How to Use an External Hard Drive Enclosure for Data Recovery

In Backup & Archiving Hardware by joseph gilbertLeave a Comment

Easily recover data with an external hard drive enclosure.

External hard drive enclosures can easily be used to recover data from a dead computer or a dead hard drive. Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, it’s important to note that all external hard drives actually have two components: the actual hard drive and the enclosure itself. If the external hard drive is the smaller size, it will have a laptop hard drive inside. If the external hard drive is the larger size, it will have a desktop hard drive inside. The enclosure itself protects the drive and also holds additional electrical gear to help connect the drive to your computer.

External Hard Drive Enclosure Data Recovery Capabilities

If your external hard drive has failed, you can still recover your data. Just pull out the hard drive inside and put it into a new enclosure. You’ll be happy to know that oftentimes it’s actually the hard drive enclosure that has failed – not your hard drive. Once you replace the enclosure, your data should be fine and you can keep on doing what you do.

If your computer dies or you have a large hard drive from an old computer lying around, you can take that hard drive, put it into a new hard drive enclosure and then use it as an external hard drive. If you merely want to recover the data, just take your old hard drive out of your dead computer, put it in an external hard drive case and pull out any files you need. Even if you don’t continue to use it as an external hard drive, you’ll be able to get all your data.

Buying a Hard Drive Enclosure

To buy an external hard drive enclosure, you may be able to go to a local computer store to find one. But nine out of ten times, you’ll have to buy it online. They are relatively inexpensive and you can expect to spend about $10-$30, shipping included.

When browsing online, it’s easy to find hundreds of hard drives for sale but it’s a little more difficult to find external hard drive enclosures. You should know that once you do find some for sale, there will be two different size options: the laptop version (the small version) or the large version (the desktop version). There are also two types of interfaces: SATA and IDE hard drives. Before you purchase a hard drive enclosure, make sure you buy the appropriate size and interface.

Remember that SATA large hard drives and small hard drives use the same power and motherboard interface. If your main goal is to just get your data, you can use a SATA external adaptor for a laptop or desktop hard drive. Alternatively, IDE drives use a different interface for desktop computers and laptop computers. For example, if you have a desktop IDE hard drive, you’ll need a desktop IDE hard drive enclosure.

One final warning before you begin – If you have a windows computer DO NOT plug the hard drive enclosure into a Mac. Doing so will wipe all the data on your drive and you’ll be left with a much bigger problem than what you started with.

The Data Recovery Process

Data recovery is a great start to successful data archiving for any individual or just recovering lost data in general. To begin the data recovery process, set your dead computer or laptop on your desk next to a healthy computer or laptop. Even if you can’t get your old computer to start, you can still recover the data by just pulling the old hard drive out of it. If you have an IDE hard drive, you’ll need to remove the adaptor (just pull it off) to connect it to your new computer.

Once you have successfully removed the old hard drive, securely fit it inside your external hard drive enclosure. Remember, this enclosure needs to be the correct size and interface for your drive. Grab your USB cable and connect one side to the enclosure and the other to your laptop.

After you connect the external hard drive to the other computer (let’s assume it’s a Windows computer), click on “Start” and “Computer” and select the secondary hard drive that populates. Click on “Documents,” “Settings” and then “Owner” to access all the documents and data that were originally on your old computer. Navigate through your data from the old computer to find and locate any files you want to keep and transfer to your new computer.

Generally, the process of recovering data with an external hard drive enclosure it pretty simple. If you run into any major issues, we highly suggest contacting a computer specialist that you trust to help you.