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Hard drive help


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I want to know how to get the data off the hard drive on my old computer an old Compaq laptop and put it on a new Sony Vaio. Battery died so I cant start it back up. I know there is a process where you get the hard drive out and hook it up as a slave drive, but I have no idea what kind of USB connector I need to do that. Can someone give me some help as to what I need to get? Thanks

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You can go to a store and purchase a USB hard disk enclosure. What kind of disk interface (IDE/PATA or SATA) the hard disk is in the notebook will determine the type of enclosure.

NOTE: The new platform should have an anti virus application installed (Avira, Kaspersy, NOD32, Avast, Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG, etc) before you attach the USB hard disk enclosure to the new platform.

Once the hard disk is extracted from the old notebook it can be placed in the USB hard disk enclosure. Then you connect it via USB to the new platform. The external drive will Plug 'n Play and will be assigned a drive letter such as "E:" or "F:".

Once that is accomplished data can be extracted1 from the old hard disk and placed within your "Documents" folder on the new platform.

- There is a possibility that on the new platform you will have to "take ownership" of the files and folders before you can extract the data. However that bridge, and the associated information to accomplish this, can be crossed when you reach that point and IFF you require this step.
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The NewEgg suggestion could very well be a red herring suggestion as noted by zbad2000's statement "...Compaq Presario...This model is REALLY old...".

Something that's "REALLY old" has the propensity of being IDE. Which goes back to my statement "...the hard disk in the notebook will determine the type of enclosure."

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Dave a question for you. Thanks for your response and help. You explained it very clearly. How did I tell what interface it will be? Will it be displayed on the hard drive somewhere, maybe?

Remove it from the Compaq Presario. Chances chances are it will look like this...


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yep ... i agree with david ... it is going to be a PATA type (not SATA) .

the easiest solution is to find a machine (box) that is newer than your laptop but not so new that they have eliminated the PATA connector(s) on the motherboard ...

as always , a good antivirus/malware program should be in place .

hook up your old drive to the pata cable (you may have to tell it to be a slave - jumpers on the old drive) ... fire up the machine .

from there you should be able to find the drive and do some snooping .

i really like ubuntu for digging and snooping ... just about the best thing since sliced bread and pockets on pants were invented .

@ david ...

i seem to recall a slightly different PATA connector on some of those drives/machines ...

the first time i ran into it , there was an adapter between the HDD and motherboard connector .

then again , i have not finished my first cup of coffee .


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No, that's standard for notebook IDE and I have have serviced them all from MFM/RLL --> IDE --> SCSI --> SATA.

I have worked on "specialty", compact and ruggetized, portables where the hard disk was a spindle PCMCIA Type IV drive that were either 256MB or 333MB.

What is different in notebooks that use IDE drives (aka; Parallel ATA or PATA) is the "cage" the hard disk is mounted in and the dual in-line proprietary cabling that went between the drive cage and the notebook.

Since we are talking about notebook IDE drives, one can not connect it directly to a desktop flat-ribbon IDE cable. You have to use an IDE conversion interface like the following...


Since I have to manipulate hard disks outside a notebook or desktop, on a regular basis, I use specialty interfaces that have no enclosure. One is a mini-B USB 2.0 to notebook IDE interface and the other is a universal (2.5" & 3.5" IDE drives and SATA) interface to USB 2.0 shown below...


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yep david ... that is pretty much one of the ide/pata adapters i was thinking of ... sans the power connector .

i forgot to include that in my post ... thanks for the clarification .

but there was another similar type , gawd , i want to say i pulled it out of an HP .

--- more coffee ---

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I went to a micro center by my house, and I think I might be missing something because the enclosure was only like 5 dollars (USB 2.0 to IDE Portable Hard Drive enclosure) but it looks as if it is only the enclosure no USB cord to connect it to my new platform. And then the IDE to USB Drive adapter is 10 bucks. I know that this one I posted above was 44 bucks so I just want to make sure I know what I need to get and am not missing anything. The guys at the micro center I go to arent really much help because they want to push their hard disk recovery service particularly since I'm not an expert and am a little unsure of myself.

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The one shown for NewEgg is for SATA, not IDE and is different so the prices won't be the same only, at best, within a relative range.

If a USB cable does not come with the enclosure, you'll need one.

Ask at the brick & mortar store. Tell them you need; an enclosure for a 2.5" IDE hard disk and USB cable to connect it to a PC.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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