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Making your own External Hard Drive and a Bonus an External DVD-CD drive if needed
Have you ever looked at those external hard drives in the store and then looked away because they cost so much, me too! Do you have and old computer laying around with a hard drive in it or just have an old hard drive laying around? If you do, then this how-to is for you and if you do not have an old hard drive or computer laying around maybe someone you know does.
This is what is called an enclosure, I bought this one to make my own external hard drive. It cost $19.99 +shipping and Taxes at Newegg.com. This one is for an older hard drive that uses an IDE connector, they also have them for newer Sata connected drives. If you buy one make sure you get the enclosure that works with your drive. I did some research on these and some of the cheaper models with no fan tend to get really hot. This one comes with a fan to help reduce the heat that is put off by the hard drive, the fan also has a dial to regulate it's speed.
This is what is in the box, left to right, stand it can be used laying down or you can mount it on the stand, the enclosure where your old hard drive will go, the USB cable and power cable for the fan and the AC power adapter. This one also has an ON/OFF switch and a blue light to let you know when it is turned on.
This is the the front of the Enclosure, ON/OFF switch, Fan dial, cable imputs.
This is the enclosure sitting on the removable stand, with the USB cable and Fan power cable.
This shows where the hard drive sits, you unscrew those 2 screws from the front and slide it out, then you connect the drive to the IDE cable and Power plug make sure you plug these in correctly. The power plug has rounded corners on one side and the IDE cable has a missing pin. I found that if you pull the IDE cable ribbon up it will install easier. Next lay the hard drive on the tray, hold it and turn it up side down, line up the four screw holes, you may have 2 extra screws, put the screws in and use a small phillips screw driver to screw them in. Turn it back around like the picture and push the IDE cable down into the slot below it, like the next picture.
IDE cable pushed down into slot.
This is the bottom of the tray after the 4 screws are installed to attach the drive to the tray.
This picture shows the unit slid half way into the enclosure.
Almost in, lol.
Ok now take those long screws and put them back in and tighten them up.
This picture shows the enclosure with the drive installed and the fan power cable.
This shows the fan power power cable connected.
Ok now plug in the USB cable and Power connector. It is now your External Hard Drive.
This just shows it without using the stand.
Closeup of the Fan Unit.
You now have an External Hard drive, cool huh, if you have Windows 98 or older you may have to use the small disk to be able to reformat it. If you have XP, Vista or Windows 7, this is the next step. Plug the AC adapter in and plug the USB cable into your USB connection on your computer. It may just ask you right off if you would like to reformat this drive, if it does click yes, you have a choice of formatting it to Fat32 or NTFS, I choose NTFS because my hard drive is a 120 gig, if it is under 30 gigs you can use Fat32 if over 30 gigs use NTFS. All you have to do is a quick format, when the formatting is done it is ready to use. Just drag or copy and paste or cut and paste files from your computers unto this drive. If it does not ask you to format the drive you go to the next paragraph.
If it does not ask you to format the drive or you have a different OS like Linux installed on it then plan 2, lol. Once Windows recognizes a USB device go to the Control Panel, then go to Administrative Tools, then open Computer Management, then open Disk Management. It will look like the picture above, I am using Windows 7 it may look different in XP or Vista, click on the new drive "NOT THE DISK 0/C: DRIVE" mine has already been formatted and set to active and is listed as Disk 1.
Basically what you do is click on the new drive
- Right click and delete the partition or partitions if more then one
- Then right click and choose Extend Volume make it the whole drive
- Then right click and choose reformat
- Reformat the whole drive
- Then choose either Fat32 or NTFS I would just use NTFS unless you are going to connect to other OSes like Linux or an older Windows.
- Once you have the drive formatted right click and set it to Active
Make sure that a drive letter was assigned to the drive to have it show up in the hard drive list. If you did it all right you should be able to open My Computer and it should be listed and ready to use. Good Job!!! Now backup all those family photos and songs, lol. All these enclosures come with instruction.
Bonus External DVD-CD rom drive
My sisters laptop needed a BIOS Flash update and I could not get her DVD drive to work, so I took out the harddrive from the Enclosure and hooked up an old CD-Rom drive, plugged it into a USB port and booted it up, BIOS found it and Windows XP loaded drivers for it, put in the BIOS flash CD restarted and it booted to the CD and Flashed the BIOS. So if you need an emergency DVD or CD ROM drive you can hook one up to this enclosure, pictures below:
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