Why not turn your old hard drive into an external backup…

When you have upgraded your computer and moved your data across, have you ever thought ‘what can I do with my old hard drive?’ You don’t want to throw it away because it might fall into disreputable hands. However, there is no point in destroying a healthy hard drive. Why not use it as a backup or at very least, keep a copy of all that old data just in case!

Internal hard drives are a bit of a pain to store and handle. Circuit boards don’t like fingers and electro static discharges can easily harm the delicate electronics. Similarly dust and debris through the breather hole can easily contaminate the heads. So if you want to keep it, why not put it in a USB enclosure? That way your old hard drive becomes a portable data storage asset, or a ‘just in case’ archive of all your precious memories, music, films and important stuff.

External enclosure are very cheap to buy and most will accept any type of interface. Your old hard drive is likely to be a SATA or IDE, possibly SAS (unlikely if it is a few years old). Take a look and if the connections are pins then it is IDE. If they are plugs, then it is a SAS interface. Buy an enclosure that accepts both, or make sure you have the right one.

Fitting a hard drive into an external case is a very easy process, as long as you own a screwdriver. Even if you don’t most enclosures are supplied with the right one! When handling the internal drive, touch a radiator to discharge any static and try not to touch the circuitry at all. There will be instruction with your new enclosure, but quite simply your old hard drive will screw into the case and then plug into the interface.

When you connect up the external hard drive to your new computer, it should be automatically recognised as a new partition. It does matter that it is likely to contain an operating system or application. These probably won’t work anyway from the external hard drive. However all your precious data will still be there in the data folders! For not much more than the price of a cup of coffee, you have a backup hard drive and archive. But most importantly, that old hard drive will not fall into disreputable hands.