As we replace and/or upgrade older computers, many of us tend to save the hard drives. I don’t want to throw the hard drives away or sell them—why waste good hard drive space? But I don’t want to install them internally into today’s computers because they’re slower than current technology.
What do you do with those used but still useable hard drives? You can get a drive dock. Drive docks are like carports for a hard drive. They offer a no-fuss, no-muss, screwdriver-free solution to adding storage to your desktop or laptop computer. To install a drive in a dock, you just drop it in. That’s it. And if you want to change drives, you just eject the current drive and pop in the new one.
What follows are 11 drive docks for your consideration. While they vary in terms of cost, capacity (one of them will hold as many as four drives) and form factor, they do have a lot in common. For example, they all handle either 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drives. They all require AC power connections if you’re going to use them with 3.5-inch drives. They all come with USB cables, and they’re all covered by one-year warranties.
All of these docks support USB 3.0, but Macs come equipped with USB 2.0 ports. You can still use these docks on a USB 2.0 port, but you won’t get the speed benefits of USB 3.0.
Whether you purchase a unit that accommodates one, two, or more drives depends on your needs. If you only want to be able to read a single drive at a time, or copy it to your computer’s drive, a single-bay dock will be enough. However, a two-bay (or four-bay) dock gives you the ability to copy data from one drive to another, something that a single-bay dock does not.
[Bill O’Brien has written a half-dozen books on computers and technology. He has also written articles on topics ranging from Apple computers, PCs, and Linux and has authored commentary on subjects such as IT hardware decisions. Macworld Senior Editor Roman Loyola contributed to this article.]