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9 Cool Things To Do With Old Hard Drives (Quick Answers!)

Antonio Forde
Updated: July 7, 2022
6 min read

If you have internal or external HHDs cluttering your desk, there are ways to repurpose them into something useful.

Here are some cool DIY project ideas for your old hard drives.

Things to Do With Your Old Hard Drive if It Still Works:

If your drive is still working, you should not waste all that space. It can still be functional storage for data.

Use to Create a NAS or Network Attached Storage 

Working old hard drives can be utilized to generate network-attached storage (NAS). 

A NAS works pretty much like a personal cloud in a way that contents can be accessed via Wi-Fi. This is a stand-alone storage unit that can offer you additional space, more than an individual hard drive.

NAS offers accessibility to team members in a workspace since they can easily retrieve the files needed, as long as they belong to the same network.

You can safeguard your data on NAS by applying a proper redundant array independent disk (RAID). This way, even if one of the drives in the NAS crashes, you will not lose all your data.

A NAS box can be expensive, but you stand to gain much from it if you do not mind spending some money. 

Utilize as Media Library

You can use your old hard drive as a media library for your music, videos, and images. You only need to pop it into an enclosure, and you have a handy external hard drive for your files.

Hard drive enclosures allow you to use your hard drive externally to save and back up data for whatever purpose. They also play as a protector or holder for your internal HDD.

If you use the old hard drive for your desktop, you will likely need a power adapter. For laptops, there is no need for one.

If your computer has a motherboard with excess SATA ports, you can link your old hard drive so it can act as an archive drive.

This way, you can keep all the installed apps and software you frequently use.

There is no need to spend money on a high-capacity solid-state drive to manage all your media files with an alternate storage drive. 

Set Up on PlayStation for Extra Storage

You can install your old hard drive on your PlayStation for extra storage.

One of the wonderful things about the PlayStation is that it is easy to add an external hard drive. You definitely need the expanded storage space for your available games and apps on the system.

You could only boost your console’s system storage by replacing the internal hard drive in the past. With various upgrades, it is now possible to connect an external hard drive to one of the USB ports.

If your old hard drive is still working, you can fully utilize this as an external hard drive for your PSP. You can reformat it, then prepare a hard drive enclosure.

Reformatting your old hard drive is important to make it compatible with your PSP storage. To do this, you should plug your HDD and then navigate to Settings. 

When you locate it under the USB Storage Devices, select the “Format as Extended Storage” option. After that, you only need to follow the onscreen prompts to prepare it for use.

Once your old HDD has been formatted, it will become the default install location for your future downloads. This includes any games you will be installing from the disc.

You should note that your saved data and captures will remain on your PSP’s system storage. Only your games and apps will be stored on the external drive.

Install a Different Operating System

There is no need to waste a functioning hard drive. You can install a different operating system (OS) and run it side by side with your existing OS.

The process of formatting and partitioning your old hard drive is straightforward. This mostly depends on which OS you are going to install.

To commence installation on old hard drives, you should select the advanced setup on your computer and highlight the partitions to delete them. 

Installing a new OS means all your saved data will be erased. If you want to keep your files, use an external HDD to save them before beginning the process.

Things to Do With Your Old Hard Drive if It Doesn’t Work Anymore:

Data storage is definitely out if your old hard drive is not working anymore. No matter, the drive’s physical parts can still be valuable. Stripping them is an easy process for the following DIY ideas.

Turn Into a Money Safe

You can remove all the parts inside your old hard drive case and transform it into secure storage for your cash. 

Construction is relatively simple. Once you have taken out all the components, you need to insert a screw in one of the corners of the hard drive case.

This will turn the front portion into a swivel door that you can open and close. Now, you have a lowkey safe for your money.

If the computer from which the drive came from is still intact, you can put the drive back into it for even better security.

Convert Into a Mirror

You can turn your old hard drive platter into mirrors. When dismantling them, just be gentle to avoid chips or scratches.

Once you can get the platter out whole, it can be the perfect rearview mirror in your cubicle. Mount it using a thumbtack, and you have a DIY detector for anyone trying to sneak up on you from behind.

You can also convert the platter into a pocket mirror. It will be a great arts and crafts project to do in your free time.

Hard drive platters also make excellent signal mirrors. You can use one as a safety tool if you enjoy biking since it reflects sunlight well.

Repurpose as Grinder or Sander

The spinning disks in older hard drives can also be turned into an impromptu micro sander or grinder. While they will not rotate fast enough to cause damage, the torque will be enough to sharpen tools. 

To assemble your device, you will only need to add extra components, like an electronic speed controller, a servo motor, sandpaper, and banana terminals.

However, if the spinning disk in your old hard drive is made of glass, this project will not work. It should be an aluminum platter.

Develop Into a Microphone Stand

If you like creating audio tracks or recording videos, a hard drive will make a decent microphone stand for you. 

You will need to take out the internal parts of the drive and solder the mic wires onto the switch and output jack so you can connect it to any recording device.

The microphone will be held by a clamping pipe hanger secured to the hard drive. You will need a 1.5-volt battery that will last quite a while.

If you already have the mic and recording equipment, this project will likely cost you around $10.

Transform Into a Desk Clock

Your old hard drive parts can be used to build a brand new clock. With the addition of LEDs and clock hands, you can create a sleek-looking design for your desk.

Hard drives are perfect for this DIY project because of their general shape and layout.

This only involves a few modifications. You need to install a clock mechanism, usually with a ¾-inch long shaft that you can purchase from any hardware store.

You can try making a vertical HDD clock that utilizes computer keys to display the time if you feel adventurous.

Sources:

Games Radar
How-To Geek

Written by
Antonio Forde
I'm the head-writer @ Ask The Home Geek (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing & editing the majority of the content here). Current learning project: Korean.
Have any questions? Write us a message.
Antonio Forde
I'm the head-writer @ Ask The Home Geek (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing & editing the majority of the content here). Current learning project: Korean.