5 ways to connect your old storage devices to a new PC

When your computer crashes, or when you need to upgrade to a new faster machine, you may think that buying a new PC will solve the problem, but it’s not always enough. As it turns out, a modern PC may not support your old storage devices.

If you build a PC yourself, you can still choose one of several great cases with 5.25 “optical drive bays, but if you buy a pre-built desktop, chances are it does not have such a bay If you’re hoping to recover data from your older hard drives or even floppy disks (yes, seriously), you may also find that you can not connect them to your motherboard.

Likewise, if you buy a laptop, mini-pc, or an all-in-one today, not only will it not have an optical drive, but it may not support the SATA drive from your old computer or come with one either. full SD card reader in size. With this guide, you will learn about the different ways to connect your old storage drives to a new computer.

External optical drives

With CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray Discs still commonplace, many companies are selling external CD / DVD drives. The question is, which one should you buy?

For $ 30, there’s a well-publicized generic option on Amazon that offers everything you need in a CD / DVD drive and nothing you don’t: the dual-head USB cable supports both Type-A and Type-C stik. With an optional power cable, the device is compatible with low-power devices such as the Surface Pro 8. The device supports Windows, macOS and Linux and comes with your choice of a black or gray padded case.

Blu-ray drives are more expensive and are sold by better known companies. For $ 90, LG is selling a compact device that can write at 6X speeds. If you value speed over portability, Asus has a drive that can write at 16X speeds for $ 125.

External cabinets for internal disk drives

If you can not install your old SATA drive inside your new PC, you can still use it as an external drive. If you have a standard USB port, you can do so with any 2.5 “SSD or HDD for only $ 10 with the Sabrents case. If you only have USB-C, or want a higher quality product, you get Ugreens aluminum-made case instead of $ 21.

If you have a 3.5 “HDD, you need a larger case with an extra power plug. Orico has one for $ 23, and Sabrent has one with a fan for $ 29. Once again, Ugreen has an aluminum / Type- C option for $ 32.

If you already have an old M.2 SSD that you want to convert to an external one, then SSK’s aluminum cabinets are the best option for you, with both Type-A and Type-C cables. The SATA version is $ 14, while the NVMe version is $ 20 (or $ 17 with a coupon).

External SD card readers

If your computer does not have a full-size SD card reader, the solution may be cheaper than you think …

For only $ 9, Vanja sells a device that basically consists of 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 also want to use both slots for faster cards, the USB 3.0 version costs $ 16.

External diskette drive

USB floppy disk drives look like something that should not exist: after all, USB is the connector that enabled disk-on-keys to completely replace floppy disks at the turn of the century. But with the inability to connect an internal diskette drive to a modern motherboard, USB drives are the easiest way to use your old disks with your new computer.

There are different companies that sell external diskette drives, but apart from the logo, most of them may be identical, so your choice should depend on price and seller reliability. At the time of writing, “Raayoo” looks like a good option for $ 19.

You probably will not find a USB-C floppy drive, so if your computer does not have USB-A, you should buy an adapter like Syntechs ($ 10 for a pack of 2).

Parallel ATA (PATA) to PCIe / USB adapters

If you do not recognize the connector on your old hard drive, then it is probably PATA, also known as IDE (among other names), which was replaced by SATA around the time that floppy disks ceased to be popular. To install the drive inside a modern desktop PC, use one of your PCIe slots for an adapter.

Startech sells such an adapter for $ 23. It uses only one PCIe lane and can be installed even in the shortest PCIe slots. You can screw it onto the cabinet, but it weighs so little that you may not even need it.

Other companies sell adapters that basically turn PATA drives into SATA for less, but we do not recommend them as they are complicated to install and can create physical compatibility issues with drive cages. If you do not have a desktop PC with an available PCIe slot, use an external adapter kit such as Vantec’s ($ 20).

Be aware though: it does not include a protective case for the drive, and if the drive does not fit between the PATA and power connectors at all, you will not be able to use it.

Masthead Photo Credit: Simon Migaj