How to copy files from an old hard drive or how to restore data from an old and unused hard hard? Learn how to get data off an old hard drive.

How to Get Data Off an Old Hard Drive

Last Updated on June 16, 2020 by Jason Ben


The invention of the computer has drastically changed the data processing, storage, and retrieval. People change their hard drive for faster reading/writing speed, for bigger storage space. As for those old hard drives, we prefer to store some files in them as backups and putting them away. So, when you want a file in the old hard drive, you will have to connect it to your computer for viewing.

The old-style way of connecting the old hard drive to a desktop computer required some technical knowledge of how the hard drive works and procedure of connecting. The opening up of the computer casing was inevitable and also the knowledge of master and slave jumper setting, without mentioning that connectors vary dramatically. The article will enlighten you on the required procedure of how to get data off an old hard drive to a personal computer.

Get Data Off an Old Hard Drive

Part 1 Get Data off Old Hard Drive by Installing It into a Computer

Hard drive data cable

Hard drive cable connectors are of 2 types the IDE and the SATA connectors, which goes together with hard drive connectors, so far there is some understanding of the basics of the hard disk.

How to Connnect and Configure an IDE cable hard drive

IDE Connecter Hard Drive

Open up the computer casing, locate the IDE connectors on the main board of the computer, mark and understand the functioning hard disk IDE cable setting either connected as master or slave (at this point the latest connectors are SATA, so identify your hard drive). if you can’t find an IDE connector then you may have to buy a connector switch for IDE hard drive.

Take your old hard drive to connect the IDE cable to it making sure the red pin 1 is in the right position. Fix it on the motherboard IDE connector assuming the existing drive is on primary master setting, your old drive can be on the secondary master setting which will automatically make the connection workable, connect the power connector to the disk with power source is the power supply unit, switch on the computer and prompt for the BIOS to make sure the connectors are on the correct settings, if the Bios setting is correct your computer will boot normally with an extra hard drive listed. This will enable access to your data, but with simple directory security setting allowed will unlock your hard drive then copying the required files.

How to Connect a SATA cable hard drive

For the latest SATA hard drive, the connection is simple and straight forward connecting the SATA data cable to the main board corresponding SATA port, then connect the power cable from the PSU to the hard drive, switch on the computer you must be able to access the drive at this point. The IDE connection can be tricky but with the mastering of how the hard drive works, it’s an achievement worth celebrating.

Part 2 Get Data off Old Hard Drive by Connecting Old Hard Drive Externally

The modern advancement in technology and search for quick solutions to a certain problem has enabled the manufacturers to come up with a modern connecting gadget that is stress-free in matters of computer hard drive external connection.

External Hard Drive Adapter

Connecting External Hard Drive Adapter

The external casing adapter for IDE and SATA hard drives size 2.5 and 3.5 inches are available in the market, for the IDE a successful connection depends on the Master and slave knowledge. Insert the hard drive into the casing making sure the data cable is correctly connected, power on the drive using an external power adaptor, use the USB cable to connect the old hard drive to the Personal computer or a laptop, the hard drive should connect without glitches.

USB Hard Drive Dock Device

External hard drive connection is also made possible for easy data access the dock adapter which performs as an external docking station with the possibility of fitting both 3.5 and 2.5 inches drives, the connection is easy you only dock the hard drive which is powered and access data using a USB cable. Connecting the drive to the desktop computer or laptop is straight forward, enjoy your long forgot files.

High-speed IDE and SATA adapter

High-speed IDE and SATA adapter which works similar to the external adapter casing, this will consist of both SATA and IDE header, with it on powering the adapter is of top-notch use with the user convenience prioritized. Just connect the correct hard drive connector and the USB cable and you get data off an old hard drive.

Part 3 How to Get Lost Data from an Old Hard Drive

You might have formatted your old hard drive for successful detecting or you had deleted those files that you need a long time ago these are the causes that lead to data loss. While, please note that even you have formatted the drive and deleted files, you still have a chance to recover data.

The latest technology has drastically catered for all the earlier methods of hard drive data access, although the old procedures of accessing external hard drive were a challenge which was educative. Get data off an old hard drive and access your old stored data once more.

To recover data from an old hard drive, you can appeal to a reliable hard drive data recovery tool. And here, I suggest you to try Data Recovery Software.

Win Download Mac Download Win Download Mac Download

Get Free Trial via Email for Later Download on Computer

Related Article:

Files Disappeared from External Hard Drive on Mac – How to Recover Them
How to Fix Clicking Hard Drive and recover data from it
How to Recover Deleted Files from Hard Drive