5 Ways to Connect Your Old Storage Devices to a New PC

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,238   +7,158
The absolute best thing you can do is dedicate a day or two to going through your old DVD’s and Hard Drives and flash drives and compact flash cards and uploading the collectibles to your HDD.

Then: I put them all on a 4TB SSD.

Most people would consider that a waste of an SSD, but:

#1 as technology improved, SSD got cheaper.

#2 the transfers are extremely fast, and easy to migrate to newer, better, higher capacity drives.
 

Mowserx

Posts: 18   +17
The absolute best thing you can do is dedicate a day or two to going through your old DVD’s and Hard Drives and flash drives and compact flash cards and uploading the collectibles to your HDD.

Then: I put them all on a 4TB SSD.

Most people would consider that a waste of an SSD, but:

#1 as technology improved, SSD got cheaper.

#2 the transfers are extremely fast, and easy to migrate to newer, better, higher capacity drives.
I was thinking the same thing. I just bought that floppy drive so I can go through a few stacks of old disks from college in case I want to save something before I chuck them.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,238   +7,158
I was thinking the same thing. I just bought that floppy drive so I can go through a few stacks of old disks from college in case I want to save something before I chuck them.


The Other thing, I forgot to mention, is if you have a Onedrive or other Cloud storage, you can upload your data directly to those folders and then download them to your portable HDD or SSD.

I moved my stuff from 3.5 Floppy to DVD 15 years ago in anticipation of the eventual discarding of Floppy drive tech.

But I think the most important thing to consider is KEEPING AN OLD PC so you always have access to old storage media.

I kept my HP Pavilion 8570c (Pentium 3, 96 MB SDRAM, 20 GB HDD, Geforce MX 400, Windows XP) just in case I need to access old stuff.

When I move to DDR5 and a 13th Gen intel CPU, I'll probably put my aging Area 51 on the shelf as well - next to my HP Pavilion Core i7 4790.

Old LAPTOPS are also worth keeping - especially if they contain a FLOPPY drive and DVD/CDRW.
 

arrowflash

Posts: 513   +585
Except for the USB floppy reader, I'm covered.

One of my PCs still has an internal DVD drive, and one of my old retired laptops also has an internal DVD drive (I recently used the laptop to burn a blank CD, and it's still working fine). For SATA HDDs and SSDs, I have a couple of external enclosures and a docking station. I'm also covered on card readers, one of my PCs (the same that has the DVD drive) has a multifunction media reader in one of the external drive bays with every card slot ever made by man, and I also own 2 USB card readers similar to the one in the picture.

I do own a PATA-to-USB adapter like the Vantec model shown in the last picture, but be forewarned: These aren't very reliable (it's not just my unit, I have used other similar units and none of them was reliable). The devices often disconnect from the USB bus at random, and sometimes there are read/write errors during file copy operations (on HDDs we're sure are perfectly fine). However for emergencies where you just want to recover a small amount of data from an old PATA HDD, they do work (mostly). Never tried PATA-to-PCI/PCIex adapters.

Another warning: some 10 years ago, at my job we purchased one of these USB floppy drives specifically for a client that wanted to recover data he had in a few floppies. After trying the drive on multiple different machines with different Windows versions and even a Linux box, the thing simply didn't work. On some PCs the device wouldn't be recognized, on others it would but couldn't read the floppies. We thought the unit was defective and took it back to the store, but it was the same thing with a different unit.

Gladly, later we found a very old retired PC lost deep in our storage that had an internal floppy drive. Then it was just a matter of connecting the PC to our LAN and copying the data from the floppies.
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 671   +535
"Some" external USB DVD drives are bootable and "some" are not

"Some" SATA to USB converters can be used for installing Win2Go on a SATA SSD, and "some" other SATA to USB converters (like the StarTech cannot)

Internal as well as external BluRay drives never need to be 16X
You will save a lot of money going with 14X drives, and good quality BluRay disks top out at 6X speed up to 50GB, and 4X speeds at 100GB for recordable disks

If a 6X disk records at 3.4X speed, it will play pack at 3.4X speed (regardless of drive speed)

If a 6X disk records at 5.2X speed, it will play back at 5.2X speed

Playback speed is the same as record speed regardless of drive speed or the rated speed printed on the disk

If you fix a lot of computers, you may need to buy several brands of garbage just to find one solid "gem" that does what you need it to
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,317   +5,502
"Some" external USB DVD drives are bootable and "some" are not

"Some" SATA to USB converters can be used for installing Win2Go on a SATA SSD, and "some" other SATA to USB converters (like the StarTech cannot)

Internal as well as external BluRay drives never need to be 16X
You will save a lot of money going with 14X drives, and good quality BluRay disks top out at 6X speed up to 50GB, and 4X speeds at 100GB for recordable disks

If a 6X disk records at 3.4X speed, it will play pack at 3.4X speed (regardless of drive speed)

If a 6X disk records at 5.2X speed, it will play back at 5.2X speed

Playback speed is the same as record speed regardless of drive speed or the rated speed printed on the disk

If you fix a lot of computers, you may need to buy several brands of garbage just to find one solid "gem" that does what you need it to
That's just....wrong. Hilariously wrong. Anyone can put a DVD in a DVD drive, record data to it at the slowest speed, then pull the data back off and demonstrate that write speed does NOT limit read speed.

