|MICRO CENTER: COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS|
Give Your Old Hard Drive New Life
With hard drives so inexpensive and with more and more data to store on your computer (for me it's digital images), there's never been a better time to get a new, huge hard drive. But your existing hard drive is a terrible thing to waste, especially when it can be put to new use so easily. And what's the best way to transfer files from an old hard drive to the new, roomier one? Today we'll look at options for giving any internal hard drive a second life as an external drive.
The most obvious way to use an internal drive externally is to encase it in an external hard drive enclosure. These come in a variety of colors and styles. The most important things to look for in a drive enclosure are size and interface. The size of a desktop hard drive is 3.5" while notebook drives are smaller at 2.5". Also match up the interface of your internal drive with the internal connectors of the enclosure. Older drives use IDE (two rows of pins - 40 total) while newer drives use SATA (a smaller, one row connector). Next, consider what kind of external ports you have on your computer. Most enclosures connect via USB and some come with the option of Firewire and/or eSATA.
Installation of a drive into an enclosure is pretty easy:
If you do a lot of system building or repair, a more flexible option is hard drive docks. These docks are like external enclosures except they have a slot for plugging in a hard drive on demand (almost like plugging in game cartridges or putting a slice of bread into a toaster). And like enclosures, they connect via USB, Firewire and/or eSATA. Many will even allow you to use either a 3.5" or 2.5" drive.
A more portable version of these docks is an external hard drive adapter. These are simply cables with both IDE and SATA connectors on one end and USB on the other.
Now that you've got an external hard drive, there are lots of uses:
Bonus note: There are also 5.25" drive enclosures for using old internal optical drives externally.
© Micro Center