How to convert an old hard disk to an external hard drive for the PC

With the passage of time some of us accumulate old hard disks of old computers that we have not had time to erase properly to throw them. Today we are going to teach you how to turn these old hard disks into external hard drives to be able to access them from your computer.

This way you can erase all data from an old hard drive before throwing it or give them a second chance by using them as an external storage drive. The only thing you’ll need to do is buy yourself a docking or port specially designed to perform this function. There are all types and prices.

First look at what interface you need

convert an old hard disk to an external hard drive
Image Source: Google Image

Before deciding on a product you have to be careful to know what connectors you need, especially if you are going to use old hard disks. Most of the modern hard drives sold use the SATA standard to connect to your PC, as it is the most modern and fast technology. But if you have an especially old disk you may use IDE. As you can see in the diagram above, the differences are quite remarkable.

If you do not finish doubting, the interface of connection is also indicated in the box of the hard disk that you have bought. In the same way, if you buy it on pages like Amazon also there you should indicate the exact connection interface that you use. Even in the case of SATA you have the versions I, II and III, although each of them is retro compatible with the previous ones, so you will only find practical differences in the data transfer speeds.

These connection interfaces are distinguished without any problem, meaning that you should not have problems if you do not have your box on hand, which is normal if they are very old. Both slots are located at the rear of the disc, and their difference is fully visible to the naked eye. You do not need to know about hard drives and technologies to see that the IDE has a kind of pinchitos everywhere, whereas the connections of a SATA remember a little to those of a USB.

And why is it important to know all this? Because when buying an adapter or docking you have to make sure that you support the hard drives you want to use. The ones that support the SATA interface but not the IDE, or that have SATA I and II but not the III, so everything will slow down if your HDD uses the latter. There are also those that have for big hard disks, the ones of 3.5 inches, but not for the small of 2.5.

You may also like to read: How to prevent the hard disk from crashing and losing information

And no, do not worry about 2.5 inches and 3.5 inches, because of the differences that can have a hard drive this is the most notable. You will see that the 2.5-inch disks are noticeably smaller than the 3.5-inch disks, which comes to be the size of a lifetime.

Buy your hard disk docking

convert an old hard disk to an external hard drive
Image Source: Google Image

With all this in mind, now comes the time to buy a hard disk adapter. You can do it online without problems, you just have to enter Amazon and look for terms such as “hard disk adapter” so that you have several alternatives. A more accurate term you can look for is the “hard disk docking”. You will see all types and prices.

You can choose the one you want, I for example in his day opted for the Ronsen 892U. Of course, it is important that you read well what sizes and connections the hard drive supports so you do not end up buying one that does not suit you. Some have happened to us sometime. Prices will vary depending on the models, materials or ports that are available.

Connect the docking to the computer

convert an old hard disk to an external hard drive
Image Source: Google Image

Depending on the docking you have purchased the way you use it may vary. In my case, the first thing to do is to insert the hard disks into the corresponding slots. For this it is important to look first within these slots to see where each goes. In the photo you see that the IDE is at the top and the SATA at the bottom.

Once you know it, enter the hard disk you want to use inside the corresponding dock. Read the instructions of your model well to know if you can use more than one at a time, in the case of which I have used there is a button to toggle between one slot or another, but there might be nothing.

Next you will have to connect the docking to the current and to the computer. Having to plug it in will depend on your model, and also the method to connect it to the computer. Although the latter is usually done with a reversible USB cable that connects to both the device and one of the slots in the computer.

And now, when you have everything connected the computer will notify you that you have introduced an external drive and will be exactly the same as with the external hard drives. You will then access from the PC to the contents of the hard disk, and you will be able to modify the data or format it to eliminate any file in the case that you intend to throw it.

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