Newbie question: Installing an old hard drive

Alright, I have a hard drive that's been sitting around for a year with a lot of stuff still on it (it wasn't formatted). I've never actually opened a PC, let alone install a hard drive but it doesn't seem too difficult and I'd like to be able to use the extra hard drive and get some of the old stuff off of it. I have a few questions regarding it, however:

1. This was originally the main hard drive before something went wrong with it. I'm not exactly sure what happened to it, but my computer wouldn't detect it (my computer didn't boot up) and I ended up buying a new one. Would I still be able to use it as a secondary hard drive or is it "gone"?
2. Would the data still on it be recoverable despite the problems I had with it before (computer not detecting it and not booting up)?
3. As I mentioned, it was originally the main hard drive of my computer and it had Windows Vista among other things installed on it. Do I need to format it or do anything special after connecting it to my computer to avoid it conflicting with my primary hard drive?
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More about newbie question installing hard drive
  1. is it sata or ide?

    if its ide you want to connect it as a slave drive or on a seperate ide channel from the main drive--if its sata the master and slave bit doesnt apply

    plug it in to power and data cable -put your finger on the drive--if you feel vibration its at least spinning and you have a chance to recover data if its not spinning forget it
  2. Thanks. How about my third question? It was the original hard drive with Windows and everything installed to it, does it matter if I have it connected properly or do I need to do anything else to make sure it doesn't actually boot up from that hard drive?
  3. just choose to boot from the other drive--either by the boot menu--usually accessed during startup by pressing one of the f keys or set the drive as 1st boot in the bios
  4. A couple of suggestions.

    First, read the motherboard manual and make sure that your current boot device is attached to SATA port one. This way, if the boot order gets corrupted it will pick the first drive it sees - the one you intend to boot from.

    Second, if you cannot read the data and need it, this fine collection of people can suggest utilities to recover the data.
  5. Kind of embarrasing :(

    Attempted to remove the SATA hard drive from my old computer, but it seems to be stuck. The model of the computer is an Aspire M3100 (prebuilt) and the hard drive bay has green sliders to slide left/right for unlocked/locked respectively. Doesn't appear to be any screws, the hard drive just won't budge at all no matter how hard I try. First time inside a computer so I don't know if there's anything special I need to do.

    Any help would appreciated.
  6. you might find although its got the sliders that on the other side of the hard drive they have put screws in--you will need to take the other side panel off to see them
  7. mcnumpty23 said:
    you might find although its got the sliders that on the other side of the hard drive they have put screws in--you will need to take the other side panel off to see them

    The motherboard among other things appear to be attached to the other side, it just won't budge. This old PC was serviced a long time ago where a dead hard drive was replaced by a new one and the "warranty sticker" that attached the other side of the case to the case wasn't touched, so I assume it was done without opening up the other side. Anything else I should be looking for? I really don't care if I have to break it (everything in there is YEARS old), I just want the hard drive :(
  8. heres the service manual online--just use the search box for whatever you want --ie hdd removal--it looks like the green rail should just slide out

    http://www.manualowl.com/m/Acer%20Computers/Aspire-M3100/Manual/114174?search=hdd&x=0&y=0
  9. sorry wont let me edit--or you can download it from same site--hdd removal is on page 57
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