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Hooking up old computer's internal hard drive to new computer as slave

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March 3, 2011 11:27:26 PM

Hello,
I got some kind of virus/malware on my old computer two weeks ago, to the extent that the computer couldn't even start successfully (it would attempt to, but it would never be able to reach the desktop - it would just keep restarting over and over). I just bought a new computer and would now like to try to transfer my files from my old hard drive of the old computer to the new computer. The Microsoft technician that I talked to said that this was possible - by making the old hard drive the "slave". However, I am uncertain on how to physically do this. I have quite a bit of experience on the software side - programming, etc., but very little with hardware - so I was wondering if anyone here could guide me on how to do it, or show me a webpage that explains this. I've tried to look for some pages on Google, but I couldn't find anything that was clear and applicable. Both computers are Dell, the old one I bought in 2007 and is Vista, the new one is Windows 7. I appreciate your help. :) 

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a b G Storage
March 4, 2011 11:38:46 AM

Make sure that the new computer has up to date antivirus software.

If the old drive is SATA, just pull it and install it in the new computer using a SATA power connector from the PSU and a SATA data cable.

If it is an IDE drive, use the data cable from the old computer and plug it into the IDE port on the motherboard. Connect a 4 pin drive cable.

All of the cables are keyed and they will only go in one way.

Boot. Make sure that the computer can see both drives. Boot. Do a virus scan. Then transfer the data files. Do not transfer any program files or .DLL files. You could be transfering a virus.

After the data files are transfered, reformat the old drive. Do another virus scan.
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March 4, 2011 8:49:24 PM

Thanks for your quick reply, jsc.

I have removed the old drive, and it is SATA. But I'm unsure how to proceed from there. I saw two cables that were connected to the hard drive, one was more narrow and blue, and its other end was directly connected to something that I'm guessing is the motherboard and that end was removable as well, so I assume that I can take that same cable and connect the hard drive to the new computer with it. I'm guessing that this one is the SATA data cable you referred to.

The other cable is wider and multi-colored (black, yellow, orange and red), and I could remove the end that was attached to the hard drive, but the other end leads to somewhere that I can't reach (at least not without taking more things apart). I'm guessing that this is the SATA power connector you referred to that connects to the PSU (power supply unit?), but I don't know how to remove that cable (or perhaps I have to buy one).

I apologize if these are "noobish" questions, but I've never done this before and I want to make sure I'm getting it right. Thanks again for your help (or anyone else who wants to reply).
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a c 143 G Storage
March 4, 2011 9:00:52 PM

You are correct... One was you power cable and one was your SATA cable. You can remove the SATA cable to use it in your new system. You will want to use a free SATA power connector from your new PC's power supply. You plug it in to the hard drive and should be good to go. Here is a image of the SATA power connector.



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March 4, 2011 9:09:14 PM

Thank you, tecmo34. I will try it now. If you never hear from me again, you will know I seriously screwed something up. :lol:  Just kidding, hopefully it will work, and I will reply to let you know I succeeded. :wahoo: 
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March 4, 2011 9:38:28 PM

I lol'd with the instructional picture :lol: 

Make sure to go into the BIOS on POST and select the Hard Drive in your new computer to boot from. If not it could try to boot the old HD first (depending on your SATA order).

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March 4, 2011 10:52:52 PM

Thanks megamanx00, but I already did it before seeing your reply, and it looks like it's working fine. I can see that my current "C" drive is the new hard drive (that came inside the new computer) and not the old virus-infected one that I'm trying to retrieve my files from. I think the internal hard drive is always connected to "SATA 0" and it always boots that one as the primary boot drive, and since I just added the old hard drive to "SATA 2" or whatever it was, and didn't touch any other connections, I think it worked fine without going into the BIOS.

I am doing the virus scan right now as jsc suggested. It looks like it will take a while and I'm not going in to look at the contents and transfer the files until the scan is finished. I can see the new drive (it's "E") in "My Computer", so I'm assuming that everything worked fine. I'm so glad I didn't lose all the stuff on my old hard drive.

Thanks again to everyone who helped. :) 
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a c 143 G Storage
March 4, 2011 10:56:50 PM

Glad it worked and hopefully the virus scan removes the virus and you can get your old data.
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March 15, 2011 6:28:23 AM

Best answer selected by lishaohua.
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nSorry to bump this thread, but I just got two e-mails from this site saying I should come here to select the "best answer", so I came back to do so, and also just wanted to inform everyone that it did work successfully and I was able to retrieve my old files (at least most of them - I think there were a few missing, probably the effect of the virus/malware). It turns out this was actually pretty easy to do and an enjoyable experience as well. The main thing was that I didn't realize there was already an extra SATA power connector inside the box. It's a nice thing that they put an extra one in there, I guess it's specifically for purposes such as these. I had a bit of difficulty on deciding on my "best answer" choice between jsc and tecmo34, but I went with jsc since it was the first response and was the most comprehensive, as tecmo34 went on to answer my more specific follow-up question (and took the extra effort to provide a picture).
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nThanks to everyone who helped!
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December 22, 2012 1:46:16 AM

jsc said:
Make sure that the new computer has up to date antivirus software.

If the old drive is SATA, just pull it and install it in the new computer using a SATA power connector from the PSU and a SATA data cable.

If it is an IDE drive, use the data cable from the old computer and plug it into the IDE port on the motherboard. Connect a 4 pin drive cable.

All of the cables are keyed and they will only go in one way.

Boot. Make sure that the computer can see both drives. Boot. Do a virus scan. Then transfer the data files. Do not transfer any program files or .DLL files. You could be transfering a virus.

After the data files are transfered, reformat the old drive. Do another virus scan.

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December 22, 2012 1:49:58 AM

jsc said:
Make sure that the new computer has up to date antivirus software.

If the old drive is SATA, just pull it and install it in the new computer using a SATA power connector from the PSU and a SATA data cable.

If it is an IDE drive, use the data cable from the old computer and plug it into the IDE port on the motherboard. Connect a 4 pin drive cable.

All of the cables are keyed and they will only go in one way.

Boot. Make sure that the computer can see both drives. Boot. Do a virus scan. Then transfer the data files. Do not transfer any program files or .DLL files. You could be transfering a virus.

After the data files are transfered, reformat the old drive. Do another virus scan.


Hi,

I am contemplating having to follow these instructions as my old HP Pavilion's power supply died today, and I cannot retrieve files. I am planning to go purchase another desktop box. Question: My old box was running on XP. If the new box has Win7 or Win8, will there be an issue in the new machine being able to read the old harddrive to copy files from it?
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April 22, 2013 2:10:38 PM

Is there any way to connect an older hard drive this way via a usb port?
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