How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

If you’re fed up with the slow speed of your computer (desktop or laptop), what are you going to do with this old hard drive? In fact, turning HDD to USB is a better choice than throwing away the old hard drive; it’s more economical and environmentally friendly. This post will show you how to convert internal hard drive to external USB in detail.

Many users’ first reaction to a slow and old computer is replacing the hard drive with a new one or with a SSD. Some people also choose to buy a new computer for a better experience. Either way, your old hard drive will be put aside.

Please don’t throw the old drive away; it is still useful. Making old HDD to USB is a more economical and environmentally friendly choice. It only takes surprisingly little effort for you to convert internal hard drive to external USB.

HDD to USB: A Better Way to Dispose Old Drive

You need to prepare an external hard drive enclosure before changing internal hard drive to USB; it works as the SATA-to-USB converter to allow you to turn an internal SATA hard drive into an external USB drive. What you should do before converting hard drive is to transfer data from hard drive or use software from MiniTool to backup data. Then, determine whether the old drive is ok. If the drive is working file, you should follow the steps that will be explained in the following content.

If any files get lost unexpectedly, you should retrieve data from hard drive by following this:

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

If you are stuck in finding ways to recover files from dead external hard drive efficiently, this passage will be very helpful.

How to Convert Internal HDD to External

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

Step one: take out your old hard drive, and remove the brackets and screws on it carefully.

Step two: confirm the size of your internal hard drive (the laptop hard drive is usually 2.5 inch while the desktop hard drive is 3.5 inch). Confirm the interface of hard drive (IDE, SATA, or PATA).

Step three: look for an external hard drive enclosure/internal hard drive to USB adapter that is suitable for your old drive.

Step four: connect the old hard drive to the enclosure carefully.

Step five: attach the enclosure to your desktop or laptop by using the USB cable.

Step six: open Windows File Explorer to check whether your drive shows up there. If it does appear, it means it is ready for use; if it doesn’t appear, you should read this post to know how to fix.

If the system tells you that the Windows Explorer needs to be restarted, what you should do to solve the problem?

It’s easy to encounter Windows Explorer needs to be restarted issue on Windows; this post tells you how to fix it properly.

That’s how to turn internal hard drive to external. Now, you can use the USB hard drive like any other external hard drives.

Can You Convert Internal HDD to External without Enclosure

Some users are asking whether they can convert an internal hard drive to external HDD without enclosure. Certainly, yes, they can make their own external HDD enclosure from card . Besides, they can purchase a PATA/SATA to USB adapter and then use it to connect the internal HDD directly to PC via USB port.

What to Consider When Buying an Enclosure

When buying an enclosure for converting HDD to USB, you should take 2 things into consideration: interface and size. The interface and size of the enclosure to buy must match that of your hard drive.

  • If the hard drive is taken out from a laptop, it’s possible that the interface is SATA (there are also a small number of laptop hard drives equipped with an IDE interface) and the size is 2.5 inch. Therefore, you need a 2.5” SATA enclosure.
  • If the hard drive was used in a desktop originally, it’s possible that it has a PATA interface and 3.5 inch size. At this time, you should look for a 3.5” enclosure that gives support to PATA/IDE.

You can actually convert the old internal hard drive to external and use it for storing files, backing up data, and keeping videos/games that can be used on your TV/PS4.

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Sarah is working as editor at MiniTool since she was graduated from university, having rich writing experiences. Love to help other people out from computer problems, disk issues, and data loss dilemma and specialize in these things. She said it’s a wonderful thing to see people solving their problems on PC, mobile photos, and other devices; it’s a sense of accomplishment. Sarah likes to make friends in life and she’s a huge music fan.

Whenever we update our desktops or laptops we are left with old Hard Drives. Now for most us, it does ache because somewhere we still have that small little doubt that says what if I have not transferred a file or a photo that I might need in future and save it. What if I can still use that old hard drive? Well, to those of us who have had to part with an old hard drive from a laptop or desktop we understand that sentiment and thought. But what if you are told that there is a way to turn your Old Hard Drive into an External Hard drive. I am sure you will think that will it be possible, how much will it cost me? From where will I get the technician? After all, not all of us are techies.

Relax! It is simple and easy to do. Curious? Well, let’s end the chase and get to the point.

To be able to convert your old Hard Drive into an External Drive, all you need to do is follow these simple steps.

