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How To Configure Old Hard Drive On New Computer?

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December 25, 2011 2:38:24 PM

I am working on an old Dell Dimension E520 that has a broken power supply. The owners are buying a new laptop for Christmas and want me to transfer the files from their old hard drive onto their laptop. I took out the hard drive and notice it was a Western Digital SATA interface 250 GB HDD with firmware B3.

I tried to connect this to my new computer which is a Dell Inspiron 620 Slim Tower with the same SATA interface, but I could not figure out how to get the old hard drive to work. I booted the system up and it loaded up to the Windows XP loading page and then it goes directly to a blue screen that basically sets make sure your new hard drive is configured correctly, correct drivers, etc.

How do I make sure the hard drive is compatible with my system or how else can I get the files off the old hard drive onto an external hard drive to transfer to their laptop?

Please let me know if you need anymore information.
a c 323 G Storage
December 25, 2011 2:46:57 PM

I usually use an external hdd dock, that fits either 2.5 or 3.5 inch SATA drives.

You can try adding their drive to an extra SATA connector on your motherboard and use the power connector from your cd/dvd if you don't have an extra power connector free, but you won't be able to use their drive to start up your machine -- all the drivers are wrong for your devices/motherboard.

The most complex method would be to use your PSU to get their old machine running, and then pull the files off.
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December 25, 2011 3:25:41 PM

Yea I figured that out I won't be able to start it up with my computer because the drivers are wrong. So how do I know if my power supply would work to boot up their system? It obviously won't fit or anything so should I just like leave it on the ground while everything is plugged in or something. I really am clueless on what to do right now.
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December 25, 2011 5:06:18 PM

Does anyone else have any suggestions for what I can do?
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a c 323 G Storage
December 25, 2011 6:01:01 PM

chacol said:
Yea I figured that out I won't be able to start it up with my computer because the drivers are wrong. So how do I know if my power supply would work to boot up their system? It obviously won't fit or anything so should I just like leave it on the ground while everything is plugged in or something. I really am clueless on what to do right now.


You don't need to physically put your PSU inside the case, just make all the connections as you disconnect their old PSU.

As long as your PSU is rated for at least as many watts as theirs it will work fine.

First try the option of connecting their hdd to your machine on an extra sata connector -- much less work. You will still boot off of your hdd so drivers will not be an issue.
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December 25, 2011 6:13:07 PM

I don't know if I have an extra one because I have a slim tower so the power supply is really small and most likely only has the connectors for the parts that came with the computer. I know their is like a dual sata connector thing that one end is plugged into my HDD but the other connector that goes into the motherboard only has one I think. Idk what that connector is. Sorry I don't know much about SATA
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a c 323 G Storage
December 25, 2011 6:28:13 PM

chacol said:
I don't know if I have an extra one because I have a slim tower so the power supply is really small and most likely only has the connectors for the parts that came with the computer. I know their is like a dual sata connector thing that one end is plugged into my HDD but the other connector that goes into the motherboard only has one I think. Idk what that connector is. Sorry I don't know much about SATA


Let's step back -- does their old hdd and your new hdd have the same connectors?

There are two distinct issues here -- the information connection and the power connection, both have two possible types. When you say idk, do you mean ide, which is a wide ribbon type data cable, where sata is a smaller more wire like cable.

The power connectors can be molex (plastic with 4 large metal pins) or sata power (flat black little L shape with 15 total pins that don't look like pins but like contacts down inside the connector). You have to be able to match same to same -- so if their computer has an old ide interface and molex connector and yours is sata, you would need adapters.

If they are the same on both, and if there is not a spare sata power or sata data connector on your computer then perhaps the dvd is sata and you can unplug it and use those connectors temporarily.
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December 25, 2011 6:54:34 PM

They are both SATA and they both have another connector that goes into the motherboard which I have no idea what that is called. I do believe the DVD is sata now that I think about it, I will need to open it up again later and test it out.

I'm not sure if there is an extra one or not, but if I do manage to get it up and running on my HDD with theirs loaded on how do I go about transferring the files. Is there any good programs that I should use to backup the data and just transfer it onto the external HDD?

Also, I haven't bought the external HDD so is there any suggestions on what I should look for? Most likely I need like 250-300GB that supports Windows XP, Vista, and 7.
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a c 323 G Storage
December 25, 2011 7:07:30 PM

Since they are both sata you are in luck if your DVD is also sata, as that would be a real quick attachment -- just stabilize their drive next to your machine so it doesn't fall when running, can be oriented in any position.

For now, I would say back their stuff up onto a file you create on your HDD called "X's stuff" and then copy it to dvds later or an external drive when you get one.

I would get a nice large drive, like 500mb or even 1Tb so you can do routine backups and save lots of data. Western Digital or Seagate are both fine external drives, if you get a full size, I like the WD MyBook essentials 1Tb. Hunt for a sale, as prices have gone up since the flooding in Thailand in October.
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December 25, 2011 7:34:18 PM

Would I really need that much storage for transferring files? The cheapest that I found for the WD MyBook is $139.99 at Newegg and Microcenter. I have enough to buy it, but I would rather not spend that much money if I do not need that much storage space.

The only reason I would be tempted to buy that is for future proof in case this ever comes up again and it does have the USB 3.0 feature.
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December 25, 2011 7:49:13 PM

Okay it worked with my DVD connectors. Thanks a lot. Now I just got to figure out what they need transferred and I should be set to go. Thank you so much for this!

It does turn out that my computer doesn't have any extra connectors except like a dual boot thingy on the same connector. I'm not sure how that works for sata for the master/slave thing, but it has one of those.
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a c 323 G Storage
December 25, 2011 7:54:34 PM

chacol said:
Would I really need that much storage for transferring files? The cheapest that I found for the WD MyBook is $139.99 at Newegg and Microcenter. I have enough to buy it, but I would rather not spend that much money if I do not need that much storage space.

The only reason I would be tempted to buy that is for future proof in case this ever comes up again and it does have the USB 3.0 feature.


Well, no you probably don't really NEED that much space right now and prices are high, which is why I would wait for a Newegg New Year's sale or whatever. HDD prices will probably remain high for the next year -- the drive that is now $140 was as low as $75 before the flooding. :( 

It does have USB 3 that is fully backward compatible to USB 2, so it future proofs.

If you go with a smaller size "for now" purchase, then I would go with a Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 500GB, which is a very convenient 2.5 inch small size drive that is easy to carry. They run around $100, but again I would wait for a good sale at Newegg or Amazon. The smaller drives, like 320s are just not much cheaper right now.

Even the alternative of a small internal drive and a dock is no longer attractive since the very small drives are way up in price now. You may want to consider just waiting a while if you can, certainly wait for a sale -- they will come soon with the weak economy and poor sales.

It's a little hard for me to relate to small storage. I rip all my BluRay disks to an AV hdd array so I can stream them through the house and backup 6 machines to it also -- it is RAID 5 with 8 3tb drives in a separate server and has over 300 high def movies already (I'm thankful I bought the drives in September since prices have more than tripled from what I paid). :pt1cable:  I do like that 1Tb WD My Book though, I carry one one the road for work when I travel with my full mp3 collection and all my work stuff.
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