What are these plastic rails on my hard drive called?
December 7, 2009 11:43 AM   Subscribe

What are these rails which snap into the side of a hard drive and allow it to slide into a bay called? And also, where can I get some more?

My computer's case has absolutely no identifying information, and hell if I can remember who the manufacturer was 5 years after I bought the thing. I tried going into a computer store to get some more, but I couldn't even figure out what I was trying to buy, let alone if they'd have any of them!
posted by billybunny to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
They're called, appropriately enough, drive rails. And there are almost as many varieties of them as there are case designs.
posted by zsazsa at 11:47 AM on December 7, 2009

They are drive rails.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:48 AM on December 7, 2009

Best answer: Yeah, drive rails. And they're manufacturer-specific. Those look similar to Dell rails, or maybe Antec, but it's hard to tell exactly. Might need a more detailed photo to be sure.

They are generally vendor-specific; IBM, Dell, HP, etc. all have their own different versions, and then sometimes even have different types between various case styles and models.

It's going to be definite needle-in-haystack time trying to find rails for a generic case made by an unknown manufacturer 5 years ago ... a lot of generic cases are actually Antec, so I'd start your search there. Unfortunately, searching for "antec drive rails" just turns up a lot of people looking for the stupid things, and very few people actually selling them (and a lot of dead links).

If you are installing multiple hard drives, you might consider one of those expansion bays that let you put two or three 3.5" drives into two or more 5.25" bays; you can sometimes mount one of those multi-bay things with one set of rails and then use the bay's (included) rails to mount the drives. Thus letting you continue to use the case with fewer rail pairs than you really need.

Although it's too late for you, just as a general piece of advice for anyone else: when you buy a case, DO NOT WAIT to buy more drive rails. Buy them — as many as you need to fill all the case's internal and external bays — at the same time as the case. Even if you don't use them, they will help you resell the case. Cases tend to be long-lived components as it is, so it's rarely a bad investment. I've gotten burned by this same thing too many times to count; it's obnoxious, and once the case is out of production you have to pay truly extortionate prices for little accessory parts.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:59 AM on December 7, 2009

Response by poster: Well then, in an attempt to narrow down my haystack, here's the case. Like I said, it has no identifying marks on it. It was on display in pretty much every computer supply store I went into about 5ish years ago. It also came in yellow and red.

You'd think there'd be a standard for this sort of thing...
posted by billybunny at 12:39 PM on December 7, 2009

when you buy a case, DO NOT WAIT to buy more drive rails. Buy them — as many as you need to fill all the case's internal and external bays — at the same time as the case.

Can't stress enough how useful this advice is. Often I'll put all that stuff in a ziploc bag and securely tape it in an unused bay or to the bottom of the case— wherever it won't be in the way.

OP, if you can't find more rails, you may be able to fabricate some with hobby polystyrene. They may not lock in the way the factory ones do, but you could make them tight enough to friction fit.
posted by a halcyon day at 12:44 PM on December 7, 2009

Best answer: The PC silencing crowd likes to elastically suspend their hard drives, typically in 5¼" bays. If there are holes that would accommodate this (or you can make them) you could go without rails (and avoid transferring vibration to your case, along with concomitant noise.)

I did it with some elastic from a fabric store in the PC on which I'm typing now -- it was pretty easy.
posted by Zed at 12:58 PM on December 7, 2009

Wow, I always thought that drive rails were standardized. I guess it's just the placement and dimensions of the mounting holes?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 1:34 PM on December 7, 2009

wouldnt elastically suspending an hdd tend to make the drive wobble while spinning thus increasing chances of the head hitting the platter?
posted by majortom1981 at 3:28 PM on December 7, 2009

You make the elastic tight enough that it's not swaying in the breeze. I've never heard anyone report an increased failure rate in any of the dozens of threads on the subject at silentpcreview.com ( <- second-hand anecdotal data.)
posted by Zed at 3:59 PM on December 7, 2009

yup, zip ties and rubber bands in a 5 1/4" bay works a treat. Make sure it's not flapping in the breeze, and don't forget about it when you want to move it, but otherwise ok. You can also just use zip ties if it's a quiet drive. Or popsicle sticks. Or whatever.
posted by defcom1 at 6:17 PM on December 7, 2009

Response by poster: I wound up doing the elastic-from-the-fabric-store thing. It's working, but I'm guaranteed to forget about it the next time I have to move my PC around.

Thanks for the help!
posted by billybunny at 8:51 PM on December 7, 2009

« Older How can I converse in large groups?   |   Christmas pudding stock Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.