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Choosing the right external case for a hard drive

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by cahillct, Oct 30, 2011.

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  1. cahillct

    cahillct Thread Starter

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    I read an old post that said you can get a case for a hard drive (from a desktop, not laptop) and be able to access files (but not software) and a link to Newegg.com was included. I went to that site and am not sure how to choose the right one - do I need an AC adapter? And how do I know which internal interface I need?

    The hard drive is in an emachines T3828 and is 80 GB, if that helps. My daughter had stories she had written stored on it - getting them off and ditching the rest is the goal. (The power switch seems to have died)

    Thanks!
     
  2. raybro

    raybro

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    Hello cahillct, and welcome to TSG.... :)

    You indicate the drive is from a desktop machine. Is the computer you wish to connect to also a desktop? If so, you may be able to install the drive as a secondary master and access it that way. If it is a laptop, you will need an external enclosure. It's likely the drive is a IDE type but it may be a SATA drive.

    Please provide the make and model of the drive..

    Additionally, please provide the make and model of the computer you wish to connect to.

    Click here to look at an enclosure that will accommodate either IDE or SATA. I'm assuming the drive is a 3.5" and you will have 2.0 USB interface with the new computer. Please verify those assumptions.
     
  3. gberger

    gberger

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    If all you want to do is transfer the data, my first question is how much data are you trying to get off? If it's just stories then it's probably not a lot and a flash drive would be a simpler alternative. Even 4GB is usually enough for word docs, you should only need more if you have photos or video.
    Another alternative to an external case is to simply connect the old drive as a second internal drive on the new computer. If you go either route (external case or internal setup on the new computer) the first thing you need to do is determine if the drive is IDE or SATA. This is an older computer so it could be either one. Open the case, locate the hard drive, and look at the cable going into the hard drive. If it is a wide, flat, ribbon cable it is IDE. If it is a narrow cable (most likely red) it is SATA. If it is SATA, then hooking it up to a new computer as an internal drive is easier, just connect an existing power connector and a new SATA data cable. If it is IDE, then you either need an IDE to SATA adapter to go the internal route, or an IDE external case with a USB connection.
    For an IDE to SATA converter, this would do:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812232004
    For an external case I recommend this one. It has a fan, which a lot of cases do not. These drives can get very hot in a small enclosure, so if you plan to use it a lot a fan is a good thing:
    if the drive is SATA: http://www.amazon.com/Antec-MX-1-SATA-3-5-Inch-Enclosure/dp/B000NZVR3Q
    For IDE, this one does not have a fan but should be ok for occasional use i.e. not always on:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182154

    To summarize, I'd recommend using a flash drive if possible. After that, my second preference would be to connect it as a second internal drive on the new computer. Thirdly, the external housing.

    Edit: never mind the flash drive, if you're saying the power switch is broken and the computer won't turn on....of course, in that case the flash drive idea is useless...
     
  4. cahillct

    cahillct Thread Starter

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    Hi - the hard drive is a Hitachi Deskstar... We have a working emachines separate from this dead one.... it sounds as if maybe I could just add the drive to the working desktop? But only if I won't kill the working one - it's our main computer running our wireless router. I am new to this - I had to find a manual to identify and take out the hard drive so I could tell Raybro what kind it is... Maybe I should stick with an external housing, and I see some fine print that says ATA/IDE...
     
  5. cahillct

    cahillct Thread Starter

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    Then again, it's only a machine right LOL... and I see a memory card in there doing nothing....
     
  6. gberger

    gberger

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    Either way will work, hooking it up internally or using the external housing. If the working machine is ATA/IDE, then there is no added expense, it would install using the existing second IDE connector coming off the cable that goes to the existing hard drive (assuming there is only one). If the working machine is SATA, then it's a toss-up in terms of cost, the adapter and the cable are about the same as the external housing (although the housing I linked to appears to be rather expensive - there are cheaper ones out there).
     
  7. gberger

    gberger

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    Also, internal installation is pretty straightforward. You've already removed it from the dead machine - just reverse the steps if the working machine is IDE. If the working machine is SATA, you just need to plug in the adapter first, then run the SATA cable from the adapter to the MB, next to the existing one. In both cases you'll need to find and plug in the power connections also. There should be a spare power connector available, but check first.
     
  8. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Having it as an external adds portability so you can move things easily and connect it to other machines. But it also adds the danger of losing everything on the drive when it is hit or dropped accidentally. External drives are the most prone to data loss of any storage type, and that is always a risk.

    If you do buy an enclosure, I'd recommend metal since it dissipates heat much better (plastic is an excellent insulator) and affords some protection to the contents.

    It is very easy to connect a drive internally. It won't affect anything else, though I do remind you if you have not worked inside a case before that you need to be careful what you hit against and double-check all your connections and cards to be sure you didn't loosen anything before you put it all back together.
     
  9. cahillct

    cahillct Thread Starter

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    You all have been so helpful! I am going to read more in the manual and figure out what I want to do. Thanks!!!
     
  10. raybro

    raybro

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    As indicated by gberger in post #6, it seems the simplest solution is to install the old HDD as secondary master in the working computer. That way you do not change the existing operating drive and will have access to the old drive through My Computer or Windows Explorer. If the new and old eMachines are both IDE, there should be no problem.

    Remove the cover from the side of the tower and take look at the existing hard drive and connectors. If the data cable to the hard drive is a ribbon multiconductor type, you are set. Just install the old HDD and connect it to the second connector on the ribbon cable. Don't neglect to also connect a power connector. There should be one in the wire bundle. It may have a protective cap on it.

    Be sure the jumper on the hard drive is set to "Cable select". There should be a diagram on the HDD case showing the jumper setup.
     
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