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How to Upgrade an ATA Hard Drive to an SATA Hard Drive on a Laptop

Updated February 21, 2017

ATA (IDE) hard drives are beginning to become less and less used in laptop and desktop computers. The new standard is SATA, which is a faster and more power-efficient hard drive. The problem is that when upgrading a laptop's internal hard drive to any other format than what it already is, you need the space inside your laptop to house the converter. Sad to say there is no such converter available, but you do have options. You can use the much quicker SATA hard drive as an external hard drive.

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  1. Plug your Sata dock or USB power source into a wall outlet to give it power. Remove the SATA hard drive from its packaging, carefully only touching the sides of the hard drive. Power on your laptop. If either the dock or adaptor came with software, insert the disc and follow the on-screen instructions to install.

  2. Take your USB cable from either the dock or the USB adaptor and plug it into your computer's USB female port. If your dock has a power switch, turn on the power. Your computer will recognise the new device. Carefully insert the SATA drive into the dock. If you are using the USB adaptor, plug the SATA cable into the USB adaptor, and plug the SATA power cable into the USB power slot.

  3. Configure your drive by formatting it. Do this by finding the new drive in "Computer." Once you found the drive, right-click it and choose "Format." Here you can format the drive into any number of drive formats. Choose the one that best suits your needs and click "Quick Format."

  4. You will now have a fully operational SATA drive on your laptop with the only drawback being that it is not portable. Back up your data, download new files and have fun with it. You will notice the performance gains immediately.

  5. Tip

    This is a great option for people who only use their laptops at home. For those who use their laptops outside of the home, SSD hard drives are the way to go.


    Plug your dock or adaptor's power source into a surge protector to avoid electric shock that will erase the drive.

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About the Author

Joshua Bailey

Joshua Bailey resides in Pennsylvania and has been a professional writer since 2007. His writing focuses on topics in film, entertainment, music and religion. Bailey has been published on eHow and has written numerous articles for three universities. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in business and creative writing from Moravian College.

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