How to Read a Hard Drive With USB


If you have upgraded your computer a few times, you likely have a few old hard drives that are no longer being used. Just because the hard drives are no longer in the computer that you are using now, doesn't mean that they still can't be useful to you. Old hard drives can still be accessed by either using an adapter or by converting your old hard drives into external drives that can be connected to your computer via a USB cable.

Things You'll Need

  • USB to IDE & SATA cable adapter
  • External hard drive enclosure


  • Remove your extra hard drive from your old computer if you have not already done so.

  • Connect the hard drive to the corresponding IDE or SATA port on the adapter and connect the included power supply cable to the power input jack in the hard drive.

  • Plug the USB end of the adapter into an available USB port on your current computer. After a moment, your hard drive will be recognized as a mass storage device and assigned a drive letter designation. Double-click the new drive letter designation icon to view the contents of your old hard drive.

External Hard Drive Enclosure

  • Remove your internal hard drive from the your old computer.

  • Connect your hard drive to the interface board of the external drive enclosure. You may have to adjust the jumper settings on your hard drive. Refer to the enclosure user's manual for further details on jumper settings.

  • Assemble the enclosure. Assembly processes vary, based on the design and manufacturer of the hard drive enclosure. Refer to the manual for details on assembly.

  • Connect the USB cable leading from the enclosure to an available USB port on your computer. As with the adapter, your computer will recognize your hard drive as a mass storage device and assign a new drive letter designation.

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