What to do with the previous laborious drive you simply eliminated out of your laptop computer or desktop? You would simply hold it round as a spare—however putting in it into an exterior enclosure and successfully reworking it into a conveyable laborious drive could be way more helpful. You’ll have the ability to entry the entire recordsdata on the drive at a second’s discover, however you could possibly additionally use it for backups or just transferring knowledge between methods.

Enclosure varieties

There are a slew of exterior enclosures accessible for laborious drives, and just about all of them are dirt-cheap—lower than $10, in some cases, with probably the most feature-filled fashions topping out round $40. You’ll discover all the things from easy aluminum sleeves to bigger multi-drive docks that may hook up with quite a lot of totally different ports. USB enclosures are by far the commonest, however eSATA, Thunderbolt, and Firewire enclosures can be found too.

Exterior drive enclosures are pretty merely gadgets. For instance, they will take an ordinary 2.5-inch SATA drive and bridge the SATA interface to USB, or one other interface of your selecting. Some enclosures are sealed and switch your previously inner drive into a conveyable storage gadget, whereas others perform as extra of a dock, the place drives could also be related at will.

Exterior enclosures will not be only for laborious drives, both. An previous SSD could be an ideal candidate for a high-speed exterior drive—particularly because it in all probability value a fairly penny. The USB interface present in most enclosures might not have the ability to exploit the entire efficiency advantages of an SSD, however an SSD in an exterior enclosure geared up with a USB three.zero port will nonetheless shift recordsdata round at a speedy fee.

Prep work

There are some things to think about earlier than putting in your drive into an exterior enclosure. If the drive is encrypted, for instance, it’s possible you’ll need to re-connect it to the unique system to entry it and again up any vital knowledge on the drive. Even when the drive will not be encrypted, it’s in all probability a good suggestion to again all the things up beforehand.

On very uncommon events, compatibility points might stop you from accessing a drive put in into an exterior enclosure with out re-formatting it. A lot of the exterior enclosures accessible in the present day, nevertheless, characteristic mature know-how and are pretty dependable. Regardless, it couldn’t damage to again issues up—simply in case.

The meeting course of

Putting in a drive into an exterior enclosure is normally very straightforward. For the needs of this text, I picked up a Kingwin ATK-25U3-BK USB three.zero enclosure on NewEgg for about $27, however the meeting course of ought to be related for all laborious drive enclosures.

The Kingwin ATK-25U3-BK contains the entire cables obligatory to attach it to a PC, together with a easy carrying case. Putting in a drive into the enclosure required just one device—a small Phillips-head screwdriver. I needed to take away 4 small screws from every nook of the enclosure and slide out a small circuit board (the part with the connectors connected).

The circuit board contains a bridge that converts the SATA interface to USB three.zero. There’s additionally a skinny, clear protecting defend that protects the underside of the drive being put in, which is the place a 2.5-inch laborious drive’s controller board is often uncovered. The drive slides proper onto the small circuit board; merely line up the male/feminine SATA knowledge and energy connectors and push them collectively.

As soon as the drive is related to the converter board, the entire meeting slides into the enclosure. Tighten the screws that maintain the enclosure collectively, and it’s able to go.

After stationing your laborious drive within the enclosure, all you’ve acquired left to do is plug it into an accessible USB port in your PC. Simple!

To make use of your new exterior drive, all it is best to need to do is plug it into an accessible USB port in your PC. Some enclosures will embrace two USB cables (as ours did)—one for knowledge and the opposite for supplemental energy. If the enclosure you select requires two cables, join them each to make sure dependable operation. Many drives will work with simply the only knowledge cable connected, as a result of it may present some energy. Below load, nevertheless, a single USB port might not have the ability to present sufficient juice, and the drive may drop from the system.

You needn’t retire or recycle previous laborious drives. Put it into an exterior drive enclosure, and you’ll hold the information with you or use the drive as transportable storage. Within the throwaway tradition of excessive tech, this resolution’s a keeper.

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