Turning an old hard drive to an external drive

hard drive



Suppose that you have replaced an overstuffed 80GB hard drive with a half-terabyte data warehouse then what is that you are going to do with the old drive? Will you stick it on a shelf or throw it into the trash or leave it in the machine?

No. The best job is to change an old internal drive into a super-handy external drive, which can be made to work by spending a minimum amount of time and money.

An external hard drive can be useful for a number of purposes such as backing up data, moving huge files from one PC to another, rescuing files from a drive that cannot be booted and the most importantly, increases the available storage space. It can be used as a tank to hold your data when you are performing a hard drive wipe and OS reinstall. Below is how to convert an internal drive into an external drive.

Choose an enclosure :

There is a need for a new home, a tiny case which supplies power, for your hard drive and it also provides protection and a USB or FireWire interface. These enclosures range from $10 on as their minimum price and range up to around $100, even I don’t prefer to pay more than $20-30 for one hard drive. (Some of the models that are costlier can be connected to TVs directly for audio and video streaming, and even arise with wireless remotes).

hard drive

The main specification to be considered is the ‘Size‘. If your hard drive comes from a notebook, then there needs a 2.5 inch enclosure. And 3.5-inch enclosure for a desktop drive.

The next consideration is an interface option. Most of the enclosures are developed to work with IDE drives and they supply a FireWire or USB external interface which is connected to your PC. But some enclosures support latest SATA drives adding an eSATA interface – and many of the notebooks or PCs haven’t this kind of port. Therefore, in case you are moving an SATA drive, then be sure that the enclosure should include a USB interface so as to place it for connection. An IDE connector can measure about two inches wide and has pins in two rows whereas an SATA connector is much smaller and have only one row of pins.

As for where to buy an enclosure with LEDs or any other decorative components, You can find an excellent selection and low prices in Newegg.com, though that is by no means the only place to shop.

Install the drive :

hard drive

Once you have selected an enclosure, now you can install the drive. Nothing is difficult in installing this—you just need nothing more than a screwdriver, most probably. But the usual precautions to handle electronics apply: You must work in a static-free environment, handle the components with care, do not force or tighten the connections, and much more.

If you’re enclosing an IDE drive, make sure to set its master/slave/cable-select jumper according to the instructions provided with the enclosure. (SATA drives doesn’t require any special jumper settings.) Thereafter, simply mount the drive, connect the interface and power plugs, and close everything up.

Connect the drive :

An enclosure for a 3.5-inch drive will definitely be included with external power supply. Plug it in, power up the enclosure and hear the drive spin up. There is no need for any external adapter since notebook drive enclosures are powered by their USB or FireWire connections.

Plug in the enclosure into the USB, FireWire or eSATA port of your PC. The systems supported with Mac and Windows XP/Vista should automatically find the drive and load the necessary drivers. Windows 98 and Me systems will probably require a CD driver, which should come with the enclosure. Follow the instructions to install the drivers.

How to Get into work :

The enclosure must get its own drive letter same as any other new drive. This helps to copy files and folders to and from it like any hard drive does. Check if everything is perfectly working by copying some sample files.

When the drive is reading or writing any data, make sure that you do not unplug your drive (it means that the activity light is flashing). Unfortunately, if the drive is plugged out, it could cause damage to the drive or/and corrupt your data.

The users of Mac can eject the drive by simply dragging it to the trash or cmd – You just need to click and choose “Eject“, whereas the Window users have to click in the System tray, the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon. Then select the “Safely remove USB mass storage device” entry which relates to your external drive. Finally, a message notifying that it is safe to unplug will appear to you. Then you can unplug the drive from the device.

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