One of the most common questions asked in the forums is from people who just bought a new computer, and want to get their ‘stuff’ transfered over from their new system. And though there are many ways to do this successfully, the best way, IMHO, is to put your old hard disk into the new computer to make the file transfers.

I know, I know, I can hear the screams as I type. You mean I have to open up the case? Yep. But let’s start with some basics first. This procedure works best for you pack rats who have downloaded every free song on the Internet, who have saved every email, every photograph, and every document since Columbus came to the new world. 🙂

For normal systems, you can use either a USB thumbnail drive, or burn your stuff to CD or DVD. But if you fall into the above category with Gigabytes + Gigabytes of info to transfer, hard disk to hard disk may be your best option.

So let’s start. Unplug the power to the old unit, and remove the case cover. Make sure you ground yourself to the case. It is always recommended to use a grounding wrist strap to make sure you are properly grounded. Locate the hard disk and remove the ribbon cable and power supply, then remove the screws that secure the hard disk to the case. Remove the hard disk and look on the rear of the unit (this is where the cable’s plugged in) and you will notice a row of pins. On the top of the drive you will see a schematic that lists the jumper settings. You want to set the old drive to Slave. I usually use tweezers to remove and relocate the jumper.

Seagate has a diagram of jumpers here.

Next, crack the case of the new system following the same safety procedures listed above. Connect the old drive to an available ribbon connector, normally available on the same ribbon cable that connects the main hard drive on your new system. Plug in an available power supply connector. Secure the old drive to the case, if you wish. I’m bad. I usually just sit the old drive in the case.

Plug back in the power supply cord, and boot the system. In Windows Explorer you will see your old hard drive listed and you can begin the transfer process.

See comments below concerning warranty.

[tags]file, transfer, hard disk, master, slave, drive[/tags]