Turn Your Old 2.5'' or 3.5'' Hard Drive Into Portable/External




Introduction: Turn Your Old 2.5'' or 3.5'' Hard Drive Into Portable/External

About: I am a dreamer, maker and an engineer making and sharing interesting projects here at Instructables. Follow me @ instagram: @the_gadget.boy

You have an old Hard Drive 2.5'' or 3.5'' left from your laptop or PC and you don't know what to do. Then turn it into portable, that can be plugged-in every device that has an USB port.


Step 1: HDD Interface Types

The most common interfaces are SATA and IDE

SATA - Serial Advanced Technology Attachment is most common in the newer PC and Laptop interfaces it is a hundreds of times lot faster than IDE and its been used since 2003.

IDE - Integrated Drive Electronics aka PATA (Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment) is mostly used in PCs and Laptops between 1986 and 2003.

Check the photos above to see the difference between them !

Step 2: You Will Need:

An HDD enclosure and a hard drive (SATA or IDE). And 12v 3 W power suply If you hard drive require higher power to work.



The links will take you to Amazon.com, but if you want something else check at Aliexpress.com or Banggood.com

Step 3: Put the HDD in the Box

First plug the Hard Drive in the SATA / IDE to USB board and then put the Hard Drive inside the enclosure, turn the screws.

Step 4: Connect to PC

Connect the hard drive with your PC and wait for a few seconds to boot, and you are done !



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57 Discussions

Thanks for this instructable, some of us are not computer wizards and need step by step guides and explanations of everything. Great to know old HDD can be re-used. For those who are techno geeks please don't knock Instructables like this for us simple folk who want to learn - you don't have to read it and instead of criticising it, maybe you can do some of your own instructables for more advanced people.

1 reply

unfortunately he left off the one piece of information that would frustrate learners from all walks.

when you enclose a 2.5 drive, most 500mA USB outputs will struggle to power the drive and give problematic or not working issues. you need to use a usb bridge.

without this information the beginner user will at best be wasting their time, at worst their time & money!


1 year ago

Okay a noob question.... whats the power source for this drive?

4 replies

Depending on how much power is consumed by the HDD, a single USB connection will usually suffice. In some heavy current situations, you may need a "double headed" cable which has two USB Type A plugs to draw the extra current from the Host Computer.

If you get a good enclosure with USB 3.0, you get faster speeds, but also nearly double the current. USB 3.0 can deliver up to 900ma, vs the measly 500ma of USB 2.0

There are two types of the Desktop PC HDD in general, the 2,5" and the 3,5" one. The first are drawing power via the USB it self, the later usually need extra juice whice come from from another power brick/adapter that's why their external enclosure is usually bigger or come with the power brick.

Most enclosures like this get their power from the USB connection, so that's typically the only cable needed.

I cannot find a USB connector anywhere, meanwhile I try to get the hard drive open in my PC (I am using my 2 in 1 for this)

1 reply

I've just never seen it before, I use windows XP(5 months since I ran this), 7(2 years ago was most recent usage) and 10 (10 is currently being used by me)

you don't even need enclosure - there are so many usb adaptors on ebay or amazon for few quids... Bt for safety reasons enclosure is good :)

Oh, I can buy a SATA-USB adapter without instruction... I though this would be about how to create an adapter. ;)

I have done that several times, with old drives given or used. In Fact, some of my backup drives I have are dealt up this way. One of them is a minimal Linux Os distro I sometimas use when off, bootable, 32.bit, to get mail or enterin social net . No traces, no host modification, and 32.bit because you don't always know what kind of pc you are to find wherever you go, safer 32-bit than 64. Another I plan to windows it same way.

If from Staffordshire (in the UK) it would be something like excellent, brilliant, very good :) We don't all speak as though we were extras in Mary Poppins :)

What you describe as IDE is, in fact PATA; both SATA and PATA have integrated drive electronics.