How to take advantage of your old hard drive for external storage

How to take advantage of your 

old hard drive for external storage

How to take advantage of your old hard drive for external storage

If you have upgraded the storage systems of your PCs to SSD it is likely that you have accumulated a few hard drives. There is no going back. It is an unstoppable transition in the consumer market. This does not mean that we cannot take advantage of them for other tasks.

A clear (and highly recommended) destination is to mount them on NAS computers, which in addition to serving as a storage server will not force you to install as much internal storage capacity on your computers where you install the new solid-state drives. Another good way to take advantage of them is by creating external storage units that we can use for multiple uses. For example, to increase the storage capacity of other equipment; save backup copies; use them as boot media to install operating systems, or as an external disk for entertainment content that connected to a router or a smart tv allows us to watch movies or series on the local network.

How to Leverage a Hard Drive for External Storage

In a very simple and economical way as we will remind you in this article because there are solutions below 10 $ to convert our hard drive externally based on different adapters.

Single cable

The simplest of all is a  single cable that connects the interface (and power) of a hard drive to an external port on a desktop or laptop. It is an unsightly solution in sight and when transporting it so we would only use it on a desk. Of course, cheaper and simply impossible.

SATA cable, old hard drive for external storage


More expensive than the above but more versatile and aesthetic is a  docking station or dock. Its use is as simple as 'puncturing' the hard drives in their housings and connecting the base to a PC. Generally, they offer several 2.5 or 3.5-inch disk bays which are the ones you have removed from laptops or desktops and can handle various interfaces. Its installation is very simple and without the need for any tools. It is mainly focused on uses in a computer desk (or room to connect to the router, streamer, or television) although like the previous one it can be transported and used in different equipment. There is a wide offer in all price ranges.

How to take advantage of your old hard drive for external storage


The most elegant thing is to use a casing-chassis where we will place the hard drive. It is simply a matter of removing some screws because the circuitry is already included inside. There is an offer for 3.5-inch disks and also for 2.5-inch disks, which are the best solution if we want to use it as a portable hard drive that we are going to move off the desktop. As with the docks, the offer is vast with all kinds of designs that suit the desk, living room, or mobility.

Considerations for using a hard drive for external storage

Considerations for using a hard drive for external storage

As you have seen, using one of the above systems is as simple as it is inexpensive, but before choosing there are some considerations to keep in mind. The first is obvious and refers to making sure that the condition of the hard drives was good because they worked correctly when they were dismounted.

Size and Interface

The first consideration is to know the size (form factor) and the interface of the hard drives that we have. The most normal thing is that we have hard drives with standard sizes of  3.5 and 2.5 inches. The former is generally used on desktop PCs while the 2.5-inch ones are common on laptops.

In both cases we can take advantage of them to create external units although in those intended for laptops we will have to make sure of their thickness to buy the adapter, taking into account that we can find  12.5, 9, and 7 mm. The latter will be the most suitable if we want to use the external unit in mobility due to its smaller size and weight, while the former will surely offer us greater storage capacity.

As for the interface (internal connections to the motherboard), we can find the oldest  PATA  (also known as IDE) that dominated the market from the 80s to the beginning of the century or the most modern  SATA  that was introduced from 2003. If we have to choose obviously we would do it for the SATA that will offer us higher performance.

External connection interface

When buying the adapter we must also take into account the interface that we are going to use for its connection, be it USB, FireWire, eSATA, and even Thunderbolt. eSATA is very, very fast because it connects directly to the computer's SATA interface. The problem is that it is not available on many computers. The same can be said of Thunderbolt, in addition, that there is little offer. In the case of FireWire, it will surely be the option if we are going to use our external drive preferably with Apple computers.

The natural choice for most users will be to opt for the USB port that offers the greatest compatibility of all formats and reasonable performance if we use versions starting with USB 3.0. We will also find them with USB 2.0 output, even more, compatible but much slower. As for the connector, we can find adapters with the standard size, micro, or a combination of both.

How to take advantage of your old hard drive for external storage

Do not hesitate. Although the industry offers a great offer of external storage solutions, including pen drive formats, those based on SD memory cards or units as advanced as the portable SSD and wireless WD My Passport Wireless SSD that we discussed this week, use our old hard drive For external storage it is a  simple and economic way to take advantage of them. taking into account the previous considerations and buying a suitable adapter for each situation of use.

No comments