For Laptop:

Before we begin let’s cover all the things you will need to convert that old hard drive to an external hard drive.

1.You will need an enclosure. Well, your laptop hard drive is generally 2.5 inch. So, you will need to get an enclosure that is of that size.

2. You will have to pick the external interface that will determine what kind of connections you will use to connect your drive. Generally, you will go with a USB 2.0 because any computer can connect with that but if your computer can take a USB 3.0 then you would probably want to choose that as they are known to be faster.

3. When you are getting an enclosure, you will notice that they are available in either aluminum or plastic. You would want to choose aluminum as they will help keep your drive cooler.

For Desktop:

Again, there are a few things you will need to convert your old hard drive into an external hard drive.

1. You will need an enclosure for your old hard drive. Well, your computer hard drive is 3.5 inch. So, you will need to get an enclosure that is of that particular size.

2. You should also know what kind of drive you are using. For the majority of the times, it is going to be SATA (Serial ATA) drive. But for those using older machines from before 2003, they will be mostly having PATA (Parallel ATA) drive.

3. An enclosure for your desktop hard drive will generally come with an adapter. This makes it a little heavier and bulkier for portability.

All you have to do now is place the drive into the enclosure and make sure it is carefully and properly screwed in with the screws and screwdriver it comes in.

Once you are done putting it all together. You can test the hard drive either you can take a look at all of the old files or you can wipe it clean and start storing new files.

While trying out new things if you delete data from unallocated hard drive then, do not panic because there is an easy and efficient way on, how to get back data from an unallocated hard drive?

Also Read:

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

I just connected a Seagate external 300gb hard drive to my 12 inch Powerbook G4. I am wondering if there is an “order of operations” as far as turning the external hard drive off with the laptop?

The manual is not exactly clear to my understanding. It does mention dragging the external hard drive icon to the trash icon in my dock area but I think that is if I would like to DISCONNECT it from my laptop?

I am GUESSING that I would turn off the hard drive first THEN the laptop? Does anyone know if it matters, I do not want to damage the drive or any info on it.

Any info woul be appreciated, thanks in advance people!

Powerbook 12, Mac OS X (10.2.x)

Posted on Jun 5, 2007 8:21 PM

All replies

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The only reason you would actually drag the HD icon to trash is if you want to disconnect the external and keep working on your powerbook.

If thats the case, you can go ahead and just pull the firewire/usb cable out – AFTER the icon is gone from the desktop.

If you’re finished working all together. Then you should shut down the powerbook first and then pull the external out.

Basically the only thing you want to AVOID is – pulling the cable/turning off the external while the icon is still on your desktop!

Jun 6, 2007 11:26 AM

If you want to turn off your external hard drive, and your desire is to leave your laptop on, then first drag the external HD to the trash to eject it. Then press the power button on the HD to turn it off. If you just power down the HD, you could trash some files. You may need to press and hold the HD’s power button for several seconds in order to shut it down.

You should be able to, if you wish, leave the external HD connected and running when you shut down your laptop. The HD will continue to run, and will connect to your laptop the next time you power your laptop up. I suspect that once your laptop is off, you should be able to safely turn off your HD, if needed (in fact. I’ll check this out just as soon as I post this). I’ll repost after a restart.

Click to view So you finally replaced that overstuffed 80GB hard drive with a half-terabyte data warehouse. The question is, what do you do with the old drive? Stick it on a shelf? Toss it in the trash? Leave it in the machine?

Nah. The best possible fate for an old internal drive is to become a super-handy external drive, which it can do with a small investment of time and money.

An external hard drive can serve countless uses: moving large files from one PC to another, backing up data, rescuing files from an unbootable drive, and, of course, expanding your available storage space. It can also act as a holding tank for your data while you perform a hard-drive wipe and OS reinstall . Here's how to turn any cast-off internal drive into an external drive with a new lease on life.

Geek to Live: How to format your hard drive and install Windows XP from scratch

Hey, Windows XP users: The blue screen of death got you down? Missing dll errors making you…

Choose an enclosure

Your hard drive needs a new home, a small case that supplies power, protection and a USB or FireWire interface. Prices for these enclosures range from as little as $10 on up to around $100, though I wouldn't pay more than $20-30 for one. (Some of the pricier models can connect directly to TVs for video and audio streaming, and even come with wireless remotes.)

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The key consideration is size: If your hard drive came from a notebook, you'll need a 2.5-inch enclosure. Desktop drives require a 3.5-inch enclosure.

