By Dervish / Last Updated September 27, 2022

Need to get data off an old hard drive?

When you have a new computer or laptop, or replace the internal hard drive, you would have an old hard drive here. And you can't put it inside of the PC because lots of computers can't insert with 2 hard drive at same times. So if you don't want to lose any data, you need to get data off the old hard drive.

Another situation where there are physical bad sectors on an old drive needs you to retrieve data from the old hard drive. You can copy the old drive to another disk to protect the data on the old hard drive.

Next, you can refer to this article that will demonstrate you how to get data and files off an old hard drive in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7.

How to get data off an old hard drive in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7

Step 1. Employ adapter or disk enclosure.

If you have a computer that can normally boot up, the best way to read an old hard drive is to connect it with the computer via adapter or an external disk enclosure.

Sata To Usb

Step 2. Clone data from the old hard drive

Now, you the data on the old hard drive is retrieved by your computer, and you can move some files, and data you need to your PC. But if you want to move all data to the hard drive or one partition of it, it is wiser to employ a cloning tool to do so because copy-and-paste operation can't move the whole data, like hidden files, personal configuration, etc.

For Windows users, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard can be the best cloning software. It is able to copy all data and operating system, hidden files, personal settings, applications, from your old hard drive to your computer in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, XP. And it support cloning larger disk to a smaller one, which is one of the benefits of this tool.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

✍ Note: If you need to clone the system disk from MBR to MBR, GPT to MBR, MBR to GPT, GPT to GPT, you can upgrade to Professional edition.

Step 1. Open AOMEI Partition Assistant, click “All Tools” on the main interface, and choose “Disk Clone Wizard”.

Disk Copy Wizard

Step 2. Select a method to clone from “Clone Disk Quickly” that only clone used space and “Sector-by-Sector clone” that copy all sectors to your new computer.

Copy Disk Quickly

Step 3. Choose the old hard drive as the source disk.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. And choose a destination disk on your PC. If it is an SSD, please tick “Optimize the performance of SSD”. And click “Next”.

Select Destination Disk

Step 5. Here you can edit partitions on the destination disk. Just drag the border to change its size.

Edit Disk

Step 6. At last, click “Apply” and Proceed” to start the operation.


Addition: get data off an old hard drive that won’t boot

Somtimes, your hard drive is just old, and can't boot up your computer. How can we get data off an old hard drive that won’t boot?

Don’t worry, AOMEI Partition Assistant can help you to create a bootable media with a USB drive. You can use it to boot up your PC, and move the data to another drive.

And the steps are simple, just follow the steps below:

Step 1. Connect a blank USB drive to another working computer, and install AOMEI Partition Assistant on it.

Step 2. Open AOMEI Partition Assistant, and click “Make Bootable Media” to start it.

Make Bootable Media

Step 2. And choose “USB boot Device” then select the inserted USB, and click “Proceed”.

Choose Usb Drive

Step 3. And it will warn you that the USB will be formatted, click “Yes” to continue.

Formatting Warning

After this operation, you can insert the USB flash drive and another storage device to your PC. Firstly, you will need to enter BIOS to set the bootable media as the boot drive.

1. Connect the created media to the old PC, and press the BIOS key (F2, F4, F8, Delete, it decided by the manufacturer) as soon as the logo appears on the screen.

2. When you enter BIOS setup, choose “Boot” tab, and choose “Change boot order”

3. Move the bootable USB to the first option of listed drives.

And you will see AOMEI Partition Assistant interface, and copy the old hard drive.


Follow this tutorial, you can easily get data off an old hard drive. And if the data you need is all in one partition, you can also clone the partition to get files from it.

After cloning the data on the old hard drive, you might want to abandon or sell it . Out of concern for data safety, you can wipe the disk before selling it or giving it away.