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Neeva asked: “I have 3 towers and a laptop. Can I take the hard drives out of them and combine them into one, or do I need to copy them to an external drive and do it that way. They are just taking up space and I want to get rid of them and combine everything into one.”
Neeva, if what you mean is that you want to put all your drives in a single computer, you will most likely be able to put at least a few of the drives you have in a single tower, if not all of them. Desktop computers usually have a few open ports for extra hard drives.
If you’re talking about combining the data in a single drive, you can do that too, as long as that drive is large enough. You may even be able to do that without removing them.
You can copy the data over a network, or an external drive like you mentioned. Copying between drives installed in the same computer will probably be quicker, but you don’t have to do it that way if you don’t want to take them apart.
If the computers are old, there’s a good chance that you can buy a single hard drive large enough to store all the information without spending a lot of money.
If you want to move the data to the laptop, you can make this as easy on yourself as possible and move all of the data that you wish to keep that’s in each of your “towers” to a cloud service like OneDrive or Google Drive. Then, download what you need onto your laptop. If you stick with OneDrive, you won’t even have to download all of your old files — it has a feature called “Files on Demand” that will download files from the internet only when you need them. This solution is free. There’s nothing wrong with using an external drive, if you want to spend the money. We don’t suggest you take the drives out of the towers. They are likely 3.5” SATA drives that require additional power to run when connected to USB via an interface cable.