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How to convert a laptop HDD to an external drive?
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How to convert a laptop HDD to an external drive?

  #1 (permalink)
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How to convert a laptop HDD to an external drive?

Hi futures.io (formerly BMT) members,

My laptop has crashed on me today.. sigh..

I wish to salvage my internal HDD and convert it to an external HDD, as I suspect that it's the motherboard at fault. Can anyone advise me on how to do it?

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  #2 (permalink)
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If your laptop is not too old, the hard drive should be SATA interface. This docking station should work.


Thermaltake BlacX N0028USU External Hard Drive SATA Enclosure Docking Station 2.5" & 3.5" USB 2.0 - Newegg.com

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As it happens I was just looking at installing a solid-state drive, while using the current drive as a backup. In the process I learned about external drive enclosures (you want the 2.5-inch enclosure for a laptop hard drive). It seems like a straight-forward process. You need a screwdriver to open the laptop hard drive bay (accessed from the bottom of your laptop). Turn off and unplug your laptop from the electrical socket. Unplug the hard drive from the laptop. Plug it into the respective plug in the enclosure. Then, plug the enclosure to your new laptop or computer via USB/Firewire/whatever connection. This is if you want an enclosure such as this one. The above commenter links to a different type of external drive bay, which has no enclosure.

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Hi @omaha786 and @aptare,

Thanks very much for your suggestions!

@aptare, my laptop HDD has Windows 7 installed. Will it interfere with another laptop's OS when I follow the steps to make it an external drive using an enclosure?

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  #5 (permalink)
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To be honest with you, I'm not sure. For what it is worth, I'll try answering your question to the best of my knowledge. In most instances, you should have no problems retrieving files from the external drive using the operating system on your internal drive. There may be formatting issues in some instances, such as an operating system not being able to save/retrieve from NTFS or FAT.

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There should be no problem accessing your former system drive in an enclosure from another Windows 7 system,
if you just turned it on with your new laptop already turned on. Then your new Win7 system will automatically assign it a drive letter and not designate it as the active drive. However you may not be able to access your old files in your users/<username>/ area if it was protected by a password.

If you set your laptop's BIOS to boot from USB, you could even boot from your external old Windows 7 system. (best to have your new system drive in your new laptop removed first, or you could just place your old win 7 hdd in your new laptop instead) The drivers may be all wrong, but the old system Win7 will automatically attempt to try it's best to match generic drivers and at least you may be able to boot up in safe mode. Then you could catch up with your old system and save or delete as you want.

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Dear @aptare and @Cloudy,

Thanks for your kind replies, I appreciate them..

I'll try it out this weekend and sure hope I can get my lost data back..

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