Next up, consider your interface options. Most enclosures are designed to work with IDE drives and supply a USB and/or FireWire external interface for connecting to your PC. However, some enclosures support newer SATA drives and include an eSATA interface—though not many PCs or notebooks have that kind of port. Thus, if you're relocating a SATA drive, make sure the enclosure includes a USB interface so you'll have a place to connect it. (Not sure how to tell an IDE drive from a SATA drive? It's all in the interface: an IDE connector measures about two inches wide and has two rows of pins; SATA connectors are much smaller and have only one row.)

That's really all you need to know about choosing an enclosure. If you're into eye candy, look for a see-through chassis or one with LEDs or other decorative elements. As for where to buy, I've found excellent selection and low prices at , though that is by no means the only place to shop. (If you have a favorite store for enclosures and other accessories, talk it up in the comments.)

Install the drive

Once you've settled on an enclosure, it's time to install the drive. There's nothing difficult about it—you probably won't need anything more sophisticated than a screwdriver. But the usual electronics-handling rules apply: Make sure you're working in a static-free environment, handle everything with care, don't force the connections, etc.

If you're enclosing an IDE drive, make sure to set its master/slave/cable-select jumper in accordance with the instructions provided with the enclosure. (SATA drives don't require any special jumper settings.) From there, just mount the drive, connect the interface and power plugs, and close everything up.

Connect the drive

If you purchased an enclosure for a 3.5-inch drive, it no doubt came with an external power supply. Plug it in and power up the enclosure; you should hear the drive spin up (and see a little LED activity if the enclosure has LEDs). Notebook-drive enclosures are usually powered by their USB or FireWire connections, so no external adapter is necessary.

Plug the enclosure into your PC's USB, FireWire, or eSATA port. Mac and Windows XP/Vista systems should automatically detect the drive and load any necessary drivers. Windows 98 and Me systems will probably require a driver CD, which should have come with the enclosure. Follow the provided instructions to install the drivers.

Get to work

Like any new drive, the enclosure should get its own drive letter. From there you can copy files to and from it like any hard drive. Copy a few sample files to make sure everything's working properly.

One final word of advice: Don't unplug your drive while it's reading or writing data (meaning the activity light is flashing). Doing so could damage the drive and/or corrupt your data.

Mac users can eject the drive by dragging it to the Trash or Cmd-clicking and choosing "Eject" as usual; Windows users should click the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the System Tray, then choose the "Safely remove USB mass storage device" entry that corresponds to your external drive. A message will appear notifying you that it's safe to unplug.

Here's how to change a drive's letter in Windows . Mac users with lots of external drives might be interested in the free Ejector utility.

Change Windows drive letters

When I disconnected my backup drive and plugged in a USB drive the other night, my Windows drive…

We all know that internal hard drive is much cheaper than external hard drives. To use internal hard drive as external simply get an enclosure and put the drive in it and plug it into PC using standard USB or FireWire (IEEE 1394) connection.

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

How to Make an Internal Hard Drive External

Let’s discuss step by step how to make internal hard drive external.

1. Choose an internal hard drive

If you have Western Digital 120 GB internal hard drive then get a Cosmos Super Link 2.5-inch USB enclosure. You are independent to use mix hard drives and enclosures but before doing that make sure they are compatible.

2. Mount the Drive Into the Enclosure

The enclosure allows you to insert the internal hard drive in it using screws or fasteners. There will be several wires to plug and we will discuss it later.

3. Plug in the connections

Here’s the sensitive part of the process. You have to make different connections and the most important one is either an 80-wire or 40-wire IDE/ATA or known as PATA cables and are inserted at the back side of the hard drive. There are two variations of 40-wire and 80-wire connections drive. While getting the enclosure for your hard drive make sure both are compatible.

Sometimes SATA connections can also be used to connect modern hard drives in the computers. Regardless of the connections, the most important thing is that what your hard drive connects with and the enclosure is capable to accommodate the drive in it.

Similarly, there are few more connections and each has its own purpose, but keep one thing in mind that you need to know that one place is required to plug them in. Once matched you can connect them.

4. Locate the Slots in your Hard Drive.

At the back side of the hard drive, you will see connections slots and they are not that difficult to match you can simply put correct plugs in them.

5. Seal the Hard Drive Enclosure

Once all the ports are connected now it’s time to seal the enclosure for protection purposes from inside. The Sealing process includes screws or simple fasteners which allows you to seal the drive. So now the drive is ready to use as an external storage device.

