How can I read data off my old disks?

I have a stack of old hard disks at home and I’m looking to copy all my old data off them. What’s the best way to do this?

Well, you’re going to need to connect them to your computer. Hard disks usually come in one of two flavours. Older disks use an interface called IDE, while newer ones use an interface called SATA. You can get different types of readers for each of these, including caddies where you can put a drive and plug into your USB drive. This technique is always better than opening up your PC and plugging your disk right in.

I found a great little device that can help you in this job. It’s the Startech USB to SATA/IDE External Hard Drive Dock that lets you plug in both a SATA disk and an IDE disk into the device, connect them to your USB port and access the data on both. It’s a great way to copy data off an old IDE disk onto a new SATA one; or what you want to do in this case, copy data off your old disks (whether they are IDE or SATA). The great thing about this device is that next time you need to access data off a disk, all you have to do is go ahead and plug it in. The device is currently on sale from at around $40, pretty cheap when you consider it lets you use all your old disks again.

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