External hard drives are a popular storage solution, giving computer users a large amount of portable disk space that doesn't have the limitations of flash memory drives. Unfortunately, the cost of many external hard drives may dissuade some users from buying them. A more economical solution is to convert an internal hard drive into an external drive, which can be accomplished in just a few minutes by using an external hard drive enclosure.
Buy an external hard drive enclosure that is designed for the type and size of hard drive that you wish to install in it. Different enclosures are on the market for SATA and IDE 3.5-inch internal hard drives as well as laptop drives.
Open the external hard drive enclosure by removing the screws holding it together. If no screws are present in the enclosure, use a flat-head screwdriver to release the clasps holding the case together. Depending on how the case is designed, it might separate into two equal halves or it may have a cover that comes loose from the larger body of the enclosure.
Plug the internal hard drive into the enclosure by placing it inside and pressing its power and data connections into the corresponding connections in the enclosure. Be careful not to force the drive into place, but use sufficient pressure to ensure that both the power and data portions of the drive have a firm connection.
Replace the previously removed portion of the enclosure and clip or screw it back together. After you have reassembled the case, you are ready to plug in the USB or FireWire cable and power cord. The hard drive is now ready for use.
- Wear a anti-static wristband or ground yourself while handling the hard drive to avoid accidental discharge of static electricity that could damage the component.