Replacing a Hard Drive

Listen to the podcast Question: My computer has died, and it looks like I may have to replace my hard drive. How do I get the data from the old computer to the new one? The IT Guy says: If you end up replacing the hard drive on your computer, and assuming that the old hard drive hasn't been damaged, you
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Question: My computer has died, and it looks like I may have to replace my hard drive. How do I get the data from the old computer to the new one?

The IT Guy says:
If you end up replacing the hard drive on your computer, and assuming that the old hard drive hasn't been damaged, you can remove it and put it into an 'enclosure,' and that will let you make turn it into an external hard drive. If you go to any major computer/electronics store, you will want to ask for an "external hard drive enclosure." You'll need to know the physical size of your hard drive and whether it's an IDE, ATA or SATA drive before purchasing one. Actually, it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring it with you, as long as you are careful with it! The process of putting the hard drive into the case is pretty easy, usually taking no more than five or ten minutes. Once you have it in the enclosure, you can plug it into power and attach it to your computer, and it will work like any other external hard drive. All of your files should be there.

If the hard drive is damaged, the options get more complicated. You will probably need to send the hard drive to a data recovery service, which can use very sophisticated tools to retrieve the data from the damaged drive. This is pretty expensive, however - a friend of mine recently spent $1500 on such an endeavor! To find a company that does this, go to your favorite search engine and search by the term "hard drive recovery" to see a variety of businesses. I'd look for one that does a free estimate.

Of course, in a perfect world, you would have all of your data backed up to an external hard drive already, so this wouldn't be necessary! Speaking of which, I haven't backed up lately myself, so if you'll excuse me I need to go work on that before the Irony Elves strike down my computer.

Remember: "S.O.B.U.R – Save Often; Back-Up Regularly"!

Next Tip: Backing Up

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