6. Connect the Enclosure

At this point, you won’t face any difficulty as it seems a lot easier to you. After this, your drive will be plug and play. Most of the time the enclosure comes with a USB cable allowing you to connect it with your PC. The same cable serves the purpose of power and connectivity. If it comes with Super Link, there will be a separate cord for power and for running the AC adapter.

7. Connect the Enclosure to Your PC

Now simply connect the USB or FireWire cable to your computer and wait for the drive to show up. You can also turn it own it contains a power switch.

8. Plug and Play Your Hard Drive

After you turn it on and plug it in, your Windows machine will immediately recognize the drive and simply use it as plugs and plays. You can use your drive straightforward and do anything as you do in your computer like browse, open and share files and set it up for receiving security backups and recovery files.

Sometimes PC doesn’t recognize the drives then you can format the drives to solve the problem.

How to Make an Internal Hard Drive External ( Updated Now ) is just today, so you get the latest information about this process.

That’s all for this post. Hopefully, we have covered every aspect for you. Keep visiting our blog for more informative Tech Articles.

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

Wondering what to do with the old hard drive you just removed from your laptop or desktop? Well, you could just keep it as a spare, but be installing it into an external enclosure and making it effectively used as a portable device would be a wise idea! These are great for backing up your files, having a second operating system to boot to, or just for more storage.

What you’ll need?

  • An external hard drive enclosure
  • A screwdriver

A step by step guide explaining how to turn a spare internal hard drive into a portable USB drive whether it is an HHD or SSD!

Step 1: If you haven’t already done so, remove any brackets and screws from the hard drive.

Step 2: Open up the caddy, the Inateck FE2005 enclosure which is a tool-less model, so it’s a simple case of unlocking it with the switch, sliding open the end and inserting in the hard drive. Be careful to slide the hard disk in the right way up – look inside to see the orientation of the SATA port.

Step 3: Use the included USB cable to attach the enclosure to your PC or laptop.

Step 4: Depending on what’s on the disk, it may show up in Windows File Explorer and be ready to use. Because our disk was from a Windows laptop, it was formatted as NTFS and was assigned a drive letter automatically.

You can treat it like any hard drive, copying files to it, or formatting it. If you plan only to use it with Windows, you can leave it formatted as NTFS, but it’s best to use exFAT if you want to connect it to other devices such as set-top boxes for video playback.

Step 5: If it doesn’t show up in Windows Explorer, search the Start menu for Disk Management and then look for a disk with unallocated space, or a disk without a drive letter assigned. You can then right-click on it and format it.

What is an external enclosure?

These are the caddies that are inexpensive and allow you to turn an internal hard drive into an external one that you can use for backing up files or even to attach to your smart TV so you can pause programs or record them.

There are two main types – 3.5in and 2.5in. 3.5in hard drives are mainly used in desktop PCs, while 2.5in disks are used in laptops. Laptop hard drives vary in thickness (either 7mm or 9.5mm), so make sure your chosen caddy has enough height inside to accommodate your disk.

And most hard drives use the modern SATA connector, but older hard drives have IDE connectors with two rows of gold-colored pins. So, make sure you buy an enclosure which is compatible with your drive.

Is USB-C enclosure available?

Yes! USB-C ports are slowly becoming the standard and you’ll find these on the latest PCs and laptops including the new MacBook. And the USB-C connection on this caddy can operate at up to 5Gb/s or 625MB/s, but it will be limited by the hard drive you put inside it.

“If you are looking to recover files lost after USB format, you can make use of Remo data recovery software and get the job done in few simple steps.”

However, it is simple to install your drive. As before you should check that you are inserting it the correct way around, check the orientation of the SATA connection. You can then use the included USB-C to USB-C cable to attach the portable drive to the USB-C port on your PC. No drivers are needed. So we can say that it is just a simple plug and play case.

So now your old hard drive turned into an external hard drive, which can be used to back up files, attach to a TV and used as a portable device as well! If you find yourself in a situation wherein your external hard drive is corrupt and showing CRC error when tried to access data from it, then make use of Remo Data Recovery Software and resolve the issue by recovering data from your drive.

Also Read:

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

More often than not, with every new software upgrade, we end up with a hard drive and an SSD. And with time, these unused internal drives keep piling in our drawers, only to be thrown out later on. Not only is this a financial loss on our ends, but it also adds to the unnecessary waste in the environment. And I am sure you don’t want either of these, but how many options do we really have here?

