How to Connect a SATA Cable

Updated February 21, 2017

SATA is an acronym for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, a type of computer bus interface for connecting host bus adaptors to mass storage devices like the hard drive on your computer, or a CD/DVD drive. It was developed to replace an older technology known as ATA, or AT Attachment. Currently in 2010, SATA technology is used in nearly all computers being manufactured. All of the technical jargon associated with SATA may sound intimidating, but when it comes to physically connecting the cables, anyone can do it.

Power off your computer and disconnect its power cord from the power source. Put on an antistatic wrist strap to provide additional protection from shock.

Locate the SATA connectors on your computer motherboard. They will be marked with a label such as "SATA1."

Look at the connector on the end of the SATA cable. It will be L-shaped, and it should match the L-shaped connector on the motherboard. Insert the SATA cable connector into the connector on the motherboard.

Locate the SATA connector on the hard drive or optical drive to which you will connect the cable. It will have a connector that looks similar to the one you identified on the motherboard in Step 2. Plug the one free end of the SATA cable into this connector in the same way you did in Step 3.

Test the IDE connections. Connect the power cord to the power supply and turn on the PC. If you hear the hard drive spin and see that the CD or DVD optical drive powers up, you know everything is working properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Antistatic wrist strap (available at electronics parts stores)
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About the Author

Anthony Smith began writing for Demand Studios in May of 2009 and has since written over 1400 articles for them. He also writes for "The College Baseball Newsletter." He attended the University of New Mexico, and has more than 25 years of experience in the business world.