It's not like this is a new tech, rule of thumb has always been to use the slowest recording speed, and I think most of us would have caught on back in the CD days if our recorded CDs were limited to just 4x speed....
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 671   +535
That's just....wrong. Hilariously wrong. Anyone can put a DVD in a DVD drive, record data to it at the slowest speed, then pull the data back off and demonstrate that write speed does NOT limit read speed.

It's not like this is a new tech, rule of thumb has always been to use the slowest recording speed, and I think most of us would have caught on back in the CD days if our recorded CDs were limited to just 4x speed....

That's just.......wrong. Hilariously wrong.

I don't record at the slowest speed, I record at the fastest speed

If the disk is tested in the pre-burn stage and seen to be capable of 5X without errors, it will play back at 5X

If it burns at 5X, it will play at 5X because that is what the disk is capable of, even if it is labelled 6X

A pre-burn disk test will determine the best record/playback speed without errors (usually)

If a pre-burn test indicates your 6X disk can only reliably record and play at 4.7X, then it will play at 4.7X even if you record at 2X

DUH
 
Except for the USB floppy reader, I'm covered.

One of my PCs still has an internal DVD drive, and one of my old retired laptops also has an internal DVD drive (I recently used the laptop to burn a blank CD, and it's still working fine). For SATA HDDs and SSDs, I have a couple of external enclosures and a docking station. I'm also covered on card readers, one of my PCs (the same that has the DVD drive) has a multifunction media reader in one of the external drive bays with every card slot ever made by man, and I also own 2 USB card readers similar to the one in the picture.

I do own a PATA-to-USB adapter like the Vantec model shown in the last picture, but be forewarned: These aren't very reliable (it's not just my unit, I have used other similar units and none of them was reliable). The devices often disconnect from the USB bus at random, and sometimes there are read/write errors during file copy operations (on HDDs we're sure are perfectly fine). However for emergencies where you just want to recover a small amount of data from an old PATA HDD, they do work (mostly). Never tried PATA-to-PCI/PCIex adapters.

Another warning: some 10 years ago, at my job we purchased one of these USB floppy drives specifically for a client that wanted to recover data he had in a few floppies. After trying the drive on multiple different machines with different Windows versions and even a Linux box, the thing simply didn't work. On some PCs the device wouldn't be recognized, on others it would but couldn't read the floppies. We thought the unit was defective and took it back to the store, but it was the same thing with a different unit.

Gladly, later we found a very old retired PC lost deep in our storage that had an internal floppy drive. Then it was just a matter of connecting the PC to our LAN and copying the data from the floppies.

The issue with these external floppy drives is that literally none of them are compatible with newer Windows OS. They all claim to work with Windows 7, 8, and 10, but most won't work with anything newer than Vista. I only found this out after having gone through a few models, trying them all, and getting lucky by finding a couple old computers in storage, the newest of which was Vista. Some might work with Windows 7 or 8, but popular consensus on any reviews is that the floppy drives do not work on Windows 10. Hoping to spare someone else the pain of sorting through dozens of floppy readers like I had to.
 

Amir Shoam

Posts: 42   +6
Staff
The issue with these external floppy drives is that literally none of them are compatible with newer Windows OS. They all claim to work with Windows 7, 8, and 10, but most won't work with anything newer than Vista. I only found this out after having gone through a few models, trying them all, and getting lucky by finding a couple old computers in storage, the newest of which was Vista. Some might work with Windows 7 or 8, but popular consensus on any reviews is that the floppy drives do not work on Windows 10. Hoping to spare someone else the pain of sorting through dozens of floppy readers like I had to.
The issue with these external floppy drives is that literally none of them are compatible with newer Windows OS. They all claim to work with Windows 7, 8, and 10, but most won't work with anything newer than Vista. I only found this out after having gone through a few models, trying them all, and getting lucky by finding a couple old computers in storage, the newest of which was Vista. Some might work with Windows 7 or 8, but popular consensus on any reviews is that the floppy drives do not work on Windows 10. Hoping to spare someone else the pain of sorting through dozens of floppy readers like I had to.
I actually have the same "Raayoo" drive that I wrote about. It works perfectly with Windows 10.
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 671   +535
I actually have the same "Raayoo" drive that I wrote about. It works perfectly with Windows 10.

