only able to recover one of them, and that required going out and buying some specialized drive recovery software.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Removing the Fiddly Plastic Bits

Screen-to-body clips on a VAIO Z505/Z600The first step is to remove the battery, then pull up on the plastic clips that cover the PC side of the hinges. They should come partway up, then you may need to nudge them with the flat bladed screwdriver to pop them loose. The left and right clips are different, as shown in the following photos.
These clips need to be removed to allow the end caps / speaker covers to be removed.
Right screen-to-body clip on a VAIO Z505/Z600Left screen-to-body clip on a VAIO Z505/Z600Right Clip DetailLeft Clip DetailAdditional Left Clip Detail
Left Screen CapRemove the small plastic “caps” at the bottom corners of the screen. They should just slide off. The clearance for the speaker covers is tight enough that without removing these caps, the speaker covers won’t slide all the way off. Note that this may be specific to the Z505JS/JSK series – this is a tiny detail, and tiny details change between models and sometimes even between production runs of the same model.
Left Body Clip and Speaker CoverRemove the speaker covers by pulling them outward until they stop, then using the flat screwdriver to gently lift the retaining clips free (on the underside of the laptop) until you can completely slide the covers off. Note that just because I said up above that all laptops are designed so technicians can service them it doesn’t mean that they have to be easy to take apart.
Left Body Clip Underside ViewRight Body Clip and Speaker Cover

Removing Screws

Right Hidden ScrewLeft Hidden ScrewThe first screws to remove are the ones that were hidden under the speaker covers, since they’re right there on top. There’s one more top screw that will need to be removed, but it’s under the keyboard so it’s removed after all of the bottom screws are removed.
Keyboard ScrewsKeyboard Screw DetailAfter closing the cover, flip the laptop over and remove all of the screws on the underside. The screws marked with a dot are the ones that hold the keyboard in place; the others are just for the case. All of them need to be removed to get to the hard drive.
RAM and Hidden ScrewSystem RAM and the Last Case ScrewAfter removing all of the bottom screws, flip the laptop back upright and open the cover. Lift the keyboard out of the way to reveal the last case screw as well as the “accessible” RAM location (it’s possible to get to the RAM without all of the disassembly shown here – only the keyboard screws on the underside need to be removed). Remove the last case screw.

Disconnecting and Rerouting Cables

Slightly Opened CaseAt this point you can open the case enough to see the hard drive, but you’re still going to need to disconnect the cable for the touchpad and temporarily re-route (or disconnect) the cable for the keyboard so you can open the case far enough to disconnect the hard drive.
Touch Pad CableFirst you’ll need to disconnect the touchpad cable. This is easily done; the white area visible in the top of the picture is a retaining clip that can be slid out slightly to release the pressure on the cable. After that’s released, the cable can simply be pulled loose. Reconnecting it later is the reverse – fit the cable into the space and push that clip back in.
Touch Pad Cable Connectionz505-20-touchpadcableopenz505-21-touchpadcableloose
z505-23-keyboardreroutedz505-22-keyboardnormalNext you’ll need to reroute the keyboard cable around the metal shield under the keyboard by lifting one edge of the shield and maneuvering the cable around it. This is to allow the case to open far enough for access to the drive; it should not be left in the new configuration. You can probably just disconnect the keyboard completely instead, but I didn’t try that so I can’t offer any real advice on it.

Removing the JogDial

z505-24-drivereachableAt this point the drive is pretty much fully reachable.
z505-27-jogdialdismountedz505-26-jogdialscrewYou can get the JogDial (and its ribbon cable) out of the way by undoing the single screw in the center of its control board. Keep track of the screw and the plastic cover from the outside of the laptop.

Removing the Drive

z505-28-drivedisconnectedz505-25-drivescrewsAt this point the drive is fully reachable and can be unscrewed and removed by pushing it towards the side of the laptop.
To fully replace the drive, remove the rails from the old drive, attach them in the same positions to the new drive, and reinsert the drive. The rails are position-sensitive.
Obviously if you’re going to be hooking both the old and new drives up to another system to migrate data, now is the time to do it. Remember to watch your master/slave jumpers carefully – multiple master or slave drives on the same IDE cable can cause corruption of both drives.


Finally, put everything back together by reversing these steps. If you’re not sure exactly what goes where, consult the photographs. If your laptop differs significantly from the one shown here, I hope you used a digital camera to take your own photographs at each step – that should help a lot.
Removing an IDE jumper with tweezersIf you have problems with the computer not booting after all this, check to make sure you didn’t leave your new hard drive jumpered as a slave. If you did, you can still reach in with tweezers to pull that extra jumper off.[contact-form 2 “Was This Useful”]

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