Archived posts from this Category
Archived posts from this Category
Our goal in this article is to show you how to convert a hard drive to a USB. If you are unfamiliar with what a hard drive is, or what a hard drive looks like, then head over to our hard drive article where we provide a reasonably detailed introduction. If you are still confused then take a quick look at Wikipedia’s article on hard drives.
Before we go too far it is important to understand the similarities as well as the differences between a hard drive and a USB.
Hard drive and USB similarities:
Hard drive and USB differences:
In summary: Both the hard drive and USB are “permanent” data storage devices. The only real difference between them is how they connect, and communicate, with your computer! A hard drive connects to your motherboard via 2 special cables while a USB simply plugs into a USB port (readily available on modern computers).
Generally, there is no need to convert a hard drive to a USB. Hard drive’s are designed to stay inside your computer. If you need a portable storage device then you are best to head down to your local electronics store and buy an actual USB key; these days they are both cheap and large in storage size.
There are a few situations, however, when it is best to take your hard drive out of your computer and turn it into a USB. The primary examples are:
The process of converting a hard drive to a USB is not overly complicated; however, in order to do it you are going to need a special device called a hard drive to USB adapter. A hard drive to USB adapter is exactly what you would expect- a device which connects to a hard drive on one end and a USB port on the other.
Now before you go out and purchase a hard drive to USB adapter it is important to realize one thing: there are, generally speaking, 2 kinds of adapters:
There are 2 ways to determine which type of hard drive to USB adapter you need:
Once you have purchased the appropriate adapter you are ready to proceed through the appropriate guide!
If you determined you have an IDE hard drive then read the guide: Convert an IDE Hard Drive to USB.
If you determined you have a SATA hard drive then read the guide: Convert a SATA Hard Drive to USB.
This particular guide assumes that you are attempting to convert a SATA hard drive to a USB. It is important to note that you may need to modify this guide a tad bit depending upon the SATA to USB adapter you are using.
1) An appropriate SATA to USB adapter (see the previous section if need be)
2) Access to the computer whose hard drive we do wish to turn into a USB (we will call this PC-USB henceforth)
3) Access to a 2nd working computer (we will call this PC-OTH henceforth)
Table of Contents
1-1) If your SATA to USB adapter has an On/Off switch then set it to the Off position. If you can’t find an On/Off switch then simply head down to the next step!
2-1) Ground yourself by touching something metallic, like a sink or table legs, in order to get rid of any excess static electricity. You can then open up PC-USB’s case. Just as as reminder: PC-USB is the computer whose hard drive we do wish to turn into a USB.
2-2) Remove the SATA hard drive from PC-USB. The steps to do this will depend upon the type of computer you have; however, in general, you will need to:
3-1) Plug the adapters power cord into the power port on the back of the hard drive.
3-2) Plug the adapters data cord into the data port on the back of the hard drive.
3-3) Finish putting the adapter together; you will need to consult your service manual as the steps required depend upon the SATA to USB adapter purchased. In general:
4-1) Take the adapter’s USB plug and plug it into a USB port on PC-OTH. Just as a remind: PC-OTH is any working computer other than PC-USB.
5-1) Take the adapters electrical plug and plug it into an active electrical wall outlet.
6-1) If your SATA to USB adapter has an On/Off switch then set it to the On position. If you can’t find an On/Off switch then simply head down to the next step!
7-1) Within a few seconds you should see a new device appear on PC-OTH. Congratulations: you have successfully converted your hard drive to a USB.
Converting an IDE hard drive to a USB is very similar to converting a SATA hard drive to a USB; therefore, we aren’t going to create a whole new guide. Instead go and read the guide: Convert a SATA Hard Drive to USB making sure to substitute the word “SATA” with “IDE”.
Before you do, however, notice that the power cord and data cord will look slightly different when dealing with an IDE hard drive as opposed to a SATA hard drive.
Converting a hard drive (whether IDE or SATA) to USB may initially appear daunting; however, hopefully we have shown, it is not! In fact, it really just boils down to 3 steps:
Despite the simplicity, however, we advise you to do this only when necessary (recovering deleted files, dealing with virus infested machine … etc.) as toying around with your hard drive can potentially lead to trouble.
Finally, if you have any questions feel free to email us here at Seymour Computer Repair