What is the best way to transfer data from an old hard drive to a new computer?

by on November 15, 2009

Q: My old Emachines T2984 PSU crapped out and took the motherboard with it so I bought a Dell Optiplex GX620. What is the best way to transfer the data from the old EIDA hard drive to the new one in the Dell?

The Emachines had XP Home (cira ’04) while the Dell has XP Pro (service pack 3). I also have a running Compaq S5100NX w/ CDR & DVD drives available. If I try to install the Emachines hard drive into the Compaq, what kind of conflicts will I be facing? I was hoping to transfer the data from the slave hard drive to the new Dell using a cable of some kind.

3 Responses to “What is the best way to transfer data from an old hard drive to a new computer?”

    Check if the Dell has any plugs on the motherboard to support your old harddrive. If it does, you should be able to just plug it in and power up the PC. The Dell should still boot from it’s main harddrive as normal. It would then detect your older harddrive, and assign it a drive letter. You can then drag and drop all the files you want to keep over. Once you’re done, just unplug the old harddrive!

    If there isn’t an plug available for your old harddrive, you’ll need to buy something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812189122


    Thanks for your reply, Mark. I see no way to directly slave the IDE to the Dell. There is no room nor ribbon cable available in the Dell so I looks like the USB to IDE adapter is the ticket. It also appears that the Dell has a completely different (and smaller) 500 GB h/d and ribbon cable, not to mention that the Dell case is so slim that the IDE drive won’t fit. I’m going to give the adapter kit a try and cross my fingers. On the upside, 10 bucks won’t kill me if it doesn’t work. This AskAGeek site is the best!! Johnny


    That thinner data cable you’re seeing inside the new PC is called Seral ATA (SATA). It’s become the standard for harddrives in PCs over the past few years. Smaller cable and a faster data transfer rate!