Data Retrieval from Old Hard Drive?

See, here’s the thing.

I had an old Dell. I ran it into the ground, at which I bought a new one. I put the hard drive from the old one into the new one. That worked swimmingly until the motherboard blew on Dell #2.

Having bought PC #3, I encountered a problem. Old drives no fitty in new casey.

I have about 2700 mp3s, family pictures, and plenty of other stuff that I’d rather not do without. Staples wants around 800 bucks.

Failed attempts of my own include two of those “converter” kits, both case-based and non-case based.

I am willing to admit that I may have been doing it incorrectly, but I don’t know whether I have or haven’t been doing what I should.

Any tips or instructions (particularly step-by-step ones designed for complete idiots) would be greatly appreciated.

Assuming the drive is is an older IDE/ATA a case designed to make it into an external should work fine so long as you have the master/slave/cable select jumpers on the drive set as the external IDE case instructions dictate. Make sure the drive jumpers are on the right pins and you are not reading and interpreting the jumper settings upside down or backwards. This is a common problem.

Is this drive old enough that you ever used a BIOS boot loader to get around geometry issues or a data compression boot loader? If either is the case the drive is going to have to be set as master in its own case on a standard IDE chain (ie not as an external) .

If all else fails just get an old IDE based PC for a few bucks at a thrift store or on eBay and use that. People would almost pay you to give these things away at this point.

If you can be more specific about model numbers (both for the original Dell and whatever is written on the drive) and specifications, I bet Newegg links will practically post themselves.

Did you mean staples wanted 800 bucks just to transfer data to another medium?! That’s obscene, unless by “hardrive” you mean “trunk full of 5.25 floppies.”

You should be able to install your current drive in an external drive enclosure, and connect tit via a USB cable to the new computer. You can then read the files from the drive and will then have the external drive available for use later. But if that’s not working, here is a link to an adapter that should work for you. You can connect a parallel or serial ATA hard drive to the adapter and plug the other end into a USB port of your computer.

Which is why you should always wear a shirt when working on your computer.

By the way, do you need the drive to be permanently installed? If by “not fitting” you mean the drive won’t fit in the case, not that it won’t plug in, you may be able to connect the IDE and power, then leave it resting on the case rails while data transfers over (keep curious animals out of the room during this) to your main drive. I’ve done a lot of testing and transferring this way without a problem, but don’t know if I’m making the hardware pros here cringe in horror.

Oh, as noted above, make sure any jumpers on the drive are set correctly: there should be a small diagram on the back of the drive with M or Master, CS or Cable Select, and S or Slave settings. I believe you’ll want to change it to slave. Also, when you boot up, you may want to pop into BIOS setup (during the initial boot sequence (POST), hit del, F2 or whatever it tells you to in order to enter setup) and Without Changing Anything verify that the drive is recognized correctly. Exit WITHOUT saving. If things don’t work out right away, more info will help.

Post the make and model number of the hard drive on it’s case, so it can be looked up. That will give all specs when looked up. I don’t know if you have a unreadable hard drive, a physical size of hard drive problem, or just a jumper problem. Don’t mess with the jumpers at this point or you could corrupt the hard drive. A large half height bay hard drive 5.25" wide, instead of the more common 3.5" size can be dealt with.

Would something like this work?

I’ve used it multiple times with multiple drives and it works great to transfer data.