Whenever we buy a new computer, the older computer is either given away or is sold to someone who can make some use of it. But if the older computer is completely dead, then the only place you can send it to is the nearest dumpster. But before you throw it away, you can take out the hard drives from that computer so that you can use them as external storage devices, that is, if those hard drives are still functioning well. Once they have been converted into external storage, you can use them on any computer through a USB data cable.
In order to do this, you would need an external hard drive enclosure. These enclosures/cases can be bought from online stores like Amazon or eBay easily. You have to make sure that the external hard drive enclosure is compatible with your hard drives. Here are some of the points you should consider before choosing one:
- Size of the hard drive – If you have a 3.5 inch hard drive, then you would need a larger hard drive enclosure. You cannot use the ones meant for 2.5 inch hard drives. The 3.5 inch hard drives use more power therefore enclosures for such drives have the appropriate circuit and power supply modules. But many 3.5 inch hard drive enclosures can also be used for 2.5 inch hard drives.
- Capacity of the hard drive – Many of these external hard drive enclosures have limits about the capacity of the hard drives they can support. For example, the one I have has a limit of 2 TB for 2.5 inch hard drives and 6 TB for 3.5 inch hard drives. You should check these specs before purchasing the enclosure.
- USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 – Some cheaper enclosures use the older USB 2.0 interface which gives slower data transfer speeds. Since all the computes have USB 3.0 ports, you should buy a hard drive enclosure with support for USB 3.0.
- SATA or EIDE – Another thing you should note that you should buy an enclosure that supports the same data interface as your hard drives. If you have SATA hard drive, then buy one that supports SATA. If you have an older hard drive with EIDE cable, then go for the enclosures that support EIDE interface. You should also notice the version of SATA supported by the enclosure.
Once you have bought such an external hard drive enclosure, you can easily attach your older hard drives in it. Most of them come with one or other type of instructions that are very easy to follow. The only thing then remains is to connect the power cable, USB data cable to the enclosure and attach the USB cable to your new PC. You will instantly notice these drives in Windows or any other operating system as external USB storage devices.