how to convert an internal hard drive into an external usb hard drive.

    I need more RAM so I took out an older CPU from storage and want to know if its possible to use that hard drive and convert it into an external usb hard drive.  I'm sure I would have to clean out the old hard drive - delete contents and reformat?

    +1  Views: 566 Answers: 2 Posted: 7 years ago

    Please use the comment this answer link located below Vinny's original answer. This way he will get an alert that you replied to him. Thanks!

    2 Answers

    You should pick up an external drive case.  USB, -- You just install the drive in that case, plug in the USB and you're done. However, you may need to change a jumper to slave.  Look at the diagram on your hard drive, it will show you how to configure the jumpers. simple job.  You won't need to format it.   I'm confused though-- I don't know what the RAM has to do with this??   You can delete the operating system on the external drive, you are using it for storage only. This will free up lots of space. 

    Ms Yoli Q

    Thanks so much for your input Vinny. I'm sorry I confused you. My computer technology know-how is not so great. RAM is NOT memory?

    Ram= 'random Access memory' ram is temporary memory that programs need to run. What you want is mass storage memory that holds all your saved data and programs. Storage container. That's what a hard drive is.

    Below reply moved to where it belongs


    Ms Yoli Q
    Karma: 15

    I was just browsing online stores for hard drive cases. They range from $8.41 up to $79.00. Description: USB 3.5; 3.0; 2.5 & 2.0; Serial ATA or e-SATA and HDD SATA.

    The USB 3.5 and so on - are these the sizes of the cases? Could you please define the rest for me? So Appreciate this!

    Just get the cheap one, you don't need to confuse yourself with all the specs. basically what you want is a cover for your old internal drive to make it external. You simply plug the internal cable into the hard drive, also plug in the power connector, fasten the cover with whatever fasteners they supply. It's pretty straight forward. since you are using this old drive for additional storage, you can quick format or just go through it and delete whatever you want. It's just going to be a suitcase to hold your stuff.. :)
    Ms Yoli Q

    I finally took apart the old CPU. The hard drive says Master Slave. I do not see any diagrams for configuration. Do you foresee any problems I may have in converting this into an external hard drive? The hard drive is coming from a HP Pavillion 7955.

    There really should be a diagram showing how to set the jumper. Look at this site below for an example. This is for a 'seagate' hard drive. What you can do is search the name and model of your hard drive and look for 'hard drive jumper'
    I hope this helps you, its really not a difficult job. Moving that little jumper can be a strain on your eyes but not hard to do. Just move the jumper from master to slave and you're all set.



    Ms Yoli Q
    Karma: 15

    Thanks so much Vinnie - got the jumper issue resolved. Now does it matter if I order a SATA or IDE hard drive enclosure? Mine says its an IDE but not much to pick from as opposed to SATA enclosures.

    IDE is older SATA is newer. I don't know your system but to be safe, I am assuming you are using an IDE interface, just stick with that. I don't remember what we are trying to do here, I forgot. LOL! Anyway, I think you want to use an old drive for a slave, this is great, no problem. Your ribbon cable has probably 3 female pin sockets. Be sure to insert the ribbon with the red edge facing your power input. It will plug in both ways, right way and wrong way. Look at the ribbon cable, one side is a red stripe, make sure that is next to the input power. You should have a free 'bay' to insert in in your case so you don't need external housing. just place the slave in a bay just like the master and screw it in and you're done. You O/S will recognize it on boot and assign it a drive letter. probably Drive D. Good luck!

    Thank You!  Thank You.  Love this website!

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