How to Convert an Internal DVD Drive to an External IDE With a USB Cable

Written by larry simmons
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How to Convert an Internal DVD Drive to an External IDE With a USB Cable
Using a kit, you can convert older IDE DVD drives for use with a USB connection. (external dvd/cd burner image by patrimonio designs from

Converting an internal DVD drive for external use is a matter of mounting it into a compatible external shell. The process is much the same as mounting a drive internally, only the electronics for connecting and accessing the drive are located within the external drive shell. Once you are finished, just plug the now external drive into a power outlet, connect it to a PC or laptop via a USB port and you can access any media that the installed DVD drive can read.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Internal 5.25 inch IDE DVD drive
  • External IDE compatible 5.25 inch drive shell
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Standard USB cable

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  1. 1

    Remove the screws securing the cover of the external drive shell. Slide the shell cover open to access the 5.25 inch drive mounting bracket inside. The mounting bracket consists of a ledge with side rails large enough to hold the drive, with the electric components that connect to the drive to the rear.

  2. 2

    Place the 5.25 inch IDE DVD drive between the mounting rails and then slide the drive towards the rear of the mounting bracket until you can reach it with the power and data cords connected to the rear of the drive mount.

  3. 3

    Attach the IDE data cable to the drive, aligning the notch in the controller from the external case mount with the slot in the IDE connector on the DVD drive. The cable should slide right in with little force applied. Connect the 4-pin power cable between the mount and the drive as well.

  4. 4

    Continue to slide the drive into the mounting bracket until it is firmly seated to the rear of the bracket, with the four mounting holes in the side of the drive aligned with the four holes in the rail of the mount.

  5. 5

    Secure the DVD drive to the mount by screwing it into place through the four mounting holes located at the sides of the bracket, two per side.

  6. 6

    Replace the cover onto the shell, sliding it into place over the mounted drive. Secure the cover using the screws removed from the shell when opening.

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