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Currently, I'm typing this up on my Dell laptop. My old CompUSA purchased PC decided to hate me about half a year ago and one of the system files was corrupted (right now, I don't know exactly which one, but hear me out!). I looked it up, and studied what to do about this issue and determined that I needed to use a system start-up disk to get things back in order. Fine and dandy, except that I don't have one. I don't think one was ever sent with any of my family's computers, and certainly not my PC. In fact, the version of XP I'm running on that computer was loaded by some tech guys who came over once to fix my dad's computer a long time ago.

So I know what to do with that, as long as I can get my hands on one of those CDs (Unless my other fear, that the CD drive is busted - a good possibility as it has given me trouble in the past). Now, onto the good part. My fancy-schmancy Dell laptop is filling up, and is actually slowing down due to the amount of stuff I have on here. I can't see myself being able to delete enough to free up enough space for it to run properly, so I got into my head that I could not only get an external hard drive, but build one myself out of that old busted PC. It doesn't look too hard. But I have concerns, hence this thread.

My question is: Will a corrupted Windows XP system file affect the hard drive if I convert it into an external drive for my laptop? I would want to retrieve some of the documents and pictures off of the hard drive before completely formatting it for storage space, so would that corrupted file prevent me from doing that? And would it prevent me from wiping the drive later?
 

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Hi thejlar and welcome to TSF ! :wave:

No problem using that old drive in an external enclosure provided the drive itself is not physically damaged.

First thing is to run the manufacturer's diagnostic utility on that drive. You'll find the make and model on the sticker that's on the drive itself if you don't know. Create the boot CD or floppy and boot the computer with it. You'll have to enter the BIOS to set the boot device priority to CD-rom first. Try to press the del key during startup to enter the BIOS, if that doesn't work then check this site. Run the long/extended test and report here if you get any error message or bad clusters on the drive.

If you get no errors then you can put the drive in an external USB enclosure (note that these ones are for 3.5'' IDE drives, make sure the enclosure will work with your drive before you buy it) and hook it to your laptop to retrieve your old documents.
 
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