This evening I went to Best Buy to buy a new hard drive and an external hard drive enclosure. I didn’t know if my faulty drive would work in an enclosure but it was worth a try. When I got home, I opened up the enclosure and slid in the drive in question. I also had to plug in the enclosure, since it’s externally powered. I then connected the USB 3.0 cable to my computer.

Once I had my computer booted, I cautiously flipped the switch on the enclosure. I was afraid the drive would make random clicking noises, which is not good for hard drives. There was only the slight whir of the drive spinning up though. I held my breath as I waited for the system to recognize the drive… and… boom, I saw the drive show up in the file explorer! Yes! I didn’t know how much time I had, the drive could work for only five minutes as far as I knew. I quickly navigated to the folders that I kept my data, highlighted them, and then started to copy them over to my backup drive. These files were the ones that I needed to copy the most. The rest of the drive contained applications and games. These can be re-downloaded and installed again if necessary.

It took about fifteen minutes to copy the data files over. Once that was done, I became a lot less worried. The drive was still working but when I touched the enclosure, it was quite warm. This drive probably wasn’t going to last a lot longer. At this point, I hadn’t even taken the new hard drive out of the box. I needed to formulate the next step, so I shut down the drive in the enclosure, so it wouldn’t get any hotter.

After about ten minutes of research on the Internet, I decided I was going to clone the faulty drive over to the new drive I bought. Once it was cloned, I’d change the drive letters in the new drive to match the old drive. Theoretically, Windows wouldn’t know the difference and my system would work like it did before.

I first had to install the new drive, so I shut down my computer, and plugged in the new drive. Upon rebooting, I downloaded some free disk management software. I needed this to clone the old drive. The software indicated that it would clone about 400 Gb worth of data. The cloning is actually still in progress as I type this. Since it has to go over a USB connection, even a 3.0 one, it’s quite slow compared to the SATA connection.

I actually took the drive out of the enclosure to do the cloning, the interface to it is on the front panel, so you can just leave the bare drive sitting on the desk. The housing is just a metal shell which I was afraid was just trapping the heat in. I just went to touch the drive and it is very warm. We’re only 30% through the cloning process, so I’m hoping it can hold on.

It’s getting late, so I’ll probably need to let this run overnight. It’s my hope that when I wake up, the clone will have been successful. My next post will detail what happens next. Exciting!

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