Moving hard drives for morons

Well, moron. Namely: Me.

So my kid’s computer is dead. I don’t know what the hell she’s doing in there, but here computer karma sucks. This was a fine machine until I rolled it down to her, but now the mobo is dead. Damn teenagers.

ANYHOO: In the short run, I need to help her get data of the thing, kind of quick-like. The only thing I can really think of doing is to take the drive out of her machine and stick it in mine. So, first:

  1. Is this the best solution for just getting some data off quickly? Or is there something else I could that would be easier?

  2. If I do need to do this, how complicated is this procedure? It’s the C: drive in her machine, but I’d obviously want to make it a secondary drive in my own. Can I do this easily, assuming my tech skills kind of normally max out at putting cold food in a microwave?

Any advice would be great. Thanks…

If it’s IDE, set the jumper to “slave” if you connect it to the same cable as your current drive.

If it’s SATA just plug it in.

For a quick-n-dirty data dump you could just open up the case and hook up the cables, without fully installing it. It should automatically reassign it to an available drive letter. The only other issue I can think of is if it tries to boot off of her drive instead of yours due to their ordering, but there should be a way to override that and force it to boot off a specific drive (F8 while it’s booting up lets me select the drive with my BIOS, for example).

A better way is to drop it into a nice enclosure and hook it up via USB or eSATA, but that depends on actually having the enclosure when you need it…

Get a USB adapter like this:

Then you can pull her drive out, and hook it to your machine, or her new PC, via USB and won’t need to worry about inadvertantly pulling the wrong cable in your PC. It’s also nice since you can then hook her old drive up to a laptop if she goes that route. The drive can be accessed in this manner on Macs or PC’s.

huh, okay—all good idears so far. Thanks! I’m pretty sure it’s IDE btw.

and Fugitive when you say “enclosure” you mean, what? Just a case or something? And then use an adapter like mono sez in the post after yours?

Something like this, and you can get them in various combinations of what connections it accepts internally and externally (that one’s only for SATA drives, but there are others that accept both SATA and IDE). You can then hotswap it much like you would a USB thumb drive.

The cable mono linked to would probably be better for emergency cases though, since the cheaper enclosures can be a pain to open up and swap drives.

gotcha, okay. Err. is it easy to put the drive into the enclosure? Do you just dump it in there, or is there a lot of messing around to do? Again, I’m asking because I’m not so great with teh wiring.

The cable I linked would be the only thing you’d need, and supports any type of hard drive. You’d only need an enclosure if you want to turn the external drive into a long term backup archive.

User MS Synctoy for the actual move!

did you buy the acronis bundle for cheap?

I’ll second going the usb cable route. I have several of them (vantec brand) and use them all the time.
Hooking it up is really easy. Usually it comes with a molex 4 pin power adapter (and probably a converter power cable if you are using sata, but not in your case). Then the multi headed IO end you’ve got sata on one side, ide 3.5" and ide 2.5" on the other sides.

So just plug in the ide 3.5" connector into your hard drive (make sure it’s jumpered correctly, either master or sometimes cable select), it’s keyed so you can’t really screw it up, plug in the 4 pin molex cable for power, then on the other end just plug in the usb cable (preferably into a usb port that comes directly off your motherboard to avoid any other potential issues with hubs and such). Essentially it’s usb 2.0 <-> ide/sata bridge with an external molex power supply or think of it as an enclosure without the enclosing bits and just the guts.

It should show up as the usual mass storage device and get assigned the next drive letter (say D:). That’s it. Copy off all the data you want. It won’t mess up the drive either. It should still boot once you stick it back into your pc (with a working motherboard of course).

That antec mx-1 enclosure (or this) is nice too. I’ve got 3 of the mx-1’s now. Those are great if you plan to keep it in an enclosure on a more permanent basis. The cable is better if you just temporarily want to quickly mount a drive and copy data off.

Okay. This sounds like the way to go I guess. My main concern of course is with this whole thing messing with my own computer. If I can just do this via USB, that makes me feel better. Thanks gang…

Does anyone else remember the days when a young(er) Jeff Green, as a proud new papa, was regaling us from the pages of CGW with tales of indoctrinating his lil’ Zergling in the Way of the Gamer? I seem to recall Warcraft as a particular favorite.

[News flash: I remember way the hell too much useless trivia.]

And now she’s a teenager. Man, where does the time go?