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Can I access a 1998 computer hard drive from my system?

by fsennyes / December 13, 2013 1:41 AM PST

It's an older operating system (Windows 98 or ME) and I wanted to get to those old files. Specifically, the email data base. Is it possible?

Thank you!

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All Answers

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Sure, remove the hard drive, put in an enclosure...
by wpgwpg / December 13, 2013 1:45 AM PST

...and plug it into a USB drive. Be sure to get the right size (2.5" or 3.5") and interface type (IDE or SATA). IDE uses a wide ribbon cable (about 1.5"), SATA uses a much smaller cable (about .5"), so it's easy to tell them apart. The enclosures cost about $30.

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Thank you...also...
by fsennyes / December 13, 2013 4:06 AM PST

A newer operating system wouldn't matter while hooked up to the old hard drive?

Thank you!

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Re: hard drive
by Kees_B Forum moderator / December 13, 2013 4:10 AM PST
In reply to: Thank you...also...

The newer OS can still read the old disk.
But it's not sure your current programs 'understand' the old e-mail database.


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External enclosure.
by mjd420nova / December 13, 2013 8:32 AM PST

I still have the drives from systems on WIN95, WIN98, WINME and WINXPPRO and they are fully accessable with the $20. unit to mount and power the drive and interface with USB. Very handy but don't let your friends know you have one ot they'll want you to do their drives too.

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Saving your DATA
by pauly1651 / December 13, 2013 10:15 AM PST

Save your data to a thumb drive.
Plug the thumb drive into the new machine.

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no usb on old systems
by sharee100 / December 13, 2013 3:00 PM PST
In reply to: Saving your DATA

My old system doesn't have a usb port not does it have a cd burner. I use the same wide ribbon cables other people mention above. I just leave it in the old computer and unplug it from the motherboard, use the ribbon cable to transfer info to new computer, then re-plug in old hard drive to old computer. Works for me. I also save all my old hard drives from old computers and keep my original data as back ups. It has come in handy a few times.

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Look for one of these devices
by CharlieSierra24 / December 13, 2013 4:12 PM PST
In reply to: no usb on old systems

Either a device like the "Bytecc BT-300 USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA Adapter" or "SIIG USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE (JU-SA0012-S1)" would allow you to leave the drive in the original PC or just plug it in as necessary to recover data, but if you want a sleeker, long-term, solution try an "IDE 3.5 inch Drive Enclosure" (i.e. Vantec NexStar CX (NST-310S3-BK) 3.5'' SATA to USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure).This will make the drive usable for as long as it might live.

Good luck.

BTW: This kit comes with it's own AC Adapter so you don't need to rely on power from your old PC: Bytecc Super Speed USB 3.0 to SATA/IDE Adaptor w/ OTB(One Touch Backup) (BT-350 )

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Yes You Can
by Flatworm / December 13, 2013 9:18 PM PST

This is relatively easy, actually, presuming that the old drive is still in good working order.

You should remove the drive from the old PC, although this isn't necessary in most cases if you can access the back panel of the drives where the data and power connectors to the drive are located.

There are a large number of devices/connectors that will attach to and power your old drive and allow you to connect it to your newer computer via a USB port.

I personally use the Apricorn DriveWire Universal Hard Drive Adapter, which at $35 is a bit expensive but it has always worked with any drive I have ever used it on (and in my computer repair operation I use it a LOT) including on the drives from some computers dating back to the mid-1980s. There are many cheaper versions of this same general thing (the Kingwin EZ-Connect can be found as low as $10) but I have found them to be less reliable.

After you connect it, it should come up appearing just like a hard drive installed on your computer and you can transfer files to whatever location on your newer computer's drive(s) in the normal way.

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Three Questions
by Zouch / December 13, 2013 11:45 PM PST

All these recommendations are good and will provide the fastest way to access your data on the old drive but at up to $30, if you've only one drive to do, it might be a tad expensive. If you have more than one drive this is the way to go.

But there is an alternative that is cheaper, depending on:

1. Is the drive in question still in the old computer?

2. If so is the old computer still working?

3. If so, does it have an Ethernet port?

If all three answers are "yes", you could plug an Ethernet crossover cable between the old machine and the new one and, hey presto, you have a peer to peer network and can access the old drive from the new machine as a network drive. If you have a router, it's even easier.

The old machine is unlikely to be better than 100baseT, so it won't be very fast but for just one drive you can likely put up with that.

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