Other reasons for wanting to convert an internal hard drive to an external hard drive include wanting a separate portable backup or alternate hard drive not connected to your computer, or wanting to access your laptop’s hard drive from your desktop. Whatever the reason, learn how to choose an external hard drive now.
Step 1: Determine the size of your hard drive. Most desktop hard drives are 3.5″ so you’ll need a 3.5″ hard drive enclosure for that. The exception is solid state drives (SSD) hard drives which are either 2.5″ or 1.8″. Laptop hard drives are mostly 2.5″ though some are 1.8″. CD and DVD drives are 5.25″.
Step 2: Find out if your hard drive uses SATA or the older IDE (also called ATA) interface. A SATA drive uses a 2″ wide cable to connect the drive to the motherboard whereas a IDE drive uses a smaller, roughly 1/2″ cable to connect the drive to the motherboard. The enclosure you buy will list whether it supports SATA, IDE, or both.
Step 3: Check that you have the ports to connect the external hard drive enclosure to your computer, and decide which method you want to use. The most common methods are USB and IEEE 1394 (FireWire) followed by eSATA and Ethernet. All are effective options for connection.
Step 4: Decide how you want to power the now external hard drive. You can choose between AC adapter and USB port.
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