My PC laptops screen is beyond repair, and I can't even see anything on it when starting it up. I need to make the hard drive an external one so I can access my files on my Mac Pro. After removing the hard drive from the PC laptop what are the best solutions for turning it into an external drive that I can access from my Mac Pro desktop? And will I be able to transfer those files to my Mac Pro even though they were from a PC hard drive?
You will be able to transfer the files although a lot of the programs won't work while they are still on a Mac Os computer.
My house mate managed to pull out his internal hard drive on a laptop and slot it into an external hard drive he had lying around. You can probably get an adapter very easily that turns it into an external hard drive.
You should be able to just plug the drive into a spare SATA port in the Mac Pro. Newer versions of OS X can read NTFS, they just can't write to it. So data retrieval shouldn't be a problem. 2.5" and 3.5" drives use the same SATA connector.
Afterwards, you can just leave the drive in the Mac Pro. Format it using the Mac disk utility. That'll convert it to Mac format (HFS+) and you can treat it like any other Mac disk. Buy a 3.5" to 2.5" mounting bracket for $5-$10 if you're not comfortable with the drive flopping around inside.
If you really want to make it an external drive, you need to get an enclosure. I'd recommend USB 3.0 for both price and compatibility. Those will cost you about $20-$30. If you format the drive as exFAT, both OS X and Windows can read/write to it. I hear it's better to do the initial exFAT format under Windows. If you format it as NTFS, Windows can read/write to it, but the Mac will only be able to read it. It won't be able to write to it unless you buy special software. If you format it as HFS+, the Mac will be able to read/write it, but Windows will not be read/write to it unless you buy special software. Save your money, format it as exFAT.
If you're made of money, you could get a $150 thunderbolt enclosure. But since this is a HDD which won't come near the ~300 MB/s transfer limit of USB 3.0, there's really no point.
Edit: If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you could convert the HDD to a vritual machine before reformatting it. Parallels can convert VMWare virtual machine files (.vmx). You'll need to find another PC for the transfer. Install VMWare Converter on the PC. Plug the laptop HDD into it, Run Converter to create a virtual machine image of the HDD.
Transfer that file to the Mac, have Parallels convert it. Then you can "boot" your old laptop inside a window on your Mac if there are any programs or files you needed to access. I actually do this on all the computers I help people upgrade now. Saves me from a frantic call 2 weeks later where they tell me they absolutely need a program that used to be on the old computer's drive which we formatted. (Bookmarks are the most common thing I find people forget to copy.)
Thanks for all the info, its a great help. I have the latest Mac Pro so I just want to have this pc laptops hard rive external. The main reason is just to get the data off the hard drive, I'm an artist and it has all my artwork on it. Do I have to make sure that the USB 3.0 external case is compatible with the laptop hard drive?
here are the specs of the drive
ST1000LM024 Seagate Model
Do I have to make sure that the USB 3.0 external case is compatible with the laptop hard drive?
No. Any enclosure that's USB 3.0 will be SATA and will work with your laptop drive (unless your laptop was like 12+ years old).
The only thing you may have to watch out for is that some USB 3.0 enclosures are more finicky with Macs than with PCs. I dunno why since Mac hardware is fixed while PC hardware is more variable. But I always seem to see reviews which say "didn't work with my Mac" while there are no such reviews from PC users.
There's considerable debate about the longevity of the micro-USB 3.0 port used in many of these enclosures. I've personally never had one fail, but I've seen lots of complaints about it failing (it's a skinny thing, like a long version of the micro-USB charger for phones). So you may want to get one which uses a full-size USB port. Lemme look up the last batch I ordered...
So I'm trying an experiment. I have a PC I built that needed a hard drive, so I took out the laptop one and plunged it in. I have the BIOS set to make it the top priority on start up but I am getting a blank black screen with an underscore blinking in the top left corner. How do I get it to start like it did on my laptop? here are some pics https/www.dropbox.com/s/aorc97v4wwiv8cc/IMG_9117.JPG?dl=0