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Xfer broken computer HDD to External HDD Question

Last response: in Storage
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December 7, 2009 11:05:33 AM

Hey guys my dad wants to transfer his old computers HDD to his Dell computer that works or else an external HDD. The old hard drive has no SATA connections and it looked like it was linked to the CD-Rom drive too. There are files on the Old HDD that he needs to access so is there a way to connect this into the Dell computer or else transfer the files into an external HDD? I have not yet opened up the Dell to see if there is space for it but I would rather use the old HDD as an external or else buy an external hdd.

Thanks
Anonymous
a b G Storage
December 7, 2009 12:33:32 PM

Open the Dell and see if it also uses IDE connectors -- don't be distracted by the fact that the old drive appeared to be connected to a CD-ROM drive, it's not -- they just share a cable. Be aware that when two IDE devices are attached to the same cable, one must be set to Master and the other to Slave.


Alternatively take the drive in to a specialist dealer and see if buying an IDE to USB adapter which comes with a power supply unit is the answer.

An IDE type external drive enclosure would do the same job, perhaps at slightly higher cost.

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December 7, 2009 2:11:37 PM

Ok i know the dell has extra slots in front but I have to see if there is anyroom to plug it in. So are there adapters I can buy to transfer this information to an external device?
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a c 342 G Storage
December 7, 2009 5:19:58 PM

It really sounds like the old drive is simply an IDE unit - the MOST common HDD interface before SATA. So you have three options available. The simplest is to move it from the old computer to the Dell, using the Dell's facilities already there. To mount an IDE HDD in a computer as an internal you need a physical space for it - could be either an empty hard drive bay, or even a bay intended for a 5¼" or 3½" front-access unit like a floppy drive, just with the front cover left in place - plus a power connector from the PSU - VERY likely a 4-pin Molex - and a data cable connection to a mobo port. MANY computers had TWO IDE ports on their mobo's (more recent ones may have only one, a few don't have any), and each of these can handle TWO devices that share a ribbon cable. The cable is called "80-conductor" and has 80 wires in it, but the connectors have only 40 holes. The cable has three connectors on it - one at an end to plug into the mobo port connector, one at the other end for the Master device, and one in the middle for the Slave. When you say it appears to be "linked to the CD-Rom drive too", that's because the old HDD and the CD-ROM are just two units sharing one IDE port and cable. Note that SOME computers had IDE cables missing the middle connector, which limits you. But the port always can support TWO devices as long as you replace the ribbon cable with one that has three connectors in total.

Because an IDE port can have two devices, each needs a unique identifier. This is done by setting jumpers on a pin block between the 4-pin Molex power input and the 40-pin data connectors on the back edge of the HDD unit. The drive usually has a diagram on its label to tell you how to set the jumpers. For ONE IDE port you MUST have one Master device to use it at all. IF you have two devices, the second MUST be Slave. You should plug the Master device into the cable's END connector, and the Slave into the middle. (There is one exception - you can set jumpers on BOTH devices to "CS" for "Cable Select", and then the device on the END of the data cable WILL be the Master.) With a combination of HDD and CD-ROM on one port / cable, use the HDD as Master, and the optical drive as Slave. This all applies to ONE IDE port. If you are using a second port, too, the same rules apply - there MUST be one Master on the second port, and any second device on this port must be Slave. So with a two-port mobo you could have up to 4 IDE devices - two Masters (one on each port) and two Slaves.

Your second option would be to buy an external enclosure of the right type and mount the old IDE drive inside it. In doing this you need to choose two things. One is the type of interface used internally to connect HDD to case - in your situation, the enclosure needs to accept an IDE drive. The other is the way the enclosure connects to your computer - choices usually are USB, eSATA, or Firewire (IEEE 1394), or some combination of these. Choose according to what external ports you have available on the Dell.

The third option is an adapter that allows you to connect an IDE drive to a USB port without mounting the drive inside an external enclosure. This may be OK as a temporary way to move files off the old drive, but it is a no-protection poor method for continuous use.
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December 7, 2009 6:06:06 PM

Thanks for that very informative reply. I am going to go with the second option of buying an external enclosure. I think this will fit him better as he can plug it in and access it when needed. Thank you for the great help! I am gaining a lot of new knowledge reading about computers and I kind of like it! Shhhh dont let my friends know. J/K Thanks
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