What if I say that if you read and follow through our article, you will be able to save your hard drive from the above actions. Yes, I hear you saying that’s not possible! But it is, and we will show you how. Moreover, you can do it all by yourself (this is also the DIY era) and save yourself some money.

How To Convert Old Hard Disk Into An External Storage Drive?

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

Now let’s assume you have an upgradeable laptop with a 1TB HDD storage space, and now you want to upgrade it to a 1 TB SSD. So, you take it to the service center and come back with a fast-running laptop and a 1TB hard disk that you toss into the drawer. Moreover, with all the files and data collecting for months now, you need some external hard disk to store them. Damn! Now you also have to spend money on buying one!

We understand how expensive maintaining gadgets are. Therefore, you would be pleased to know that you can use your 1 TB HDD as your external storage drive like new. And here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Take out the old 1 TB HDD drive, a 2.5 inch SATA USB 3.0 Hard drive enclosure. If you don’t find an enclosure, you can also use a USB 3.0 and a 2.5 inch SATA hard drive cable. You will be able to purchase them from

Step 2: Plug the terminals on your hard drive to the corresponding sockets on the enclosure. Or cable if that’s what you’re using.

Step 3: Attach the other plug of the enclosure to the USB cable. Now plug the USB cable to your laptop USB port. Check out the tutorial video by Maraksot78 where he explains everything in detail.

That’s it! It is as simple as ABC. Once the drive appears as external storage on your computer screen, you can remove all the partitions and data. Doing this will give you a brand new external storage drive that is pristine.

How To Turn An Old SSD Into An Useful External Storage Drive?

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

SSDs are faster and better internal storage devices. They are an upgrade to the existing HDD and is a mandatory requirement in every PC. However, if you have an old SSD sitting and collecting dust on the shelf, here’s how you can make it useful.

Step 1: Transfer data from the old SSD drive to the new SSD drive.

Step 2: Erase the data from the old SSD, leaving it empty.

Step 3: Get a USB 3.1 Type C to NVMe, M.2 SSD enclosure that comes with the entire tool kit. It consists of a rubber pad, screwdriver, spare screws etc.

Step 4: With the help of the screwdriver, open the metallic enclosure. Remove the screws from the board underneath the cover.

Step 5: Unscrew them as there is no space to attach the SSD. Turn the board around, and you will see the connector for SSD.

Step 6: Attach it and line up the set screw to ensure the SSD is set perfectly on it. Lock the screws on the top and bottom to make sure the SSD does not slide around.

Step 7: Moreover, for extra prevention, add the thermal strip on the board. Now add the SSD to the enclosure.

Step 8: Keep the type C connector in the clear and then plop down the board.

Step 9: Once you’re done attaching the SSD part, reattach the cover and screw them up.

Step 10: Now, use the type C port with the USB cable and connect it to your laptop.

Check out this detailed tutorial by Windows Central.

Pro Tip: Make sure your laptop has a 3.1 USB port which is not common in all laptops as most of them have 3.0, including Microsoft Surface Pro.


And that’s how you convert unused and old HDD and SSD drives into useful data storage external devices. In this way, you will be able to save money from buying a new external drive to store your data. Moreover, the prime benefit of an external drive, as opposed to an internal one, is that you can carry them wherever you want.

If you’ve upgraded your laptop, don’t discard that “naked” drive. You can put it back to work as external storage.

alt=”western-digital-sata-drive-internal.jpg” width=”270″ height=”0″ /> Enlarge Image

Don’t discard your displaced drive.

What’s the single best way to upgrade a laptop? Easy: Take out the mechanical hard drive and replace it with a solid-state drive (SSD).

You’ll enjoy faster performance, longer battery life, cooler running temperature (which may extend the overall life of the laptop) and even quieter operation: SSDs have no moving parts and therefore run completely silent.

Ah, but what happens to your old drive? After you’ve made the swap, you’ll find yourself staring at a “naked” internal hard drive. What now?

Easy again: Turn that internal drive into an external one.

Other hard drive helpers

Why reuse an old drive?

The whole reason you got rid of that drive was because it was a slowpoke, right? Perhaps compared to the SSD that replaced it, but it’s still a hard drive, and still useful as secondary storage.

