This is my first how to, so please bear with me if its not that great.

The method I’m about to show you is one way you can reuse your old computer (or laptop) hard drive. This method is to turn your old hard drive into an external hard drive.

1. Buy an enclosure

This enclosure will be where your old hard drive will be held and how it will be able to connect to other computers. Usually, they can connect to your computer via USB or FireWire. The prices can range from $10 to $100, but I recommend getting one that’s around $20-$30. The most important factor to consider is the size of your hard drive. If you have a desktop hard drive,  you’ll probably need a 3.5-inch enclosure, and if you have a laptop hard drive, you will probably need a 2.5-inch enclosure.

Here are some enclosure I recommend:

Cheap enclosures:

USB 2.0 External 2.5″ IDE HDD Enclosure Case Blue For Laptop

2.5″ USB 2.0 SATA Hard Drive HDD Case Enclosure

Average-priced enclosures:

Rocketfish – Hard Drive Enclosure Kit for 3.5

Acomdata USB 2.0 3.5-Inch SATA Hard Disk Enclosure HDEUSE-504 (Silver)

Acomdata 2.5″ Tango USB/eSATA Hard Drive Enclosure Kit

High-end enclosures:

Sans Digital InstaRAID IR12TB Internal RAID 3.5-Inch Hard Drive Enclosure (Silver)

Acomdata Samba Quad USB 2.0/eSATA/Firewire400/Firewire800 3.5-Inch SATA Hard Drive Enclosure SMBXXXUFABS-BLK (Black)

SilverStone Dual Bay 2.5″ Aluminum External HDD RAID Enclosure

2. Installing your hard drive

This is a simple step. You probably won’t need anything more than a screwdriver. You just put your drive in, and your done! Make sure you follow the instructions provided with your drive though, or else you might mess up (which in that case is not my fault). Also, make sure you follow safety procedures for working with electronics, i.e. don’t work with it plugged in, don’t force any connections, etc…If you followed that, you should be fine!

3. Connecting your drive

Now you’re ready to connect the drive! If you bought a desktop drive, it probably came with an external power cord. Plug it in, and the light (if there is one) should turn on and you should hear the hard drive start spinning. If you bought a notebook one, then it probably just has a USB or FireWire cable to connect to your laptop, and it runs off your laptop power. After you plug it into your computer, whether it be Windows, Mac, or Linux, should detect the drive and start installing any necessary drivers.

4. Done!

Now you are ready to start backing up files, or anything else, onto your new external hard drive! Make sure you eject it properly though before you unplug it from your computer, or else it could corrupt or even break the hard drive.

That’s it! Please comment with how this went for you, or if you have any other suggestions about other How To’s I should do!