Solved how to copy an old hard drive

Microsoft Microsoft windows xp home edit...
June 13, 2014 at 22:53:04
Specs: Windows 7, don't know
Shamefully I have several old computers sitting around collecting dust. I haven't been able to toss them because I worry that there might be 'something important' on them.(yes I have a hoarder side) Is there a way or a device that I can use to copy the entire contents...then easily go through them and either keep or delete stuff I do or don't want to keep? Thank you:)

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#1
June 14, 2014 at 00:45:10
✔ Best Answer
My method would be to pull hard drives from the computers you aren't using and slaving (using them like an external drive) to your current computer and copying any contents you wish to keep then replacing them.

The tricky part is dealing with permissions. You may need to take ownership of the files, so to speak, before you can copy across the files you wish to keep.

There are a couple of ways you can connect the drives to your PC. You can open the tower and use a spare SATA or IDE cable with power connector. Easier still would be to use a docking station. It all really depends on the hardware you have to do the task.

Another way, which might suit most is to temporarily power up the saved PC's and copy the contents you wish to save to removable media such as cd or USB flash drive then copy across to your current system.

There are a number of ways to achieve the task. You just need to decide which is easiest and most reliable.

P.S. No shame in keeping old systems. You should see what I have hoarded. It's ALL good. I'm sure most will attest to that fact with their own collection.

message edited by btk1w1


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#2
June 14, 2014 at 01:51:03
Hello and thank you! What I'm using right now is a laptop. However I have 2 useable pcs...both are over 10 years old lol. I have looked a diagrams etc as far as maybe trying to hook up my old drives into one computer with all those cables. Something else that I've thought of is that if I were to copy everything from one computer, it would include whatever version of Windows that I had at the time (wouldn't that take up a lot of unnecessary space etc?)...would I be able to delete that, and if so, would it affect the files there or would it affect my newer computer? just fyi, one of my computers has a massive memory of 4g lol...that's how old it gets...
Thank you in advance:)

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#3
June 14, 2014 at 04:24:11
"...looked a diagrams etc as far as maybe trying to hook up my old drives into one computer with all those cables."

Really, if your current machine has USB ports and the older machines have IDE drives (likely), then something like this should be all you need:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...

Remember that if you move just data (photos, music, documents) off the old drives to the new, there shouldn't be much trouble. Moving entire programs wouldn't likely work too well, since newer programs (newer than DOS-based programs), write information to the Windows registry during installation.

"...were to copy everything from one computer, it would include whatever version of Windows that I had at the time (wouldn't that take up a lot of unnecessary space etc?)...would I be able to delete that, and if so, would it affect the files there or would it affect my newer computer?"

If you put the info in a separate directory (such as a folder named "OLD DATA"), then there shouldn't be a problem. Just remember that the versions of Windows you transfer probably won't work on any other machine, since they were installed on machines with specific hardware and drivers. Better to save the space and just copy stuff outside of the "Windows" directories. Also remember if you want to save the data long-term, you need to copy it to something more reliable than your newer machines' hard drive (such as a multiple CD/DVD backup).

"...just fyi, one of my computers has a massive memory of 4g lol...that's how old it gets..."

4GB is actually a lot of memory, sure you don't mean 4MB? Or are you refering to hard-drive space?

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


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#4
June 14, 2014 at 04:26:10
"wouldn't that take up a lot of unnecessary space etc?"

Of course it would. Rather than copying the entire contents of the HDD, why not explore the contents & just copy what you think is worth keeping? Most likely it will just be the contents of your My Documents folder & possibly whatever you had on the desktop.


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#5
June 14, 2014 at 05:18:43
Well, I assume it would be pics, docs, and a couple of old programs....which would be most of whatever is on those drives...
and yes, 4g was the total in one hard drive ... the next one had 40g which seemed amazing at the time lol ... as you can see, these things are really old lol....
Thanks again
K

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#6
June 14, 2014 at 05:26:24
"... as you can see, these things are really old lol...."

Guess old is a relative term. Newest machine I have only has a 40GB internal HDD. But nonetheless, as riider states, save only what you really feel you need. If you have programs to save, find the original installation media (floppies/discs) and back those up. Pre-installed programs won't likely work on another machine.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


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#7
June 14, 2014 at 17:18:44
I'm not clear from your # 2 if you wanted to connect them to the laptop or a desktop. Most 10 year old desktops are going to have 2 IDE ports on the motherboard each capable of supporting 2 drives so you shouldn't have a problem doing it that way. You'd just need to familiarize yourself with IDE jumper settings and cable connections. Of course the drive you wanted to copy to would need to have enough space to accomodate whatever you wanted copied. You could create a folder for each drive you wanted to copy and then drag the contents from the old drive to the folder on the working drive.

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