# Rescuing old hard drives

Gold Member
Gizmag directed me to a website where the following ad appears. I don't think that quoting it violates copyright, since the owners of it want it to be seen, but the Moderators should probably vet it anyhow.
The reason that I'm posting it is because I'm very interested in buying one, but I'm totally computer illiterate.
W is bugging me to get rid of my old computers, especially now that we're moving, but I have stuff on all of their hard drives that I'm not willing to part with. If this device works the way that the ad seems to indicate, I can harvest the drives and scrap the rest.
While my MacBook won't run the software that's on them, there's more than sufficient space to store the document files.
What I'm asking you guys is whether or not this would be a worthwhile investment for me, in that it will allow me to do as I specified. Anyone have any experience with or knowledge of this device, and advice as to whether or not it will do the job for me? Thanks in advance.

The "Swiss Army Knife" of Disk Connectivity...Turns Any Bare Drive Into An External Storage Solution!!

Digital audio and photo files are growing in use and size to where upgrading to a larger hard drive is becoming a regularly performed procedure. The NewerTech USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter makes it easy to transfer data between the old and new drives as well as give the old drive a second life as an external storage solution. It's a complete solution that allows any 2.5", 3.5", or 5.25" hard drive or optical drive* with any standard IDE/ATA/ATAPI 40 pin or SATA interface to be connected via USB to any USB equipped computer for file transfer, backing-up and storing file archives, and accessing data on stored backup drives with Plug & Play ease. The connection status LEDs provide easy confirmation of a proper connection between a USB 1.1/2.0 equipped computer and an IDE/ATA or SATA drive.
Transfer files!
Easily access data from internal and external hard drives!
Give a second life to switched-out hard drives!
Instantly turn any ATA or SATA drive into a convenient external drive!

Compatible Drives Features Includes Specifications Awards & Reviews
Features:
ATA/IDE/SATA/ATAPI
Compatible with any 2.5", 3.5", 5.25" IDE or SATA device!
Supports IDE & enhanced IDE 3.5" internal IDE hard disk
Supports ATA/ATAPI-6 specification 1.0
Supports SATA I and SATA II
USB 2.0 up to 480Mbps transfer speed

Convenient LEDs inform of an accurate device connection and disk activity
Backwards compatible with USB 1.1

Plug-and-Play
Instruction Manual
Clean, ample powered UL listed 2.0 amp external AC adapter provides drive power
1 year warranty Register
*Compatible with full height 5.25" optical drives only. Not compatible with slimline optical drives such as those used in a laptop.

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mgb_phys
Homework Helper
So it's just an external USB drive case (http://www.geeks.com/products.asp?cat=CSE [Broken]) ?
Look in the 3.5" section for desktop drives, you need to know if the drive you are using is IDE (most likely) or SATA (in the last year or 2)

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Gold Member
No, not a case. Apparently, the drive just sits there buck-naked with the cable plugged in.

edit: Here's the original site: http://www.macsales.com/

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mgb_phys
Homework Helper
Or you could just get a USB drive case and take the insides out.
Unless you have lots of drives to swap between, I would probably get the case and mount the drive inside.

For SATA there are also these http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=EN391-S2HC&cat=CSE&cpc=CSEbsc [Broken] unfortunately IDE doesn't specify where on the drive to put the connector.

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Gold Member
Unless you have lots of drives to swap between, I would probably get the case and mount the drive inside.
That's the problem. I have 2 G3 Macs, 2 LCII Macs, 2 Power Books, an iBook, 2 Power Tower Macs, a 486 HP portable, 2 386 PC's, and 3 naked drives from expired machines. The data from all of them have to be available on this MacBook. There's nothing that I can do for the Atari 800 and 800XL, since they don't have hard drives.

mgb_phys
Homework Helper
I would buy a 500 Gb drive in a USB case and copy everything to that.
Then I recommend some form of therapy - is there a Macaholics anonymous?

Gold Member
I would buy a 500 Gb drive in a USB case and copy everything to that.
That's what I was hoping this device would do. There's plenty of room here in the MacBook to store everything, but the computers can't communicate with each other to facilitate copying, and some of them don't even work any more. I'd like to be able to just use all of the bare drives as swappable external units. I'm going to keep one of the G3's so I can run my old versions of Illustrator and Photoshop if I have to, but everything else has to go.

Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Western Digital has USB2.0 external HD's. I bought a 500 GB for my son, and my colleague at work has bought several. For drives over 200 GB, and particularly those with high density storage like NTFS, store them in a place that is free of vibration. A local guy who services and builds PC/laptops mentioned that HDs great than 200 GB have a higher failure/corruption rate. He lost 3 large HDs, and at least one he attributed to excessive vibration. Based on my companies experience (we've lost a number of HD's), I'd agree with his comment on large HD's.

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/index.asp?cat=8 [Broken]

They work very well, and I'll be buying more.

The other alternative would be to have a couple of large HD's 500 GB and backup over a network, assuming you have a network and each PC/laptop has a NIC.

Then backup the backup.

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Gold Member
Unfortunately, that still leaves my base problem of 'how do I get the information from the old drives to the new one?'
I don't need a mass storage device; as I mentioned, this MacBook will easily hold everything. The stumbling block is that I can't get at the data. How do I get a 386 that won't even power up, and has no USB ports, to dump data into a USB external HD?

Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Well for a laptop HD, one could by a USB caddy. One just puts the HD in the caddy and hooks it up to a good computer (with a USB2.0 port). I'm not sure if a caddy for a large HD for PC exists.

For larger HD's Inclose makes bays and trays (Mobile Dock) into which one can install an HD. One simply jumps the HD to slave configuration. All of our computers use 2-3 Mobile docs (EIDE) and 1-2 built-in SATA drives.

http://www.shopping.com/xPF-Data-Stor-inClose-Mobile

BTW, WD's MyBook has a FireWire interface.

Gold Member
That seems reasonable, Astro, but the one that you linked to specifies that it's for a PC platform. I'm on a MacBook.
Also, how much would all of this stuff be? I'm currently unemployed, with no income whatsoever, and a zero bank balance. I have a $1,000 overdraught, but I'm going to use that for my rent and utilities. This thing that I'm asking about costs$30, plus shipping.

robphy
Homework Helper
Gold Member
I've got a USB IDE/SATA adapter that looks like
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812189169
(I don't recall the brand [and it's not printed on the item]... but it looks like this.)
It can read IDE: 3.5" desktop, 2.5" laptop drives, 5.25" CD/DVD drives, and SATA drives... only one mode at a time.

In fact, I bought two of them for about \$15 each a few years ago.

They have worked well for me... for accessing and recovering data via Windows XP or linux [e.g. Knoppix LiveCD]. I didn't have to install any drivers. When I plugged it in, XP and linux recognized it.

After getting the data I wanted off of the old drives, I now use the drives for long-term storage. If you need to use the drive continuously as part of your new system, you may wish to get a fancier drive enclosure.