Upgrade your External Hard Drive to USB 3.0

Upgrade your External Hard Drive to USB 3.0

Learn how to quickly and easily turn your old external hard drive into a new and improved one with USB 3.0, taking advantage of its super fast data transfer speeds. It will only take about 5 minutes and $14.

Although developed in 2008, USB 3.0 didn’t see any real progress in the usb device market until mid 2012. Nowadays more and more devices and hosts are taking advantage of the newer specification, and even making it standard among some of the newer product lines. You can still plug in your older USB 2.0 devices into a USB 3.0 port, or vice versa, but you won’t take advantage of the faster transfer speeds and load times specific to the newer USB technology.

The good news is that you don’t need to buy a new external hard drive to get the faster transfer rates. New USB 3.0 external hard drives can run anywhere from$150 and up, so using a new drive enclosure would definitely do the trick a whole lot more affordably.

You can purchase a brand new enclosure online or at TigerDirect/Best Buy retailers for just around $14. Before your purchase your enclosure however, there are a few important things you should add to your check list. For starters, you have to make sure that the enclosure you select matches the physical size of your current external hard drive. It sounds a lot like common sense, but in reality there are some models of external hard drives that come in a “slim version” or are expanded to accommodate additional features and physical components.

This is applies especially if you’re dealing with an external hard drive that’s three years or older, which in this case you should check to make sure it has a SATA interface, otherwise you might have trouble finding a USB 3.0 enclosure.

Or you could have a 2.5-inch drive. If so, double-check the height: most are 9.5mm, but there are 7mm and 12.5mm drives out there as well. Be sure to choose an enclosure that can accommodate your size.

Second, decide if a plastic enclosure will do the job or if you should spend a few extra dollars for an aluminum one. If you travel a lot and need a drive that can take a pounding, aluminum might be the better bet.

Newegg is one vendor that offers a wide selection of external drive enclosures. Using the column on the left, you can narrow down the options based on size and other features. This is a surprisingly easy and effective upgrade that not many people think to try. If you have a USB 2.0 drive and a USB 3.0 port, its well worth the time and expense.

From there, it’s a pretty easy set up to transfer your old external hard drive to the new. Grab a utility screwdriver and unscrew your old enclosure, and then remove whatever other screws are holding the actual SSD hard drive in place and then remove it from the enclosure.

Now all you have to do is install it using the instructions provided along with your enclosure. Basically, it should be the same as your old enclosure, but it could differ slightly (but that’s highly unlikely). Still, give the instructions a brief read through to see if you can catch any additional steps you might have missed.

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Vincent Clarke

Vincent Clarke is the Universal Serial Bus (USB) Guru for USBtips.com. When he's not writing tutorials and catching up on the latest USB news, Vincent is busy preparing his next blog post and answering USB questions from his readers and subscribers.

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