How to Convert an IDE Drive in a Laptop to a SATA Drive

Written by ruri ranbe
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SATA was developed in 2003 and has since replaced IDE as the hard drive standard. SATA drives are much more efficient, and able to process data more quickly than IDE drives.

Unlike desktop motherboards, which may contain both two or more IDE and SATA slots, the majority of laptop motherboards--in order to conserve space--come only with one hard drive connection. If your laptop uses IDE, the only way to install a SATA drive to the motherboard is to use an IDE to SATA pin converter.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • IDE to SATA pin converter
  • SATA drive

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  1. 1

    Power off your laptop. Remove the AC adaptor and any other peripheral devices.

  2. 2

    Touch an unpainted metal surface or wear an anti-static wrist strap to prevent potential electrostatic damage to the interior of the computer. Flip your laptop over so that the bottom is facing upright.

  3. 3

    Release the lock holding your battery in place, then slide over the accompanying tab to partially eject the battery from its bay. Gently pull back the battery with your hands and remove it from the laptop.

  4. 4

    Unscrew and remove the hard drive cover. If you are not sure which is the hard drive cover, look for a rectangular cutout on the bottom of your laptop that is approximately the same size as your new SATA drive.

  5. 5

    Unscrew the hard drive's cage from the laptop and carefully pull it out. Gently remove any existing cables from the IDE drive.

  6. 6

    Unscrew the IDE drive from its cage. Usually, there are 4 screws, one on each side, holding the cage in place. Set the IDE drive aside.

  7. 7

    Remove your SATA drive and the SATA to IDE pin adaptor from their protective packaging, respectively. Do not touch the surface of the adaptor, and absolutely do not touch the gold prongs. Instead, hold the adaptor by its edges or by the black attachment.

  8. 8

    Line up the adaptor to the slots on your SATA drive and push the adaptor onto the slots.

  9. 9

    Attach the hard drive cage to your SATA drive and screw it into place. Attach the motherboard cable to the drive, then gently replace the drive into the drive bay.

  10. 10

    Screw the cage back into place. Replace hard drive cover and place the battery back into its appropriate bay. Secure the battery lock.

  11. 11

    Plug in the AC adaptor and power on the laptop. Follow the instructions in the SATA drive's manual to begin configuring the drive.

Tips and warnings

  • Set aside all the screws you remove in a safe place, since you will need them to install your SATA drive into your laptop.
  • Make sure your SATA drive, as well as your IDE to SATA pin adaptor, are the appropriate size for your laptop. Laptop drives are either 2.5 inches or 1.8 inches. Check with your motherboard's manufacturer if you are not sure what size IDE drive you have.
  • Laptop components are extremely delicate--use extra care when handling your drive.

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