January 8, 2008 5:47 PM   Subscribe

What's a good product for reading old IDE and EIDE drives through USB?

I have a bunch of old drives that I'd like to get at, but I don't have a desktop computer any more. What's a good device for doing this? I'd need something that supplies its own power to the drive.

Windows XP, if it matters.
posted by king walnut to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There are a variety of such enclosures available for a range of prices. You can also just get adapters that don't come with any enclosure at all. These should be easy to find at local computer stores as well as online at places like newegg.
posted by odinsdream at 5:51 PM on January 8, 2008

I use these all the time. Google for IDE USB enclosure. 2.5" will fit a laptop drive, 3.5" a desktop.
posted by procrastination at 5:54 PM on January 8, 2008

I like the adapters that odinstream mentioned. Enclosures take a bit more time to set up and are more expensive. The adapters can be had for a little as $5 if you already have a compatible AC adapter on hand.
posted by aerotive at 5:57 PM on January 8, 2008

As mentioned, I need a device that also provides power to the drive. That means enclosure and not just an adaptor cable, right?
posted by king walnut at 5:59 PM on January 8, 2008

All devices that read 3.5" drives will need to provide power to it, since there is not enough USB power available. Be sure to get one that comes with a power supply, just in case it's assumed that you provide your own AC adapter. The 2.5" adapters may or may not pull power from the USB port. This is not what you're interested in, though.
posted by odinsdream at 6:07 PM on January 8, 2008

Here's one.
posted by sharkfu at 6:08 PM on January 8, 2008

I saw one online not too long ago (but a quick search hasn't turned it up) that's basically a docking station setup - 2 ports for 2.5 or 3.5 drives, upright, just plunk whatever drive you want into it...
posted by pupdog at 6:12 PM on January 8, 2008

Beware on these. I almost put up an AskMe about mine.

I bought what appears to be a perfectly nice enclosure with power, etc. No drivers required for XP. And, yeah, it's not recognizing discs. Other friends in the same boat have had similar issues with USB enclosures.

Let us know if you find a good one. I'll buy one more, but if it doesn't work out I'm just going to grab a craptastic machine, hit it with XP, and just manually do the drives one at time with RoboCopy and some love.
posted by adipocere at 6:44 PM on January 8, 2008

I got a bytecc one on the cheap from newegg some time ago. I think it cost ~$15. No drivers or anything, you just have to make sure the drive is set to MASTER and not slave or cable select.
posted by TomMelee at 6:50 PM on January 8, 2008

I bought a Vantec NexStar 3 and it reads two disks I've tried fine from either Linux or Windows, without any fuss.
posted by astrochimp at 7:47 PM on January 8, 2008

king walnut: "As mentioned, I need a device that also provides power to the drive. That means enclosure and not just an adaptor cable, right?"

The adapter cables can be bought with and without AC power supplies. I bought mine without as I already had a compatible power supply available.
posted by aerotive at 10:11 PM on January 8, 2008

One thing you need to be aware of when hooking up old drives via USB enclosures: Windows will consider any drive connected via USB to be a "removable" disk, and will only work with the first partition on it. If your old drives have more than one partition, the easiest way to pull files off them is using a Linux live CD.
posted by flabdablet at 11:48 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wiebetech makes enclosure-less adaptors that provide power. That particular one I linked to will do both 3.5" and 2.5" IDE as well as SATA. I've never used their products, but occasionally I find myself in a situation similar to yours, wishing I had one. I usually get the job done with a USB enclosure, but it's a pain to get the drives in and out of an enclosure if you're dealing with more than a couple drives.
posted by strangecargo at 12:00 AM on January 9, 2008

Where I work (IT dept) we use the blue Cables to Go USB to IDE adapters depicted on this page with a fairly high success rate. They also make sata variants as well. (tip: when plugging any of these in, have everything already plugged into the IDE drive, but leave the power cord disconnected from the transformer...that way when you connect it there's less likelyhood you'll damage the molex connection or IO board on the IDE drive..then plug in the usb part to the notebook and it should recognize it).

If you have any 2.5 IDE drives, there are adapters for that as well.
posted by samsara at 5:37 AM on January 9, 2008

Speaking as someone who loves NewEgg, I suggest checking locally. I bought a cheap aluminum enclosure (made by Dynex) from a local big-box store. Check prices (don't neglect smaller stores either). You may be able to get one cheaper and faster locally, with the added bonus of easier returnability if it doesn't work. No real issues using it. Two screws removed to open the case, four screws to hold the drive in place. The circuit board and power supply work fine out of the enclosure, so if you're switching drives a lot it isn't an issue, but you get the benefit of the enclosure if you want to drop in a large drive and use it as a backup device. No configuration issues aside from setting drive to Master/Single.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:09 AM on January 9, 2008

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