Transfer info to new laptop

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I got my wife a new laptop for Christmas.
The old one had problems. The worst was a loose power jack. I tried to
solder it back onto the mother board and it went pretty well except that
I'm not that good at soldering things and I didn't get the solder hot
enough to grab what was left of the pins on the jack. It worked for
about 2 minutes, then it came completely off again. I might try again
and get the soldering iron really hot and see if that works better. I
might have to buy a new jack with full length pins to solder to.

That wasn't my question (but I'll take advice on the above too).

So for now we have a hard drive in a dead computer and it would be nice
to transfer some of that info over to the new laptop.
Oh, I had it all figured out... I was just going to swap hard drives.
That way, on Christmas morning, she would turn on the new computer and
it would look just as her old one did but everything would be new.
Sunday night I tried that. ooops. They don't fit in opposite machines. I
looked into it and the new computer uses a SATA drive. The old one would
be... what?... an IDE drive? Different pins.

OK... Second bright idea: I'll buy a hard drive case and turn the old
hard drive into an external drive. I find several on eBay starting at
about $7 including shipping. Some of them say they will take ANY 2 1/2
inch hard drive. Really???? How can one hard drive case take either/or
but the computers can only take one or the other?

So, are there only 2 basic pin configurations for laptop drives? What
about the thin drives? I'm finding all sorts of HD cases but I don't
want to buy one that doesn't work.


Re: Transfer info to new laptop

Steve wrote:
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Measure the thickness of the IDE drive and get a USB (IDE) external case
that is sized properly. Plug it in and you'll be able to copy all of
your data from the old drive. Special utilities are needed to transfer
software - you could also just reinstall the software.

Phil Sherman

USB adaptors to externalize laptop HDD's

    AFAIK, there are only 2 basic interfaces for laptop 2.5" drives, SATA
versus PATA aka IDE aka ATAPI aka many others.   For background info on PATA
, do read
    It is possible to swap HDD's into another laptop and then boot from the
swapped HDD, but that laptop needs to be almost identical in type to the
source.  Reason is, drivers & perhaps other parts of the OS have been
customized to run on one type of laptop only with its characteristic set of
hardware.   Another reason is the aforementioned hardware incompatibility,
PATA drives will not fit in SATA machines, etc.  So, even if you can fit the
HDD into another laptop, you may not be able to get it to boot, or if you
do, you will almost immediately get error messages that state drivers and/or
needed programs are missing.    Also the OS may start overwriting parts of
itself, and thus give you a HDD that may then no longer run decently in any
     Since SATA drives started to be available for laptops, it is no longer
true that any hard drive case that will fit one 2.5" HDD will fit another,
there are now 2
basic types of 2.5" laptop HDD's.  You have to know the interface your HDD
is meant to use.
      The external case adaptors with USB generally have internal hardware &
firmware that will read the HDD that fits & the USB interface will report to
a WinXP machine without needing any additional software.   Many ext. case
adaptors come with CDROM's to install software, this is generally not
necessary for modern WinXP machines with compatible USB interfaces.    The
externalized 2.5" HDD's with the USB interface, whether originally SATA or
PATA types, should work equally well with any WinXP machines they can
connect to.  I don't know about other types of OS's.
       Once the HDD has been externalized, you can copy anything on it to
another machine, or image the entire HDD to a disk using Norton Ghost or
similar software.   Software that has been installed on the HDD is most
unlikely to work due to the nature of WinXP software installations.   This
is why all installation software should be kept on file if you ever intend
to use it on another HDD or another machine.
       There are some devices which will externalize either/or SATA or PATA
laptop drives.  See this search query: from   This device will connect to 2.5" and 3.5" SATA or PATA
drives, and make them accessible via a USB connection.   This device does
not enclose the drives, which would need their electronics protected from
external damage.   If I didn't already have several adaptors of various
sizes I would buy this since it will connect both common types and both
common sizes of HDDs to a USB port.
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Re: Transfer info to new laptop

First, you can't swap hard drives from different machines.  PERIOD.
Even if they do fit, although in your case one is apparently IDE and the
other is SATA.

Your second idea is the correct way to do it, although you might want to
get just an external adapter instead of a case.  Cases don't take both
IDE and SATA, you get an IDE case or an SATA case, but once that's
right, they will more or less take any 2.5" drive of that type (there
can be a thickness issue with some older drives, but that is rarely a
problem with more modern drives, and, in any case, you can temporarily
circumvent that by not putting the drive INSIDE the cause, but just
using it's electronics.

Electrically, yes, there are only 2 basic types, IDE and SATA.

Instead of a case, you might want one of these:

Which handles both IDE and SATA on both laptops and desktops.

Phil Sherman wrote:
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Re: Transfer info to new laptop

Steve wrote:
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A big thank you to the 3 of you who took the time to not only answer my
question but also clue me in on things I didn't even know that I didn't
know. Obviously I learned a lot and I'm glad I came here to ask. It's
probably a good thing the new computer didn't have the same kind of hard
drive. I would have, at best, been confused by what happened when I
switched the drives and, at worst, might have messed up what I was
trying to preserve.
I had been toying with the idea of taking both hard drives out of my
current desk top computer and putting them into a similar computer that
my wife used to use. It is 2 years newer and faster than what I'm using
now. Now I know better than to just assume that would work without some


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