• About us…

  • The archives

  • RSS The Gaming Session

  •  Better and faster with IPv6

  • ipv6 ready

If you’ve been using computers for a while, you’ve probably got a ton of CDs and DVDs laying around. If you’re assiduous about making backups, you’ve probably already found that making backups to optical media is a bit of a mug’s game. At 4.7GB, a rewriteable DVD doesn’t stretch very far, and as for actually rewriting them periodically? Sometimes they go wrong, and you’re left with a fresh coaster for your coffee-cup.

So, here’s an alternative. An affordable alternative.

IDE drive in a USB drive shell That there is a USB drive shell, with an old 40GB IDE hard drive in it. The drive-shell itself dates back a while, but purchased empty, was nice and cheap. It won’t actually push enough watts to spin up a drive that’s larger than 40GB — but  but you can get ones these days that will handle larger drive capacities.

It’s pretty simple. A power adaptor, a USB cable, and a case for the drive. Forget the lid. Take it off and stow it in a carton somewhere and forget about it. If you’re on your second or subsequent computer, you’ve probably got at least one IDE drive hanging around that you can shove in. You’ve probably got more than one.

The drive doesn’t actually need mounting, which is a plus because you’ll want to stick them in and take them out again, as needed. Once you’ve plugged the cable in the back (only ever plug and unplug the drive while the power is off!) the cable and shape/size of the case stop the drive flopping around. You’re not going to go jogging while it is connected anyway. Just leave it on a flat surface and it will be fine.

Plug it in, let your system recognize it, format it and get your files on there. Then pull the drive out of its shell, and stow it somewhere where it won’t get traumatized, dropped, rusty, set on fire or frozen. Then get another.

Grab the old drives from the PCs of relatives or friends when they upgrade or get new systems. Check your local university, who periodically throw out vast quantities of old equipment. Ask that geek in your life. The shells are very affordable. Without a drive in them, you can get even a SATA shell for less than $30 or so. For a lifetime supply of second-hand hard-drives, though, you’ll probably want IDE/USB.

Soon, you’ll be practically drowning in stacks of drives that you can swap in and out of your USB drive shell, and probably at at least 40GB each. Use them like rewritable DVDs, only they’re more durable, higher-capacity, scratch proof, and generally a whole lot faster to access. Do remember to label them though. You don’t want to spend your time swapping drives in and out the way you do with all your unlabeled disks.

Left alone, the drives last for many, many years. Using one for (even fairly frequent) reading and writing doesn’t noticeably reduce their life-span. Just power them down when you’re not actively using them. It’s also a portable solution, if you have more than one computer in the house – though moving the power-adaptor as well is an extra, minor chore.

Categories: Hardware, How To, Technology.

Got a news tip or a press-release? Send it to news@taterunino.net.
Read previous post: