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Tech How-to: Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

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In my experience with rotating through a couple dozen LaCie Rugged external hard drives over the past decade, I've found them to be very reliable. Of course, all drives will eventually fail, but the ports often go out on these particular drives first. More than once, I've been able to salvage data by removing the hard drive from the housing and plugging it into a drive dock. Here's how to take the Neil Poulton designed aluminum case apart... Before you begin, be sure to unplug any cables connected to the hard drive and to discharge all potential static built up on you/your clothing by touching a grounded, metal object that is not the hard drive. It seems like basic stuff but is really important.

This set of instructions applies to any of the older LaCie Rugged series drives (USB 2.0/3.0/Firewire). Similar instructions apply to the newer generation of these rugged drives and can be found via the blog post link at the bottom of this page. The video version of that disassembly process can also be found down there.

LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive, designed by Neil Poulton - photo by KilmerMedia

Remove the rubber bumper.

Removing the rubber bumper on a Neil Poulton designed LaCie Rugged external hard drive - photo by KilmerMedia

With care, pry the overlapping aluminum tabs on the side of the drive up to about a 45 degree angle. These tabs are fragile – four of them broke off in this disassembly process – so only pry them up far enough to clear the underlying tab. Warning! Warning! Warning! Breaking the sticker will void your warranty (if you still have one).

Prying up the metal tabs of a LaCie rugged hard drive during disassembly - photo by KilmerMedia

Again, the tabs need not be pried as far apart as shown in the image below.

Metal tabs bent too far on the aluminum housing of a LaCie Rugged external hard drive during disassembly - photo by KilmerMedia

At this point, the top and bottom of the case will come right off.

LaCie Rugged external hard hard metal enclosure just after being opened - photo by KilmerMedia

The plastic around the hard drive and circuit board is very flexible, so pull the sides far enough apart and the drive will swing out.

LaCie Rugged hard drive and circuit board removal - photo by KilmerMedia

The small, black rubber bumpers that act as a shock mount for the hard drive may fall right off. If that happens, no big deal, as they slide right back on if you need to reassemble the drive in the case.

Neil Poulton design LaCie rugged hard drive being taken apart - photo by KilmerMedia

This particular hard drive uses an IDE connection...

LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive pins closeup - photo by KilmerMedia

...and the ribbon cable:

LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive ribbon connector - photo by KilmerMedia

Below, you can see the aluminum tabs broken off from prying them further than needed… The case should hold together as long as a couple sets of interlocking tabs are left. You can use some electrical tape under the bumper, as well, to make sure the case firmly holds together.

LaCie Rugged hard drive with broken case tabs after disassembly - photo by KilmerMedia

For potential data recovery, in 2023, you can still pick up an IDE to USB adapter from many of the usual tech retailers, like Newegg, Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, etc.


Video of disassembling a newer, but similar version of the rugged drive:


"Tech How-to: Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive"

Written by: Justin Kilmer

Photos and descriptions in this post were last updated in Sept. 2023.

All images and media on this site are © by Justin Kilmer, unless otherwise noted.

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Aug 09, 2023

This is the exactly the info I needed! Thank you!

Replying to

Great to hear it and glad to be of assistance!

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