How can I make an old laptop hard drive an external drive?

June 25, 2013
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I have an old internal laptop hard drive, the hard drive can’t load an operating system, so I replaced it. Now I want to use the old hard drive as an external drive…how can I do this? Also, if you know how, please mention cost!

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  1. susendeep dutta
    June 26, 2013 at 11:42 am
  2. dragonmouth
    June 26, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I'm as "frugal" as the next guy, maybe cheaper, but I would not take a chance of using this drive for anything I could not afford to lose. It could last another 5 years or it could expire tomorrow.

    Over time I have accumulated various HD that I pulled from dead PCs. I have a hot swap docking station that handles 2.5" and 3.5 HDs. It may not be as elegant as an enclosure but it does the same and it's easier to swap drives in it.

  3. Jan Fritsch
    June 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

    If the old hard drive is really failing I wouldn't use it as an external drive either.

    Usually one uses external hard drives to backup data, store files they don't really need but don't want to delete or to exchange data e.g. between home and work.
    In either case it would be inconvenient (at best) if the drive failed and the data being lost/not accessible.

    While an external enclosure is available starting around $10 you can get a brand new (not dangerous) external hard drive with probably 3-10 times the capacity of your existing drive for like $50.

  4. Leland Whitlock
    June 26, 2013 at 8:30 am

    If you can afford it I would get Spin Rite at https://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm or HDD Regenerator at http://www.dposoft.net/ The second one is supposed to be able to fix failing drives and considering the laptop I am using had one of those failing drives 3 years ago and it is still going strong it is worth checking out. Either tool works well for fixing errors and really finding out if a drive is truly dying or not. If not then go for the external box but there is a chance you would waste your money on the box. Good luck.

  5. Switchblade Switchblade
    June 26, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Oron is right. You gonna need Easeus Partition Manager to do a format if needed, but of course back up first

  6. ha14
    June 26, 2013 at 7:33 am

    you mention that the hard drive can’t load an operating system! perhaps the hard drive has problems, end of life, why you want to use it as external hard drive? since you can loose files.

  7. Phill Duplessis
    June 26, 2013 at 5:09 am

    Oron is right, go for connector.

  8. DalSan M
    June 26, 2013 at 3:34 am

    Oron gives the advice needed for what you want to do. I wouldn't pay more than $20USD for an enclosure. dragonmouth brings up a good point, so you should scan the disk for errors and see what kind of health it is in. CrystalDisk Info should be able to suggest the health of your disk.

  9. dragonmouth
    June 25, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    As Oron stated, get an enclosure or a dock.

    However, you say that the HD "Cannot load an operating system." If it can't load an O/S how do you know it works and that it can be used for data storage?

    • null
      June 26, 2013 at 5:26 am

      well by the word “Cannot load an operating system" i mean that i was having problem with the harddrive and when i run the hardware test it showed a message that the HD was going die after some days..so i replaced it and i guess i can use that harddrive as an external one for somedays...:)

    • null
      June 26, 2013 at 5:30 am

      well by the word “Cannot load an operating system" i mean that i was having problem with the harddrive and when i run the hardware test it showed a message that the HD was going die after some days..so i replaced it and i guess i can use that harddrive as an external one for somedays...:)

  10. Oron Joffe
    June 25, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    You simply need a 2.5" enclosure. These are available from eBay or computer shops for very little money (in the UK, from about £3 up) and come in a variety of colours and interfaces. Make sure the internal interface matches your hard disc (i.e. IDE or SATA) and the external one suits your needs (e.g. USB 2.0, USB 2.0 or Firewire. Fitting the disc into the enclosure is trivial and off you go!

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