Tech

5 Ways to Connect Old Storage Devices to a New Computer

When your computer crashes or you need to upgrade to a new, faster computer, you might think that buying a new PC will fix the problem, but that is not always enough. As it turns out, a modern computer might not support your older storage devices.

If you’re building a PC yourself, you can still choose from several excellent cases with 5.25-inch optical drive bays, but if you buy a ready-made desktop computer it probably won’t have one. When recovering data from old hard drives or even floppy disks (yes, seriously), you may also find that you cannot connect them to the motherboard.

Likewise, if you buy a laptop, mini PC, or all-in-one today, not only will it lack an optical drive, it may also not support your old computer’s SATA drive, or it may come with a complete package. -size SD card reader. In this guide, you will learn about the different ways to connect old drives to a new computer.

External optical drives

Since CD, DVD and Blu-ray are still common, many companies sell external CD / DVD drives. The question is what to buy?

For $ 30Amazon has a well-tried, versatile option that offers everything you need in a CD / DVD drive and nothing more: the dual-head USB cable supports both Type A and Type-C connectors. The optional power cable makes it compatible with low-power devices such as Surface Pro 8. The device supports Windows, macOS and Linux and comes with a black or gray soft case of your choice.

Blu-ray drives are more expensive and sold by better-known companies. For $ 90, LG sells compact device capable of writing at 6X speed. If you value speed over portability, Asus there is a disc that can write at 16X for $ 125.

External enclosures for internal disk drives

If you cannot install an old SATA drive into a new computer, you can still use it as an external drive. If you have a standard USB port, you can use it with any 2.5-inch solid state drive or hard drive for just $ 10 with Sabrent’s frame. If you only have USB-C or want a better product, you should purchase Ugreen’s aluminium case instead for $ 21.

If you have a 3.5-inch hard drive, you will need a larger enclosure with an additional power connector. Orico has one for US $ 23, and Sabrent has a fan for US $ 29… Once again, Ugreen offers an Aluminum / Type-C option for US $ 32

If you already have an old M.2 SSD that you want to convert to an external one, then SSK aluminum enclosures are the best option for you, with Type A and Type-C cables. SATA version US $ 14and the NVMe version 20 dollars (or $ 17 with coupon).

External SD card readers

If your computer doesn’t have a full sized SD card reader, the solution might be cheaper than you think …

For only $ 9Vanja sells a device with two slots (SD and microSD) and two USB 2.0 connectors (Type-A and Type-C) that are fast enough for any non-UHS SD card. If you want to use any slot for faster cards, USB 3.0 version – $ 16

External floppy drives

USB floppy drives look like something that shouldn’t exist: after all, USB is the connector that allowed floppies to completely replace floppies at the turn of the century. However, due to the inability to connect an internal floppy drive to a modern motherboard, USB sticks are the easiest way to use old floppy disks with a new computer.

There are various companies selling external floppy drives, but aside from the logo, most are probably identical, so your choice should come down to price and vendor reliability. At the time of writing, “Raayoo” looks like a good option for $ 19.

You probably won’t find a USB-C floppy drive, so if your computer doesn’t have USB-A, you should buy an adapter like Syntech’s ($ 10 for a pack of 2).

Parallel ATA (PATA) to PCIe / USB adapters

If you don’t recognize the connector on your old hard drive, it is likely PATA, also known as IDE (among other names), which was replaced by SATA around the time floppy disks were no longer popular. To mount a drive inside a modern desktop PC, you need to use one of the PCIe adapter slots.

Startech sells such adapter for $ 23… It only uses one PCIe lane and can be installed in even the shortest PCIe slots. You can screw it to the case, but it is so small that you may not need it.

Other companies sell adapters that basically convert PATA drives to SATA drives at a lower cost, but we do not recommend them as they are difficult to install and can present physical compatibility issues with drive bays. If you don’t have a desktop PC with a free PCIe slot, you will need an external adapter kit. e.g. Vantec’s ($ 20)

However, keep in mind: it does not include a protective cover for the drive, and if there is absolutely no space between the PATA and power connectors on the drive, you will not be able to use it.

Photo on masthead: Simon Migai


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