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Digital Life

If an old PC has had its day, the hard drive can be easily removed and turned into external storage. We explain how it works.

A Desktop-PC is practical because individual components can be removed. If the device is broken or outdated, that doesn’t mean that everything has to end up in the garbage dump.

The easiest way is about the Hard drive as external storage continue to use. I’ll explain how it works:

  1. Remove hard drive
  2. Identify connectors
  3. Buy the right case
  4. put into operation
  5. Manage access rights

Remove hard drive

Anyone who has never opened a computer should know 2 things: 1. Everything beforehand disconnect from electricity and touch the heater to ground yourself. 2. It’s really not difficult. Depending on the model, a few screws must be loosened in order to side covers to remove the computer case.

The hard drive is then unscrewed. In doing so, one should be careful to handle the hard disk carefully, as it does not perform very well tremors Reacts. Then the cables are released and you hold the hard drive in your hand.

Identify connectors

Now it is time to identify the size and the connections. The former is pretty easy. In most cases it is a 3.5 inch hard drive (standard width 101.6mm). If it’s smaller, it’s 2.5 inches (standard width 70mm).

Then you should take a look at the connections. In most cases it will be one Serial ATA (SATA) act. That’s a bigger one and a smaller one L-shaped connector, each for power supply and data transmission. Alternatively, the disk could have a IDE connector have that before 2005 was used and uses pins. The connections look like this:

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© Picture: Franziska Bechtold

My hard drive with SATA connection

© Image: Vincent Botta

A hard drive with an IDE connector

Buy case

Once you have identified the connection, you can buy a case in which the hard drive will find a new home. The costs 20 to 30 euros at Amazon (e.g here, here or here). You have the choice between the material of the housing plastic and Metal. The latter dissipates heat better, but is also heavier.

When buying, you have to consider the following:

  • external power supply – Power from the PC via USB-C is not enough
  • high stability and right size (2.5 or 3.5 inches)so that the hard disk sits firmly and cannot move
  • Connection above USB 3.0 or 3.1

The latter primarily distinguishes the speed at which data is transmitted. USB 3.0 transfers with max 4,8 Gbit/swith USB 3.1 it is 10 Gbit/s. You should stay away from USB 2.0. Here the data transfer is on 480 Mbit/s limited, which makes transferring large amounts of data a test of patience.

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© Picture: Franziska Bechtold

© Picture: Franziska Bechtold

© Picture: Franziska Bechtold

If you have the right case, you slide the hard drive in so that the connections match. Then you connect it to the electricity and the computer and place it in a protected place where it stands stable.

put the hard drive into operation

This part was very easy in my case. I have followed the steps as outlined and my Windows 11 PC recognized the hard drive immediately. If that doesn’t work, you can try a restart and a different USB port.

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If you have removed the hard drive for data backup, it may be that the rights to access all data are missing. In Windows 11, every time you click on a folder, you will be asked whether you permanent access on the respective folder wants to get. This is tedious, but necessary in order to be able to access all data.

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© Picture: Franziska Bechtold

Right-click on the desired folder or the entire hard drive to open the properties and then “Advanced Sharing”

© Picture: Franziska Bechtold

There you click on “Permissions”…

© Picture: Franziska Bechtold

… and grants full access to the disk

If that doesn’t work, you have to change the rights to the Settings force. To do this, select the respective folder on the hard drive that you want to access or the entire hard drive directly. Right-click to open it Characteristics the desired folder or hard drive. In the window “Release“click”Extended Sharing“. For that you have to Administrator be. There you can allow all or individual users full access to the files.

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