Accessing hard drive using USB enclosure

posted in: Data recovery | 149

If for some reason your notebook fails to boot and you need to access data on the hard drive (I assume there is nothing wrong with the hard drive itself), you can use an external USB enclosure. This method is very simple and could be very useful when you need an emergency access to your data on the hard drive.
First of all you’ll have to buy an external USB enclosure for notebook hard drives. These enclosures are inexpensive and usually you can buy them in any local computer store. You also can find a wide variety of external enclosures on the Internet. Make sure to buy a correct one, enclosures for ATA and SATA hard drives are different (the connector inside the case will be different). Usually the enclosure includes the case and the USB cables.

External USB enclosure

Now remove the hard drive from the laptop. For this example I’m using an ATA hard drive.

Notebook hard drive

Open up the enclosure case and connect the hard drive to the connector inside. After that insert the hard drive into the case.

Assemble enclosure

After everything is assembled, you are ready to connect this device to any working computer (notebook or PC). The enclosure cable usually has two USB connectors on one end, make sure both of them are connected to the computer. You don’t need any external power supply for the enclosure because the hard drive gets power through USB ports. If the computer you are connecting the enclosure to runs Windows 2000 or higher, you will not need any device drivers. As soon as you connect the enclosure to the computer, the external hard drive should be detected and recognized automatically. After that the external hard drive will appear in My Computer and you can access it as any other hard drive in the computer.

Connect enclosure to computer

If you are getting “Access denied” message when you are trying to access your files on the hard drive, you’ll have to take ownership of a file or folder.

My previous post explains how to connect a notebook hard drive to a desktop PC via IDE hard drive adapter.


149 Responses

  1. Dear Sir

    I have an old laptop which is completely dead. The power socket is broken so I can’t switch it on anyway. I don’t have a desktop which I can transfer the laptop hard driver to. Is it possible to copy the laptop hard driver to a new external hard driver?( I am thinking of buying one if I need it.) I recently bought a netbook(only 1 GB memory capacity though.Is there any way I can use this netbook instead of using a desktop? I don’t know the differences between the external USB closure and the external hard driver. Could you kindly explain to me please?

    Please, help me.
    Anna

  2. cj2600

    Steve,

    My problem is that I have some e-mails, buried in Outlook (not exported into files) which I really would like to access. I don’t believe Outlook on a USB drive can be opened. They must be stored as a file, w a name in Outlook. Anyone know a way I can access them? names?

    The file name is Outlook.pst
    The location depends on the version of Outlook, but you can search the hard drive for “.pst” files.
    After you find the file, import it into new Outlook installation.

  3. I have a question I fear I know the answer to. I have just had to replace the hard drive on a relatively new Dell latitude. I have been down this road before, but had a little warning. My problem is that I have some e-mails, buried in Outlook (not exported into files) which I really would like to access. I don’t believe Outlook on a USB drive can be opened. They must be stored as a file, w a name in Outlook. Anyone know a way I can access them? names?

  4. Amanda

    Hey i am having the same problem as Tim and Derek…. i have a Dell and the adapter is covering it… Do i literally just pull the plastic piece off?? i really do not want to break the hard drive.. any advice?

  5. cj2600

    Derek,

    Do you have a part number for this external HD enclosure? I have looked everywhere for one that specifically fits a Dell Latitude X1 laptop hard drive.

    You don’t have to search for this particular enclosure. Is it a 1.8″ hard drive you have installed in your laptop?
    Just google for “1.8″ enclosure usb” and you’ll find it.

  6. Do you have a part number for this external HD enclosure? I have looked everywhere for one that specifically fits a Dell Latitude X1 laptop hard drive.

  7. cj2600

    Derek,

    Is there an adapter to plug the hard drive from a Dell Latitude X1 laptop into a usb port on another laptop? It has a female IDE connection of some sort.

    You’ll have to use an external USB enclosure. Install the laptop hard drive into the enclosure and connect to the USB port on another computer. The hard drive will appear in My Computer.

  8. Is there an adapter to plug the hard drive from a Dell Latitude X1 laptop into a usb port on another laptop? It has a female IDE connection of some sort.

  9. I had the access problem and rebooted with the enclosure plugged in.

    XP ran the checkdisk program and fixed the security problem along with a few other indexing errors that occurred when the hard drive crashed.

    After the checkdisk scan, I had no problems accessing the enclosed hard drive.

  10. Hi.I have a dead ACER ASPIRE 1642 with a damaged power connector and i want to take the data from the disk.But i cannot find what type of external usb enclosure i have to buy.I mean what type of hard disk has an ACER ASPIRE 1642?
    Thanx!

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