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Using Old Internal HD as External Storage Device


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#1
adlb1300

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I have an IDE hard drive from an old desktop. I want to use an enclosure to turn it into an external storage device and found one that should be work. My question is once I put it into the enclosure can I remove the old data from the drive to free up more storage space or do I need to keep the OS on it. If I can remove it what is the easiest way to reformat it so as to make it just a storage device similar to an oversized thumb drive.

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#2
Digerati

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If all goes well when you connect the enclosure, you will see another drive, with a new drive letter, appear under Computer on your desktop. You should then be able to right click on that new drive and select format, then follow the prompts. Formatting will free up the entire drive, including the old OS.

Do note if that drive has been partitioned, you will see more than one new drive appear - one for each partition.
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#3
adlb1300

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#4
Kemasa

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One bit of warning, sometimes Windoze will notice and use system files on the old OS disk (if it was a system disk), which can make it a bit more difficult in wiping out the data, in which case post back. If it was not a system disk, then this is rarely an issue, but I wanted to make you aware of possible hurdles in re-using the disk.

As said, you might also need to re-partition the disk.
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#5
Digerati

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Hmmm, never seen that happen before. Since the Registry being used by the running OS is on the boot disk and therefore pointing to system files on that boot disk, not this added disk, I don't see how the running version of Windows would even "see" those old files. Not saying it cannot happen, but it seems if that were an issue, it would be creating major havoc for many millions of users out there who are running in a multi-boot setup with 2, 3 or more operating systems installed on the same system.

At any rate, if you are going to format the drive, it will not be an issue anyway.
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#6
Kemasa

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If there is a pagefile on the old disk, Windoze can see that and use it, which then locks the filesystem. You can't dismount it and you can't format it.
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#7
Digerati

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But again, this is now a secondary drive. That page file was created by an old OS when the drive was the primary boot drive. That page file is not registered in the Registry of the running Windows on this machine so that file will not be seen as a page file. In fact, it will not be seen at all. You are suggesting that Windows scans all connected drives for system files, including page files. While Indexing might scan them all to enhance search speeds, the OS does not, and Indexing does not report back to Windows on the file types it finds.
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#8
adlb1300

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As I am thinking about it there are some files that I need to get off the drive before I can format it. Now as I understand it I should be able to just plug it in and move the files off and then format the drive. Is that correct?

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#9
Digerati

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I should be able to just plug it in and move the files off and then format the drive. Is that correct?

In theory, yes. But of course, theory and real-world don't always see eye to eye. ;)
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