Jump to content


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.

Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.


Can I swap hard drive from external enclosure / case to computer?

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 William_D


  • Members
  • 6 posts
  • Local time:12:59 PM

Posted 06 August 2015 - 06:13 AM

I am planning to exchange the hard drive on my desktop computer for one with a larger capacity--to install and partition the hard drive and to install the operating system.  Each task is a first for me.

I have printed out and read several sets of instructions for performing each of the steps.


I have an old hard drive enclosure / case.


Is there any reason I cannot install the new hard drive in the case, partition the drive, and install the operating system--and then simply swap the new hard drive for the one currently installed in my computer?


The only person that I might turn to for help is often preoccupied with other issues, and it could be weeks before he is free to help me.


My thinking is that if I do run into problems, I could continue to use the old hard drive until I can sort them out?


I will be grateful for any comments or advice.




BC AdBot (Login to Remove)


#2 Havachat


  • Members
  • 1,136 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sleepy Hollow - Geelong - Go Cats.
  • Local time:06:29 PM

Posted 06 August 2015 - 07:16 AM

You can install the hard drive after you remove it from the enclosure  { Carefully }.

You could also Clone the old to the new one if you wish , or do a clean install on the new  drive,

You just need to ensure the new drive has compatible connectors etc { Sata i would assume }. 

#3 Kilroy


  • BC Advisor
  • 3,445 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Launderdale, MN
  • Local time:02:29 AM

Posted 06 August 2015 - 10:35 AM

Yes, I've purchased some external drives because they were cheaper than buying an internal drive.  The only possible issue you may have is that the drive interface is different, depending on how old the drive you're talking about happens to be.


You might be able to do a web search to see how to take about the external drive you have to see how to take the drive out and what type of drive is inside.

#4 LFos42


  • Members
  • 46 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Portland, Oregon
  • Local time:12:29 AM

Posted 08 August 2015 - 02:30 PM

Absolutely you can do this.  The above posting on potential issues - connector type (SATA, etc) you can check and can get an adpater if needed.  I'm not clear from your posting if you're swapping a drive already in an external enclosure with one that's already in your case; that's what it sounds like you are doing.  The hard disk physcial sizes might be different (one small and one large, for example) but you can buy an adapter to mount it in the case either way.  If the one in the case is large and the external enclosure small, you'll just need a new external enclosure of the right size.


If you clone the drive, just be aware you can't plug it into your computer with the original drive in there at the same time - the clone keeps even the hardware id, so your computer will not accept two drives with the same physical address name.  You'll have to reformat the drive you cloned drom (the original) if you want to use it in your system again at the same time the new (clone copy) is in use. This will cause your system to give the original drive a new hardware id so it won't conflict with the new cloned copy drive.  This is probably not an issue.  I would expect you will clone the drive to move your whole operating system and all data onto the larger drive, then just reformat the other drive.


One thing you can do, is you should be able to do all the steps you want - partitioning and cloning the drive over to the new drive before even installing the bigger drive, that way you can deal with any issues before taking out the known good drive you are working from now.  In other words, you can confirm the new drive is setup and working correctly, before you reformat or alter your current working boot drive.


The only other thing I would add to the discussion is that if you're talking about installing a larger but older hard drive is this --> hard drives do fail and after 5+ years you might really consider if you want to risk your system on an older drive.  Especially if it's a spinning drive (not SSD- solid state), and if it's ever been dropped or had errors.  You can run checkdisk on it but that is a consideration.  With a new drive, go for it; but with an older drive even though it's larger that may not be a wise choice in the long run (even though it's bigger so has a short term gain) if the disk fails and you lose everything with it.

#5 William_D

  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 6 posts
  • Local time:12:59 PM

Posted 10 August 2015 - 09:49 PM

I am a foreign national living in India.  It is often difficult to get honest advice here.  And the computer repairmen are usually hacks whose only interest is in bleeding their foreign clients of as much money as possible. (I could tell you stories.)

I and the other foreigners where I live here dread turning a computer over to one of the locals.

So, I am always trying to improve my understanding and computer skills so that I do not have to turn to one of these fellows.


I discovered Bleeping Computers only recently, and this is the second time that I have turned to this Website for help with my computer.


I am pleasantly surprised at how much thought and effort each person who responded has put into answering my questions.


I just want you to know that I deeply appreciate your help. 

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users