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Question: I want to get a exturnal hdd to work

I got a 20gb laptop hdd with a IDE-USB connecter that worked. but the 20GB is not only to small but had bad sectors so it only wokred for a little bit. So i found a 60GB laptop hdd did the same thing and it wont power the drive to boot... i know it needs FAT32 Format not NTFS. any suggestions? I dont want to go buy a big hdd if it's not going to work..