Safely Retiring (or Duplicating) IDE or SATA Hard Drives

As author of these blogs, I have never focused the subject on any specific Aleratec products.

Until now.

Aleratec-1-to-5-HDD-Copy-Cruiser-IDE-SATAAleratec has just announced a product that makes so much sense to me – and to organizations that have to manage used – and upgrade to new  – hard drives, that I want to focus this and the next blog on this particular product.  The product I’m so impressed with is the Aleratec 1:5 HDD Copy Cruiser IDE/SATA.

It’s a device that can duplicate hard drives, without requiring connection to a computer to do so.  With this product, you can make up to five copies of a single hard disk drive at a time.  The first thing I’m impressed with is support for both IDE and SATA.  One reason that this matters is that it enables you to copy an IDE drive – perhaps from an  old computer – onto a SATA drive.  With IDE drives becoming increasingly unavailable, it should be clear to most IT departments (and most people who use or upgrade computers), that it won’t be long before you can even buy an IDE drive.

It only makes sense to back up your data from IDE drives to SATA drives – if only to improve the likelihood that your data is still safe.  This ‘movement’ of your data could take a few forms:  it can be for backup from an aging drive to one that’s newer and will probably be readable for long after the IDE drive fails; or it can be actual copying onto a SATA drive, for use in the same or a different computer.  It also makes sense to move your data from IDE to SATA because IDE controllers probably won’t even be available on new computers much longer.  If your computer can’t talk to an IDE drive, your data may as well be lost.

I’m in the process of migrating the data from some of my IDE drives onto SATA drives, but don’t have the benefit of an Aleratec duplicator.  It would be much easier for me to be able to put an IDE source disk drive and a SATA target drive into the Aleratec 1:5 HDD Copy Cruiser IDE/SATA and, with a few button presses, start duplicating the drive.  This is much more convenient than other options – and, because I’m trying to do copies using USB, it’s also considerably faster than my current method.

Aleratec’s new duplicator comes with six IDE modules and six SATA modules.  The six drive bays are fully compatible with either type of module, enabling you to mix or match the type of source and target drives.  For an organization with IDE AND SATA drives, it makes sense to me that this standalone device would make disk duplication easy.

An optional 2.5” to 3.5” adapter even allows you to copy notebook IDE drives onto notebook IDE drives or notebook or desktop SATA drives.  This is especially useful if you want to upgrade a notebook computer that uses an IDE drive to one with a larger IDE drive.

It’s also useful for backup – an exact copy of files from an old notebook drive can be duplicated onto a newer SATA 2.5” or 3.5” drive.  One possible scenario – upgrading from an older notebook computer to a new one while preserving the data.   To do this, you may want to duplicate the old 2.5” IDE drive, with a notebook SATA (to be used in a newer notebook computer with a SATA interface) as the target.  Although your ‘old’ operating system may require driver updates to work in a new computer, your data and operating system should work just fine.  An organization updating its notebook users to new notebooks would be able to set up a new notebook computer with the operating system, applications and data from an older computer, by copying the disk and making some OS and other modifications.

Mark Brownstein is a technology journalist and technology consultant who specializes in explaining and interpreting new technologies, and clarifying how to integrate these new products into current systems. He has been Editor-In-Chief at computer technology and networking publications, has held significant editorial positions at major technology magazines, and is a frequent contributor to various technology magazines. He has written seven books. He is Microsoft Certified, and spends much of his time testing hardware and software products, running his own networks, and learning the best ways to get computer systems running and to keep them running.

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