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Thread: getting data off an old HDD

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    getting data off an old HDD

    we have an old laptop thats finally died and there is stuff on the HDD that we would like to try and get back, but if I were to just plug the HDD into my pc so i could copy the stuff off it then my pc wouldnt recognise it unless it formatted it, right? and if it did this all the data on it would be lost.
    is there any way arround this problem?
    Cheers

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    VTECmeous Vimeous's Avatar
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    Re: getting data off an old HDD

    You should find your old drive can be read without formatting.
    However connecting it to your PC will depend on the interface it is using. If it is SATA you should be fine. If it is an older ATA drive you'll need an adaptor or external drive enclosure to connect it up successfully.
    Whichever method of connectio the old drive - assuming it's not dead - should appear in the drive list in Windows Explorer as normal.
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    Re: getting data off an old HDD

    As Vimeous says, there should be no problem with your PC reading the drive; the disk will already be formatted. The only situation where you might have problems is if your laptop ran a different OS to your desktop and the drive was formatted with a filesystem your desktop PC doesn't recgonise. If they were both running Windows, you should be fine

    There are a few adapters available that allow you to plug any SATA / IDE device into a USB port, although tbh I'm having difficulty finding an "in stock" listing for one at the minute (here's an example at Play.com, though). These are great devices - I have one at work for doing exactly this job (recovering data from old PCs) and it does exactly what it says on the tin. It's well worth buying one if you can find one in stock anywhere.

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    Re: getting data off an old HDD

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    As Vimeous says, there should be no problem with your PC reading the drive; the disk will already be formatted. The only situation where you might have problems is if your laptop ran a different OS to your desktop and the drive was formatted with a filesystem your desktop PC doesn't recgonise. If they were both running Windows, you should be fine

    There are a few adapters available that allow you to plug any SATA / IDE device into a USB port, although tbh I'm having difficulty finding an "in stock" listing for one at the minute (here's an example at Play.com, though). These are great devices - I have one at work for doing exactly this job (recovering data from old PCs) and it does exactly what it says on the tin. It's well worth buying one if you can find one in stock anywhere.
    I bought this: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/136214

    Literally a week ago... and it's out of stock now... which is odd, but that is what you want - useful item to have around.

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    Re: getting data off an old HDD

    Thanks for clearing that up.
    but why would I need a usb to sata cable? can't I just plug it straight into one of the sata plugs on my motherboard?

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    Re: getting data off an old HDD

    Should be fine to plug it straight into the sata plug of your motherboard.

    The use of adapters (or even external hdd enclosure) just makes the whole process more convenient so that you don't have to open up the PC you are transferring the files to.

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    VTECmeous Vimeous's Avatar
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    Re: getting data off an old HDD

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasb View Post
    Thanks for clearing that up.
    but why would I need a usb to sata cable? can't I just plug it straight into one of the sata plugs on my motherboard?
    Sorry if we've confused you somewhat, you hadn't stated if the drive you have is SATA or PATA.
    If it's a PATA drive you will need an adaptor.
    If it's SATA you're right - straight into the mboard as simon said.

    I use 2.5" and 3.5" enclosures at work to recover data when our PC's fail rather than having to pull a PC apart. For one-offs at home though I do exactly as you suggest - pop the side of a PC and get on with it.
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