Identifying SATA and IDE Hard Drives – Gearlog

The following is just for geeks. Most of us, me included, should never open the case of our computer. None the less I am always doing it to the everlasting chagrin of my local IT support guy.

My old (circa 1999) Dell laptop finally died. I have pulled out the hard drive and would like to get the files off it. I know there are many different connectors that can help me do this, but I don’t know which I need to purchase. How do I figure out what type of hard drive this is–SATA, IDE, something else?

Loyd’s reply:
Actually, there are only two types of connectors prevalent in laptop hard drives: the older parallel ATA (PATA) and the more recent serial ATA (SATA). Your old Dell almost certainly uses a PATA connection, which is also commonly referred to as IDE However, the laptop’s connectors are more compact than those used in PATA desktop drives.
Regardless of your drive type, the easiest way to get the data from the drive is with an IDE/SATA-to-USB adapter, which allows you to attach any type of drive–desktop IDE, mobile IDE or SATA–to a USB port. All you need do is connect the drive to your new PC’s USB port and copy the data.

Identifying SATA and IDE Hard Drives – Gearlog.