Indeed, you could use it as a backup drive, or perhaps plug it into your router for network-attached storage (NAS) duty. It’ll be portable, so you can toss it in your travel bag as needed. If nothing else, you should keep it accessible just in case there’s a problem with the new drive and you need to retrieve all your old data.

Alas, it’s not like you can just plug the drive into a USB port. Not yet, anyway.

Wrap it up

Hard drive enclosures can be snazzy, like this travel-friendly number from Orico.

You’ve seen traditional external hard drives, right? They’re little slabs that plug into a USB port. So what’s the difference between that and what you’ve got? One thing: an enclosure, a case that not only protects the drive, but also bridges the gap between its SATA interface (the one used inside your laptop) and USB.

Good news: enclosures are inexpensive and installation is a breeze.

Start by determining what kind of drive you have — something you may already know if you bought and installed the replacement SSD yourself. (If you had a shop do it, they can probably give you the particulars.) Most likely it’s a SATA drive, and because it came out of a laptop, it’s very likely a 2.5-inch drive as well.

So now you just need an external enclosure designed for a 2.5-inch SATA drive. That handles the internal aspects; now you need to decide on the externals.

Specifically, USB 3.0 or 3.1? The former guarantees compatibility with older hardware, but there are some enclosures with USB 3.1 (aka Type-C) interfaces. That’s an option to consider if you think you’ll use this drive with newer computers.

alt=”startech-rugged-enclosure.jpg” width=”370″ height=”0″ /> Enlarge Image

This rugged enclosure runs about $35.

If you plan to travel a lot (and bring the drive with you), look for a rugged enclosure, one that can withstand a lot of bumps. There are also transparent enclosures if you want to retain that “naked” look, light-up enclosures if you like glowing LEDs and even multi-bay enclosures if you think you might end up with multiple drives.

One option I can easily recommend is the Orico 25Au3, a compact aluminum enclosure available in red or orange. It’s much snazzier than your average black or silver enclosure, and it comes with a protective case for travel. It has a USB 3.0 interface and screw-free design, meaning you don’t even need a screwdriver to install your drive. Newegg currently sells the Orico for $16.99.


After installing the drive in the enclosure, you should be able to plug it directly into your laptop or any other PC, and it should show up as a regular external drive. If it doesn’t, you may have no choice but to reformat it — which is something you might want to do anyway.

My advice: Consider leaving the drive intact, at least until you’ve used the new drive for a few weeks and you’re comfortable everything is working the way it should.

One thing is certain: Given the low price of drive enclosures and the high utility of hard drives, the only reason to retire an old drive is if it’s not working.

Introduction: Turn Your Old 2.5'' or 3.5'' Hard Drive Into Portable/External

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

By Konstantin Dimitrov My facebook ! Follow

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

You have an old Hard Drive 2.5” or 3.5” left from your laptop or PC and you don’t know what to do. Then turn it into portable, that can be plugged-in every device that has an USB port.


Step 1: HDD Interface Types

The most common interfaces are SATA and IDE

SATASerial Advanced Technology Attachment is most common in the newer PC and Laptop interfaces it is a hundreds of times lot faster than IDE and its been used since 2003.

IDEIntegrated Drive Electronics aka PATA (Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment) is mostly used in PCs and Laptops between 1986 and 2003.

Check the photos above to see the difference between them !

Step 2: You Will Need:

An HDD enclosure and a hard drive (SATA or IDE). And 12v 3 W power suply If you hard drive require higher power to work.



The links will take you to, but if you want something else check at or

Step 3: Put the HDD in the Box

First plug the Hard Drive in the SATA / IDE to USB board and then put the Hard Drive inside the enclosure, turn the screws.

Step 4: Connect to PC

Connect the hard drive with your PC and wait for a few seconds to boot, and you are done !

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How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

Thanks for this instructable, some of us are not computer wizards and need step by step guides and explanations of everything. Great to know old HDD can be re-used. For those who are techno geeks please don’t knock Instructables like this for us simple folk who want to learn – you don’t have to read it and instead of criticising it, maybe you can do some of your own instructables for more advanced people.

How to turn an old hard drive into an external drive

Reply 5 years ago

unfortunately he left off the one piece of information that would frustrate learners from all walks.

when you enclose a 2.5 drive, most 500mA USB outputs will struggle to power the drive and give problematic or not working issues. you need to use a usb bridge.

without this information the beginner user will at best be wasting their time, at worst their time & money!