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Internal to ex

Here’s a quick guide and video tutorial from EbuyerTV on how to turn an Internal Hard Drive to an External Drive.

It seems like a pretty logical step. If you have an old internal hard drive you don’t want to use, can it be put to good use and converted it into an external drive?

Well the answer is yes… You can. And it’s easier than you thought. You just need a few extra parts and bit of forward planning.

It’s always a great idea to have an external drive as a backup just in case your PC does ever fail. If you have ever upgraded your computer or simply have old hard drives laying round it’s possible to convert the unit into an external hard drive.

As you can imagine by looking at the Internal Hard Drive, its lacks connections and protection for use in the big bad world. The SATA or IDE connections it comes with are only really useful if it is inside a computer. What you need to add is a way for it communicate with other bits of tech- Namely a USB or Firewire bridge.

For this you need an Enclosure [or ‘Caddy’ as they are known]. These cases are both converter, protector and holder for the internal hard drive.



Enclosures are boxes the internal drives sit in. They come compatible with two interfaces: IDE and SATA. Of the two, SATA hard drives are much more common now than IDE and are likely to be the one you need- Always check as the connections differ.


Depending where your internal hard drive came from originally, the size of the drive will vary.

3.5 inch hard drives are used in desktop computers, with 2.5 inch drives found usually in notebooks.

3.5 inch drives are usually bigger, faster, and cheaper to buy, but a 2.5 inch device is naturally smaller and more portable.


Most external hard drives connect to your computer through USB (3.0, 2.0 and 1.1) or FireWire. Choose your connection type based on what your major use will be: Mac users focusing on video may consider Firewire as the computer is more suited to this connection. Your standard office backup user will find USB more useful.

Number of Bays

This option is useful for those wanting to backup large files or partition secure software. Some Enclosures offer different numbers of bays. Essentially how many internal drives it can hold in one box. A duel bay enclosure would hold two hard drives- double the storage of a standard enclosure.


The enclosures tend to vary in price from £5-£100 depending on what you need it for.

A simple hard drive enclosure at around £5-10 will have one simple connection and be ideally suited for those wanting to use it as a straight back up.

£10-40 range is when you see a larger array of connection types, material qualities and speeds. These are aimed at those with more information to move: photographers, video editors and gamers.

£40+ enclosures tend to be the top speed specification, best used with high speed Hard Drives, many also have networking capabilities, meaning your hard drive is turned into a basic NAS drive- files shared via WIFI direct to a TV or tablet.

xenta caddy

How do you do it?

The process of housing the hard drive is very simple.

  1. Open the enclosure along the designated line. Some unscrew, others clip. Try and do it on a clean static free surface, to avoid contaminating the drive.
  2. Place the internal hard drive inside, if you have the right size it should be obvious how it lines up.
  3. Connect all the necessary cables. Usually, you’ll have a power source, SATA connection and holding clips…
  4. If it’s a 3.5” holder it’s likely you will need external power (included). A 2.5” will run off the USB connection.
  5. Then plug it into your PC and register it to your computer
  6. That’s it! Use your new external hard drive like any other external device!

* Prices correct at time of posting.


  1. Done quite a few of them dead easy don’t buy really cheap caddies they tend to blow the power supplies(done 3/4 in)so now have caddies with no power supplies I have used better not say which are the best I have used it would be advertising

  2. You really shouldn’t place stuff on the anti static bags as they are only anti static internally and conductive on the outside (to protect the component inside them ).

  3. You cannot earth yourself by simply “touching the metal”. The case must be switched off but it must remain plugged into the mains using a mains lead that is earthed.

  4. Question …..

    Having never built an external drive before I am wondering …..

    I have several older drives (mainly IDE’s) from PC’s built in the past
    These vary in cap from 40GB to 200GB.

    When creating an external drive using a multi unit case, can these drives be linked? As in RAID0
    Or will they remain individual sized external drives

  5. I am using my internal HDD of my laptop as in external drive but its too slow and several times it doesn’t connect only.
    Is there any other connector i can use except the one i have.. its and IDE external drive case.

  6. Why Have an enclosure ?
    I have used a “Docking Station” for several years now and when I have backed up what I want to save and the “Internal” drive that is now an “External” drive can be taken out and another put in its place for further backups
    It also has the facility to accept IDE or SATA drives so any drive from scrap computers can be used
    It is also good for pulling files off an old drive when a computer has been scrapped or the drive has been corrupted and the files can then be transferred to the computer that the “Docking Station” is attached to

  7. After converting internal hdd to external is the data will remains????.
    And what about partitions made is whole drive become single partition or it remains same?????
    Please reply

  8. Just got a used laptop from a friend.
    I need to clean the Hard drive of all her saved stuff completly (apart from windows 7 home)
    Anyone tell me how to do this please.
    Thx in advance.

  9. Jack,
    If the Win 7 product key is still on the computer, the safest and easiest way is to download the Win 7 ISO file from the Microsoft site and burn it to a DVD or bootable USB stick. The site will give you full instructions. Then format the HDD and reinstall Win 7 from the DVD/USB. You will need the product key to enable it.
    That way, you can be sure that EVERYTHING your friend put on it will be gone.

  10. Hi
    I want to use my Sata drive in my USB caddy to be able to use on my TV but it says usb connection problems, is there anyway my tv can read my sata drive or is it only for storage??

  11. I agree with Anonymous — what is wrong with a docking station — I have used one for several years and would not do without it

  12. sir i want to ask a external hardisk enclouser which have a good speed for transverring data
    nd have good quality so what type of evclouser suggest me plz

  13. Sir,
    My external hard disk is not detecting.. Some times it detect and ask,for format it! In it I have saved most important data so plz help me out..

  14. Finally decided to upgrade my old laptop from Windows XP to Windows 7 Pro and decided to replace the old HD at the same time (keeping the old HD as an external HD). The main problem I have is with the “permissions” to access the files on the old HD. After a lot of trial and error I now have access but am afraid that I may have adjusted the “permissions” so much that I have left my computer vulnerable. Any suggestions?

  15. I have an old computer/ running windows 7 it showed that no video was going to monitor. Borrowed a monitor to see if it was mine/ did the same thing. so bought a new computer. My question is now how do I get my documents; files; music photos off of old computer if I can’t see anything?
    Can I make the hard drive external? if so, where do I purchase parts and are they expensive?
    thanks in advance.

  16. I have a panasonic blue-ray disc recorder that has stopped recording. I would like to download the recorded programmes from the hard drive to an external hard drive. Can it be done and how do I do it.? Thanks in anticipation. K. A Cockram.

  17. Hi. If I convert my SATA internal HDD (fully formatted at the moment) to External HDD, how do I USE it? Because I don’t think it’s a plug and play function via Hard Disk Enclosure unless I’m mistaken. Please reply ASAP. Thanks.

  18. Hey , I have a ( TOSHIBA DT01ACA050 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive ) Spare from old desktop PC . I would like to use it as Portable USB or Pen drive Type . Now Im not complete noob but I’m new to this . How do i convert that hard disk easily ? Thank You

  19. Just had a look for a 3.5 caddy don’t want to spend say over £20 but it seems a bit hit and miss out there. Any recomendations ands links. Cheers


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