Sunday, February 20, 2011

Convert an Internal Laptop Hard Drive to an External Drive



I am a big fan of electronics and when it comes to tinkering, I get excited. While cleaning up my basement, I came across my old laptop hard drive laying around and collecting dust, after I sold the laptop on Ebay 4 years ago. In fact, while back I have been meaning to make some use of it for maybe backing my current desktop, although it still has my old files. However, I never got around to converting this internal laptop hard drive to an external drive, until now.




Bottom of my laptop of hard drive

Top of the Laptop Hard drive
Laptop hard drive pins



Initially I felt that it would be cheaper to get an adapter for my IDE cable to hook up my laptop hard drive to my desktop computer to use it as it was indicated by many websites. So, I bought an IDE cable adapter for my laptop hard drive from Amazon.

5.9in Laptop to IDE Hard Drive Adapter Cable


5.9in Laptop to IDE Hard Drive Adapter Cable

It was definitely cheap that I paid about $8.00 including shipping. I hooked it up to my laptop hard drive and to my desktop IDE cable. I thought I was ready to backup my desktop files, but it wasn't the case. My windows XP home edition had hard time recognising the laptop hard drive. In fact, at first I didn't see the laptop hard drive mounted for access. I thought, I should wait a little to see if my Windows XP will eventually see it and it did, but it took over 5 minutes. Then, I saw (Local Hard drive F:). At that, point I clicked on the drive expecting it to open with my old laptop files. It popped up with the messagebox requesting me to format the drive first. That wasn't what I expected. Although I wasn't too worried about the old files in the laptop, I still wanted to know if I had anything important I should keep from it. so, I thought I should do more research, because I knew there is got to be much easier solution and I should still be able to retrieve my old files from the drive.

That's when I came across a product called External enclosure with a USB 2.0 adapter. After doing some searching online, I find it very affordable and reliable solution to turning your laptop hard drive into external storage media. I bought it from Newegg and it's actual name is "Link Depot ENWB-25B-SS Aluminum 2.5" USB 2.0 External Enclosure."

Link Depot ENWB-25B-SS Aluminum 2.5" USB 2.0 External Enclosure

Inside the External Enclosure box


When you order from Newegg, you will get a small box just the above picture. It will have the following items as shown on the picture below.
Items in the External Enclosure Box


Items included in the box
  1. Mini CD with driver for the adapter (in case you need a driver, but you if you have Windows XP or higher you shouldn't need it as in my case).
  2. An light weight aluminium enclosure. 
  3. USB adapter
  4. Mini, cute and green screw driver (but I didn't get any screws to screw with)
  5. USB Cable.
As I figured before purchasing this USB 2.0 external enclosure for my laptop hard drive, it was very very easy and simple to setup. Many people on the Internet warned their readers to make sure the size of the enclosure is just the right size for their laptop hard drive. Generally, laptop hard drives are the same size, but sometimes you can have one that is slightly too large or small such that it won't fit into this enclosure. Your hard drive should slide into the enclosure without much effort. If it requires that you put in all your energy to put it into the enclosure, then you are going to damage it. So, just be aware of things that can go wrong.






Here are the steps for setting up your External Enclosure.


Laptop Hard drive adapter
1.) First, since this is a laptop hard drive you are working with, most likely it has an adapter of its own when it resided within the laptop. When removed, it exposes the hard drive pins. You must take it off before you start working with it. It looks like the picture to the right.







Laptop Hard drive adapter

















External Enclosure


2.) Then, you take the USB 2.0 adapter that connects to the laptop hard drive pins. Usually, it will still be part of aluminium enclosure out of the box without being screwed to the enclosure.









External Enclosure without USB 2.0 Adapter in it









USB 2.0 Adapter for laptop hard drive





















USB 2.0 Adapter for laptop hard drive

USB 2.0 Adapter for laptop hard drive






























Laptop Hard drive and USB 2.0 Adapter
3.) After that, very carefully align the holes of the USB 2.0 adapter with the laptop hard drive pins and slowly push it in all the way like the pictures to the right.









Laptop Hard drive and USB 2.0 Adapter

Laptop Hard drive and USB 2.0 Adapter
Back of Laptop Hard drive and USB 2.0 Adapter
Back of Laptop Hard drive and USB 2.0 Adapter
Empty External Enclosure
4.) Once the laptop hard drive and the USB 2.0 Adapter are married or connected each other safely and securely, you should get ready to place the hard drive and the USB 2.0 Adapter into the external enclosure.
Empty Enclosure and Laptop Hard drive Adapter

Empty Enclosure and Laptop Hard drive Adapter

External Enclosure and Laptop Hard drive



All in one without screws



USB cable and
USB connection into Desktop Computer
 5.) At this point, you probably noticed that I don't have a screw in place in those holes to hold the laptop hard drive in place with the external enclosure. Well, unfortunately I didn't get any screws when I am supposed. That's a minor issue. So, I didn't bother the seller. Once you have the external enclosure and the laptop hard drive with the adapter in place, you are ready to connect your USB cable to your new external hard drive. You probably noticed that you have a USB cable with 3 connectors. One end connects into the laptop hard drive itself and one of the two USB connector
Laptop Hard drive and USB 2.0 LED ON
connects into your desktop or another laptop. Since this external enclosure adapter is plug and play, you can connect and disconnect your new external hard drive while your windows XP operating is running. So, you should see the red LED on the USB adapter light up if there is a power to your hard drive through your USB 2.0 connection. If your Windows XP recognise your new USB external hard drive, you should immediately see a message box running through the files in your laptop hard drive if not Windows XP message requesting for action. At which point, you can open your "my computer" to see if the USB external hard drive is listed in storage media lists.



Screenshot of Windows Drive List


 And that's how you convert your internal Laptop hard drive to an External Drive. I hope, I have provided you with enough information for you to turn your old laptop hard drive into external storage media.

Thank you for visiting my blog.




 

2 comments:

Aaron Bentley said...

Wow! The idea is awesome. I will follow your methods and tips shared here on my hard drives. Thanks.
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Brandon Hudson said...

Nice post with awesome points! Can’t wait for the next one.

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