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Reincarnate Your IDE Hard Drives as USB External Hard Drives

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Put your unused IDE hard drives to good use by turning them into external USB drives with this guide by Kulvir Bhogal. With a USB external case and a few quick steps, you'll have a handy removable storage space in no time.
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I remember shopping a long time ago for a hard drive with my dad. We ended up buying a 10MB drive. I recall thinking at that time, "How will I ever fill up this hard drive?"

Enough nostalgia . . . . Let's move on to contemporary reality. Nowadays, with all the MP3s, digital pictures, and video files many users have, it is not too difficult to fill up a hard drive even with scores of gigabytes of capacity.

If you are like me, you might have a few hard IDE drives sitting around the house that were the victims of a swap-out upgrade. Instead of letting these drives go to waste, you might consider putting them to work by getting a USB external case, which can turn your internal IDE drive into an external USB drive. I'll show you here how to put your internal IDE drive into an external case so you can use your drive as a removable storage device.

Gathering the Ingredients

I assume that you have an internal IDE drive sitting around that you want to externalize. For simplicity, I'll assume that this drive is already formatted, which is likely the case if you pulled your working hard drive out of a machine for an upgrade. The other ingredient you'll need for this experiment is an external USB-to-IDE drive enclosure. Many of these devices are available, ranging in shape and size. I decided to go with an enclosure called the Metal Gear by I DOT Connect (see http://www.ppa-usa.com/product_pages/enclosures/2162.htm); I picked it up for about $40 online (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 The Metal Gear box USB-to-IDE hard disk drive enclosure.

When buying your drive enclosure, try to get one that is USB 2.0 compatible. That way, if your computer is USB 2.0 compatible, you will be able to interact with it at speeds at up to 480Mbps.

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