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If you’re fed up with the slow speed of your computer (desktop or laptop), what are you going to do with this old hard drive? In fact, turning HDD to USB is a better choice than throwing away the old hard drive; it’s more economical and environmentally friendly. This post will show you how to convert internal hard drive to external USB in detail.

Many users’ first reaction to a slow and old computer is replacing the hard drive with a new one or with a SSD. Some people also choose to buy a new computer for a better experience. Either way, your old hard drive will be put aside.

Please don’t throw the old drive away; it is still useful. Making old HDD to USB is a more economical and environmentally friendly choice. It only takes surprisingly little effort for you to convert internal hard drive to external USB.


HDD to USB: A Better Way to Dispose Old Drive

You need to prepare an external hard drive enclosure before changing internal hard drive to USB; it works as the SATA-to-USB converter to allow you to turn an internal SATA hard drive into an external USB drive. What you should do before converting hard drive is to transfer data from hard drive or use software from MiniTool to backup data. Then, determine whether the old drive is ok. If the drive is working file, you should follow the steps that will be explained in the following content.

If any files get lost unexpectedly, you should retrieve data from hard drive by following this:

Recover Files From Dead External Hard Drive With Actionable Way

If you are stuck in finding ways to recover files from dead external hard drive efficiently, this passage will be very helpful.

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How to Convert Internal HDD to External

Step one: take out your old hard drive, and remove the brackets and screws on it carefully.

remove brackets and screws

Step two: confirm the size of your internal hard drive (the laptop hard drive is usually 2.5 inch while the desktop hard drive is 3.5 inch). Confirm the interface of hard drive (IDE, SATA, or PATA).

Step three: look for an external hard drive enclosure/internal hard drive to USB adapter that is suitable for your old drive.

Step four: connect the old hard drive to the enclosure carefully.

connect drive to enclosure

Step five: attach the enclosure to your desktop or laptop by using the USB cable.

Step six: open Windows File Explorer to check whether your drive shows up there. If it does appear, it means it is ready for use; if it doesn’t appear, you should read this post to know how to fix.

If the system tells you that the Windows Explorer needs to be restarted, what you should do to solve the problem?

Windows Explorer Needs To Be Restarted: Problem Solved

It’s easy to encounter Windows Explorer needs to be restarted issue on Windows; this post tells you how to fix it properly.

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That’s how to turn internal hard drive to external. Now, you can use the USB hard drive like any other external hard drives.

For users who want to convert internal hard drive to external without enclosure, they should make their own external HD enclosure by following this.

What to Consider When Buying an Enclosure

When buying an enclosure for converting HDD to USB, you should take 2 things into consideration: interface and size. The interface and size of the enclosure to buy must match that of your hard drive.

  • If the hard drive is taken out from a laptop, it’s possible that the interface is SATA (there are also a small number of laptop hard drives equipped with an IDE interface) and the size is 2.5 inch. Therefore, you need a 2.5” SATA enclosure.
  • If the hard drive was used in a desktop originally, it’s possible that it has a PATA interface and 3.5 inch size. At this time, you should look for a 3.5” enclosure that gives support to PATA/IDE.

You can actually convert the old internal hard drive to external and use it for storing files, backing up data, and keeping videos/games that can be used on your TV/PS4.

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