How Do I Convert an IDE DVD Burner to a SATA DVD Burner?

Written by michael j. scott
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How Do I Convert an IDE DVD Burner to a SATA DVD Burner?
An IDE-to-SATA adaptor allows you to use your old DVD burner in a new computer. (external dvd/cd burner image by patrimonio designs from

If you purchased a new computer sometime after 2005, it's likely it uses Serial-ATA (SATA) connections for all of its internal drives, including hard drives and optical drives like DVD burners. While SATA connections are faster, this doesn't help much if you have an older IDE DVD burner you would like to use. With the help of a simple adaptor, you can install your IDE DVD burner in your SATA computer will minimal fuss. Keep in mind that all desktop computers are different, so refer to your owner's manual for specific instructions on opening your computer.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Electrostatic wrist band
  • IDE-to-SATA optical drive adaptor
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Power cable adaptor (typically included with your adaptor)
  • SATA cable (typically included with your adaptor)

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  1. 1

    Purchase an IDE-to-SATA optical drive adaptor. Several online retailers sell these adaptors for between £6 and £13 (see Resources).

  2. 2

    Power down your desktop and disconnect any peripherals. Remove the power cord from the desktop. Set your tower on a large table or desk.

  3. 3

    Remove the side panel on your tower. Typically there will be a couple of screws along the back panel that need to be loosened. You can then slide the side panel toward the back of the computer and remove it. Remove the front panel of your tower as well. Refer to your owner's manual for specific directions.

  4. 4

    Attach an electrostatic wrist band to your wrist. Connect the other end to the metal frame of your tower. This will keep you grounded and prevent any static electricity from damaging your computer.

  5. 5

    Plug the IDE-to-SATA adaptor into the back of your DVD burner. If you are unsure of which side should be connected to the drive, the IDE interface has 40 distinct pins. Make sure both the IDE and power supply interfaces are securely connected.

  6. 6

    Slide your DVD burner into an open optical drive port in your tower. Optical drive ports are 5.25 inches across, so look for the biggest ports. They will usually be in the front of your tower, toward the top. Depending on your computer, you may have to screw the drive in place. Use a Phillips screwdriver and the screws included with your burner to lock it in place. Newer computers typically use a screwless locking mechanism. Just slide the burner toward the front of the computer until the tabs click into place.

  7. 7

    Connect a power cable from your computer's power supply unit to the power cable adaptor included with your IDE-to-SATA adaptor. Once you have done that, connect the white 4-pin Molex plug on your power cable adaptor to the power input on your DVD burner.

  8. 8

    Connect a SATA cable from an open SATA port on your motherboard to the SATA port on your adaptor. A SATA cable will typically be included with your adaptor.

  9. 9

    Reassemble your computer and power it on. Once your operating system loads, it should recognise your drive. If it doesn't, you may need to download drivers for the drive. Drivers will be available on the website of your DVD burner's manufacturer.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear you electrostatic wrist band. Static electricity can destroy the sensitive components inside your computer.

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