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2.5″ HDD housings, Enclosures and Docks 

A hard drive enclosure is a basic piece of kit which can transform a standard internal hard drive into an external hard drive, or even better a speed SSD solid-state drive in almost just a few seconds. If a computer dies for any reason other than a dead hard drive, you can always convert the old drive into an external unit, and grab important files off the drive in the process. The same thing can be done if you install a larger hard drive in your computer and don’t know what to do with the old one.

You need to buy a hard-drive enclosure that matches the size of the drive you have; a 2.5” HDD housing enclosure for a 2.5-inch drive and a 3.5-inch enclosure for a 3.5-inch drive. Keep in mind that 2.5-inch enclosures are usually bus-powered, meaning that they pull power from the port they’re plugged into and they don’t come with a power adapter; this makes them completely portable.

Installing a hard drive in an external enclosure is very easy; usually, all you need is a screwdriver. In the worst case, you might have to move or remove a jumper that sets the drive to be a master or slave, but the odds are you won’t have to touch anything but your screwdriver. Once your external drive is working, you can connect it to a computer and pull any files you want from it. Then you can format the drive and start with a clean slate.

Most 2.5” HDD housing enclosures feature USB or FireWire interfaces because they’re the most popular ones in use, and some feature a combination of both to make them more versatile. Most USB enclosures are USB 2.0, which is compatible with any USB port out there. But only USB 3.0 peripherals will deliver USB 3.0 performance, and that’s only when connected to a USB 3.0 port. More and more new computers feature USB 3.0 ports, so you might want to go with a USB 3.0 enclosure.

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