Likely a hardware issue, not a software (Windows Version) issue

Older hardware often allows you to do many things that newer hardware tries to prevent you from doing
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 977   +712
If you haven't transfer stuff from a floppy drive by now - you don't need it .
Nice to see the Pata to Sata - I still have to transfer some stuff - wife asks me about photos of her horse - not sure of drive - I do have an old pc I kept for this purpose - but with that attachment - you cut out an extra transfer - still old PC will allow me to see say 4 drives at once -
I actually wonder when you review your drives - how much you would really keep - CDs ripped in wma 64kbps ( as it's CD quality ) - or some bad old encoded mp3 at 128kbps ( it can sound good now ) - DVDs ripped in DIVx - only the best kept under 700mbs for some reason.
Free software for magazines , flash games .


So really just photos and videos , scanned documents etc - I do have some music ripped in high bitrate musepack - that would be CD quality - from library and magazines - some would be hard to find now
 

ypsylon

Posts: 490   +483
The absolute best thing you can do is dedicate a day or two to going through your old DVD’s and Hard Drives and flash drives and compact flash cards and uploading the collectibles to your HDD.

Then: I put them all on a 4TB SSD.

Most people would consider that a waste of an SSD, but:

#1 as technology improved, SSD got cheaper.

#2 the transfers are extremely fast, and easy to migrate to newer, better, higher capacity drives.

While I agree with holding everything on fastest medium possible because reading 100k files from SSD is infinitely more comfortable than HDD. But... NAND has one deficiency HDDs doesn't have (at least within lifespan of an user). You can lump any HDD in the closet and it will work in 20 years (even if Helium will evaporate from He-drives) if you need something. NAND has serious degradation problem over time. Same SSD left for 20 years will not work properly with very high degree of probability. NAND need minimal current + temperature to retain integrity and data consistency. The most important factor SLC has most superior data retention without power and obviously QLC and PLC have horrendous. I wouldn't use anything (for long term offline storage) below MLC which is tall order today.
 

nodfor

Posts: 202   +355
The prices of the enclosures, especially the 3.5" ones are too high
It makes more sense buying a brand new external ssd than these things
 

Mowserx

Posts: 18   +17
If you haven't transfer stuff from a floppy drive by now - you don't need it .
Nice to see the Pata to Sata - I still have to transfer some stuff - wife asks me about photos of her horse - not sure of drive - I do have an old pc I kept for this purpose - but with that attachment - you cut out an extra transfer - still old PC will allow me to see say 4 drives at once -
I actually wonder when you review your drives - how much you would really keep - CDs ripped in wma 64kbps ( as it's CD quality ) - or some bad old encoded mp3 at 128kbps ( it can sound good now ) - DVDs ripped in DIVx - only the best kept under 700mbs for some reason.
Free software for magazines , flash games .


So really just photos and videos , scanned documents etc - I do have some music ripped in high bitrate musepack - that would be CD quality - from library and magazines - some would be hard to find now
In my case there were some old school digital photos I lost years ago that I’m hoping might be on one of those disks. No, I don’t NEED it and I’ve certainly gotten by without them, but it would be nice to have them to round out our photo albums.
 

erickmendes

Posts: 653   +294
The absolute best thing you can do is dedicate a day or two to going through your old DVD’s and Hard Drives and flash drives and compact flash cards and uploading the collectibles to your HDD.

Then: I put them all on a 4TB SSD.

Most people would consider that a waste of an SSD, but:

#1 as technology improved, SSD got cheaper.

#2 the transfers are extremely fast, and easy to migrate to newer, better, higher capacity drives.

I agree... Still I just sent them all the trash bin way... I've being using cloud services for a very long time, after my ex-wife just trashed my PC two times and a Synology dual bay NAS.
 

hwertz

Posts: 125   +68
That's just.......wrong. Hilariously wrong.

I don't record at the slowest speed, I record at the fastest speed

If the disk is tested in the pre-burn stage and seen to be capable of 5X without errors, it will play back at 5X

If it burns at 5X, it will play at 5X because that is what the disk is capable of, even if it is labelled 6X

A pre-burn disk test will determine the best record/playback speed without errors (usually)

If a pre-burn test indicates your 6X disk can only reliably record and play at 4.7X, then it will play at 4.7X even if you record at 2X

DUH
That's not how that works at all. The burn speed is determined by what material the disk is made of (not the plastic, the material that the data is written to). The lower speed ones must have the write laser over each individual sport for a longer length of time to "burn" in the data (it actually has the spot change reflectivity and color.) For higher-speed disks, the material is different, it's either more sensitive (so you can run higher speed, less time over each spot, without turning up the laser power much if any), for others it's a matter of the material tolerating a more intense laser, speed goes up but so does laser power.

