Last week I finally got an enclosure for the hard drive salvaged from my late laptop—yes, the one that died back in April. For those who don’t keep my technological traumas uppermost in their minds (most of you, I hope), the thrice-welded power connector on the main board had reached the Do Not Resuscitate stage, but there was nothing wrong with the drive.
I actually ordered an enclosure for the drive shortly after installing my replacement laptop, but for some reason it didn’t work. (It appeared to have one more socket than my drive had pins.) So I returned it for store credit and went in search of a case like the one I got for my XHD a few years ago, because the internal drive on my old laptop was the same model (albeit of a lower capacity) as my external drive, and I’d bought the drive bare and put it into the case myself.
Naturally, that particular 2.5″ drive enclosure (a combination USB and FireWire model with a blue cooling light, manufactured by Bytecc) had long since been discontinued. I was hesitant to order another enclosure online without knowing for sure it would work with my drive.
Then I went and spent my store credit on an MP3 player. (For the curious, it was an inexpensive drive enclosure, traded for a very cheap MP3 player.)
Now, the MP3 player has transformed my lifestyle and indeed my approach to marketing, not to mention providing me with a free business education during “dead time” when I can’t read, all thanks to the modern miracle of podcasting. I can even use it to store or transfer non-MP3 files in a pinch (though only 128 MB of them). But buying it did mean I had a perfectly good hard drive sitting uselessly in an anti-static bag on my desk.
No longer. I got myself a slick black mesh USB 2.0 Metal Gear drive enclosure (made by PPA USA; I bought it from Tiger Direct). As you can see, it’s only about 2/3 the thickness of the Bytecc.
It was also much easier to assemble than the Bytecc, and even came with its own screwdriver. The mesh makes for great heat dissipation, though I do wonder whether it will let in smaller dust particles, and no doubt it’s vulnerable to cat hair. (On the other hand, I have yet to meet anything not vulnerable to cat hair.) And it means there’s no insulation against the mosquito-like whine of the drive spinning.
The drive seems to be a bit persnickety about working through a hub, probably due to power issues, but once connected to the proper place enumerated itself (I love that term) and volunteered for the post of Drive E.
The data was indeed all intact, but the truth was I hadn’t needed any of it in more than six months. Once I confirmed that there was nothing lurking there which I didn’t have a copy of someplace else, I reformatted the drive and assigned it the letter K for Keramat, the name of the laptop I took the drive from.
I was amazed to discover that this $15.99 drive enclosure came with a one-touch backup button, so I installed the BackupKing X software to check it out. BackupKing X isn’t anything to write home about, but the one-touch button did work, once I’d created a backup job to assign to it. Given that the drive lives across the room from me, one-touch backup isn’t all that useful, and BackupKing X is pretty much a straight file copy program, so once I’d concluded my experiment I removed the software.
So what to do with my newly reclaimed drive? It made sense to me to use the K drive for my Ghost backups and the X drive (my previous XHD) for my daily file backups, program installation packages, and more recent archives. That meant transferring a couple of Ghost files from Drive X to Drive K, which is very slow over USB 1.1. (The external drives, the hubs, and the cables all support USB 2.0 high-speed, but alas my laptop’s USB controllers do not.) That accomplished, I suddenly had some welcome wiggle room on my X drive, plus the added safeguard of not having all my backups in the same place.
And the moral of the story is: don’t recycle your hard drive along with your old computer, unless the drive is dead. Keep it, re-house it, and use it for backups. Not only does it provide you with inexpensive external data storage, it keeps the information on the drive from falling into the wrong hands.
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