How to Turn an Old Hard Drive into an External Enclosure

3 minutes read
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Published on
March 28, 2018
Updated on
November 16, 2023

Wondering what to do with the old hard drive you just removed from your laptop or desktop? Well, you could just keep it as a spare, but be installing it into an external enclosure and making it effectively used as a portable device would be a wise idea! These are great for backing up your files, having a second operating system to boot to, or just for more storage.

What you’ll need?

  • An external hard drive enclosure
  • A screwdriver

A step by step guide explaining how to turn a spare internal hard drive into a portable USB drive whether it is an HHD or SSD!

Step 1: If you haven't already done so, remove any brackets and screws from the hard drive.

Step 2: Open up the caddy, the Inateck FE2005 enclosure which is a tool-less model, so it's a simple case of unlocking it with the switch, sliding open the end and inserting in the hard drive. Be careful to slide the hard disk in the right way up - look inside to see the orientation of the SATA port.

Step 3: Use the included USB cable to attach the enclosure to your PC or laptop.

Step 4: Depending on what's on the disk, it may show up in Windows File Explorer and be ready to use. Because our disk was from a Windows laptop, it was formatted as NTFS and was assigned a drive letter automatically.

You can treat it like any hard drive, copying files to it, or formatting it. If you plan only to use it with Windows, you can leave it formatted as NTFS, but it's best to use exFAT if you want to connect it to other devices such as set-top boxes for video playback.

Step 5: If it doesn't show up in Windows Explorer, search the Start menu for Disk Management and then look for a disk with unallocated space, or a disk without a drive letter assigned. You can then right-click on it and format it.

What is an external enclosure?

These are the caddies that are inexpensive and allow you to turn an internal hard drive into an external one that you can use for backing up files or even to attach to your smart TV so you can pause programs or record them.

There are two main types - 3.5in and 2.5in. 3.5in hard drives are mainly used in desktop PCs, while 2.5in disks are used in laptops. Laptop hard drives vary in thickness (either 7mm or 9.5mm), so make sure your chosen caddy has enough height inside to accommodate your disk.

And most hard drives use the modern SATA connector, but older hard drives have IDE connectors with two rows of gold-colored pins. So, make sure you buy an enclosure which is compatible with your drive.

Is USB-C enclosure available?

Yes! USB-C ports are slowly becoming the standard and you'll find these on the latest PCs and laptops including the new MacBook. And the USB-C connection on this caddy can operate at up to 5Gb/s or 625MB/s, but it will be limited by the hard drive you put inside it.

“If you are looking to recover files lost after USB format, you can make use of Remo data recovery software and get the job done in few simple steps.”

However, it is simple to install your drive. As before you should check that you are inserting it the correct way around, check the orientation of the SATA connection. You can then use the included USB-C to USB-C cable to attach the portable drive to the USB-C port on your PC. No drivers are needed. So we can say that it is just a simple plug and play case.

So now your old hard drive turned into an external hard drive, which can be used to back up files, attach to a TV and used as a portable device as well! If you find yourself in a situation wherein your external hard drive is corrupt and showing CRC error when tried to access data from it, then make use of Remo Data Recovery Software and resolve the issue by recovering data from your drive.

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