As for reading... the drive will read back as fast as it can while still getting a clean read. I have seen disks where the burn must not be particularly clear, the drive has to read it at low speed. But back when I burned CDs and DVDs, I had disks that would only read at low speeds, or not at all in some drives, etc., but it had nothing at all to do with the rated burn speeds; there was simply a surprising variability in the quality of the disks. I can assure you, I had some old 12x and 24X CD-Rs that'd gleefully play back at 52x, and 1X DVD-Rs that'd read back at 4x no problem.
 

hwertz

Posts: 125   +68
Maybe a Windows issue? I've used a Vantec adapter with SATA and IDE on it to read in both types of drives --
I do own a PATA-to-USB adapter like the Vantec model shown in the last picture, but be forewarned: These aren't very reliable (it's not just my unit, I have used other similar units and none of them was reliable). The devices often disconnect from the USB bus at random, and sometimes there are read/write errors during file copy operations (on HDDs we're sure are perfectly fine). However for emergencies where you just want to recover a small amount of data from an old PATA HDD, they do work (mostly). Never tried PATA-to-PCI/PCIex adapters.
Maybe a Windows issue? I used one with both PATA and SATA, used it mainly with SATA but did do a PATA drive or two.. just backing them up though. No problems at all in Ubuntu. To be fair, I didn't try any "random I/O" (copying stuff on and off, using it as a live filesystem, etc.), I was just reading the whole disk into a disk image for backup purposes, so I can't say it wouldn't get flakey under a different load. I did have one with bad sectors that got annoying, the delay on bad sectors was very high -- but that was the drive retrying excessively, not the adapter.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 977   +712
You could write a whole article on CD/DVD readers the associated media.
I remember when I was trying to rip scratched up CDS on the CD reader that came with my PC - taking a super long time to get a track , Cleaning CD with toothpaste blah blah,- editing out blips. Then I learnt that not all readers were created equal -I think some Plex drive was meant to be the best. Anyway new drive later - ripped them mostly with ease ( so much wasted time)
Then - the DVD writers - matching it with the right media - could vary success rate from near 0%-100% ( well it seemed that dramatic at the time ) .
All I learnt was I do not trust burnt media that much - storage/digital rot etc etc
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 671   +535
That's not how that works at all. The burn speed is determined by what material the disk is made of (not the plastic, the material that the data is written to).

But back when I burned CDs and DVDs, I had disks that would only read at low speeds, or not at all in some drives, etc., but it had nothing at all to do with the rated burn speeds; there was simply a surprising variability in the quality of the disks. I can assure you, I had some old 12x and 24X CD-Rs that'd gleefully play back at 52x, and 1X DVD-Rs that'd read back at 4x no problem.

Maybe you misread my explanation

I AGREE that the playback speed has nothing to do with the rated burn speed

But that's not how playback speed is determined on any of my computers

The pre-burn test determines the maximum burn and playback speed (without errors) of any recordable disk

If the test determines that your 16X disk can safely burn and read at 12.4X, then it burns and plays your 16X disk at 12.4X

If the pre-burn test determines that your 16X disk can safely burn and read at 9.2X, and yet you decide to burn it at 2X (to be safe), you have already seen that you can read it faster than 2X, and I have seen that it can never read as fast as 16X

Mark the actual safe burn speed that the recorder selects for 3 separate disks (with 3 different burn speeds), then record the playback speed of each
----------------------------------------------
Do not rely on the recording software to give you the actual speeds

Record a fixed amount of data in one big file
Try 100MB for CD, or 1GB for DVD

Record the burn rate (as it burns)
Record the actual playback rate by copying the test file on disk and pasting it on a hard drive or SSD using a stopwatch

Recording software often lies to you!
It will test the just burned disk and tell you it was recorded correctly, but when you copy it back to a hard drive, you can often get cyclic redundancy read errors

Always test the burn accuracy by copying the entire contents of the optical disk back to your internal drive to verify the write
Otherwise, you WILL lose data by blindly trusting the burning software to verify a write
 
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ZedRM

Posts: 926   +648
The absolute best thing you can do is dedicate a day or two to going through your old DVD’s and Hard Drives and flash drives and compact flash cards and uploading the collectibles to your HDD.

Then: I put them all on a 4TB SSD.

Most people would consider that a waste of an SSD, but:

#1 as technology improved, SSD got cheaper.

#2 the transfers are extremely fast, and easy to migrate to newer, better, higher capacity drives.
You assume that people don't store their data backups on optical media or other such options deliberately. How about we let people choose for themselves how they want to store their data.
 

Danny101

Posts: 2,026   +838
I actually have a 5.25 in" drive bay multi-reader set that has many of these built in. Perhaps one that's an USB external type would have been more prudent.