Problem's with a HDD

Hi, my mum has had a 1TB external HDD for a while now, but the Mini USB connector at the back is dead. As far as I know, all the information on the disk is still intact, and the fault lies solely with the casing. 

I've got a few options now. We are sure that the ext.HDD is out of its warranty period, so that leaves it to us to fix. I know that it would be easy to simply place it into a separate enclosure, but I've had a few thoughts that could work, but that I need to run past some more tech savvy people than myself.

1. My friend's dad, quite out of the blue, gave me a whole computer for nothing. The HDD is close to failing (has a warning message on startup and is password locked anyway) so I would need to get a new one. My question is whether it would be possible to install Windows (or possibly a Linux based OS) onto the disk WITHOUT losing any data.

2. Looking at enclosures, I've been thinking about trying a RAID 1 system (as these are photos of our childhoods and stuff) so to keep the files doubly safe. The only problem with this, is that I don't know whether I can enable RAID 1 if there is content on one of the disks.

Sorry for such a text heavy post, thanks in advance for any responses.

Hi samuelgteague

What type of HDD is it? Generally the external HDD'S are just internal HDD'S in a case. You should be able to remove the HDD from the case use a SATA interface to connect it to a computer.


In regards to Raid you will need at least 2 disk's for a raid 1.


If you want to make sure your data is safe set up a raid 1 by using a 2 disk system. set up a back up on another drive and store your data off sight for fire/flood safety.


If you want you can also burn the photos to CD/DVD/BLU RAY but depending on the CD/DVD/BLU RAY generally only guaranteed to last 5 - 10 years.



As far as I know, it is a basic 3.5" HDD, but I'm the only one in my house with a proper desktop so we would rather just put it into another case or something similar.

If we could install an OS onto the disk without losing any data, we could put it into the spare desktop, but I have no idea if that's possible.

If it's a standard HDD in a case, remove the case and stick a sata-to-USB connector on it. You can buy them online or at a decent computer store.

You could, but it's very easy to delete all the data when adding a partition for an OS.

I would back-up the data on another drive before doing anything with an OS or partition. This is the first thing you should do.

Also, you really should have 3 copies of important data like family photos and such. RAID is nice, but if your PSU blows and fries both your hard drives it won't help. You need something separate.