Beer Moon wrote:You'd need a hard drive enclosure - usually about $30 - that would both power the hard drive with a power cord and also turn the IDE or SATA connector into USB 2.0. Again - this is a drag and drop transfer.
Why do I need all that crap? Why can't I just bring the laptop over to the desktop?
Is this merely a suggestion - not a necessity?
If by "all that crap" you mean the one piece of hardware I suggested, then yes you need "all that crap".
Hard drives connect using IDE or SATA cables. These are connections provided internally off of the motherboard of your computer. Laptops tend to have a very compact motherboard in the interest of saving space. They aren't going to provide another connection for a hard drive because there is nowhere to put another hard drive inside the machine. It would be a waste of engineering space for the motherboard which is designed specifically for the case it comes in.
Conversely, desktop motherboards are designed for any case - using a generic standard. They have plenty of room, and additional options often sell the device - so manufacturers often cram as many connections for hard drives as they can allow - often going so far as to offer RAID right on the board - which can make adding extra storage for data backups convenient and effective (if not always great for performance or easy to set up).
Desktop to desktop - you could just plug in your old drive to the new computer and transfer the files by dragging them from one drive to another. Because you purchased a laptop, that is not possible - so your only choice is an external connection. Your laptop may have firewire - and in that case you could buy a firewire-enabled enclosure. USB 2.0 is a no-brainer; even the most crap laptops have them - and that connection is available on even the cheapest external enclosures.
I linked a $15 hard drive enclosure, and pointed out that you can leave your original hard drive in there for expanded storage - that seems like a pretty damn good deal to me.
Another option suggested requires you to do some configuration on your network to transfer the files that way. You can go ahead and do that if you want. It will be easier with the enclosure - and I only suggested it because you balked at the suggestion that you do it over the network. You WILL need to share out your drive and putz with some settings to get that to work. It isn't complicated - but it's more complicated than using an enclosure.