Why Use A Hard Drive Caddy

Hard Drive Caddy’s (sometimes also referred to as HDD cases or enclosures) are growing in popularity all the time. Not surprising really given how easy they are to use and the relatively low cost of the caddies.

Hard drive enclosures tend to be used in two different situations:

  1. To recover data from a salvaged hard drive and then to reuse the hard drive in the caddy to create a back up solution.
  2. Used in conjunction with a new hard disk drive you can create your own back up solution cheaper than you would by buying a “packaged” solution from some of the leading brands.

If you’ve bought a new PC then you must either ensure the hard disk drive in your old PC is removed and destroyed before you take it to a re-cycling centre or alternatively take it out, pop it into a caddy, format the disk and create yourself a handy and inexpensive back up solution. Whilst the hard disk you’ve salvaged might only be small in comparison to your new PC a salvaged 120GB hard disk drive will hold up to 30,000 songs, 150 hours of video, or 25,000 photos. Given you’ve got to remove the hard drive anyway it seems a real shame not to make use of it!

If you do use an enclosure with a new hard disk then you could install say a 1.5TB hard disk into the caddy thus making yourself an inexpensive back up monster.

For many the true benefit of a HDD caddy is that it enables you recover data from a hard disk taken out of an old PC. When you are using a salvaged Hard Disk Drive then if you are using an IDE, ATA or PATA Hard Disk Drives then you need to make sure that the jumper settings on the hard disk drive are set to “master” and not “cable select” or “slave”. If you don’t get the jumper settings correct then the caddy won’t be recognised when connected to the PC.

Whilst you might expect the hard disk drives to be set to “master” as by default its not always the case so its definitely worth checking the disk before you use a caddy. If you need to change the jumper settings it’s easy to do and only takes a few seconds. Most Hard Disk Drive manufactures will have put a self explanatory label on top of the hard drive showing how the jumper needs to be set up to create the “master” “slave” and “cable select” options.

Jumpers are just metal pins that have small black plastic sleeves that slot on them.

Hard disk drive caddy’s usually connect to your PC via a USB cable but there are options available that also support Firewire and e-SATA. For most USB 2.0 is all that’s needed not least because you’ll pay a premium for a caddy with a range of connection options.

When the caddy is connected to your PC via a USB cable it works in pretty much the same way that a USB flash drive works – a new drive letter is dynamically created and you can then copy, save, drag and drop data to the hard disk drive.

Note that the newer standards of SATA hard disk drives have no jumper setting to worry about

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