How to get SATA laptop to recognize IDE drive via USB

By David1233 ·
I have a recent gateway laptop running vista - I am trying to view the contents of IDE desktop hard drives (2 of them) using a USB > SATA/IDE cable. The computer does not seem to recognize either of them. I see a new USB device under Hard drives in Device manager, but nothing in my computer or disk management. I am not certain of the condition of the drives, but I know they have information on them. This cable has worked with a SATA laptop drive connected externally.

Any Suggestions?

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Is this the type of adapter

by Jacky Howe In reply to How to get SATA laptop to ...


If it is check that the Drives are spinning up before connecting to USB. How old are these drives as the really old ones won't be detected at all.

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Drive info and purpose

by David1233 In reply to Is this the type of adapt ...

Thanks for responding.

That is the same config as my adapter - but I have an unbranded one from China I got at radio shack. I am using the power cord with it of course.

The older one is definitely spinning, and definitely has data I'd prefer to search before formating. It was probably running Win 95 or 98. The newer one it's hard to tell if it's spinning, maybe not. The chips on bottom do heat up. Newer drive was known to be working recently with desktop, running XP, but virus ridden. Any other reasons it might not spin up?

What would be the obstacle to recognition on an older drive, and is there any fix, workaround, or alternate method?

My real purpose is to:

A) see what is on the drives and move anything of interest.

B) I will then reformat the drives and install XP to use with a desktop for a technical purpose (I need to run a recovery on the 2.5" drive, but it needs to be connected internally, and run for days, so cannot do on my current system)

Thank you

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Drive overlay software and hardware

by TheChas In reply to Drive info and purpose

Well, if the one drive had Windows 95 and is larger than 2GB, it is possible that a drive overlay program was installed on the drive so that the old system could address a larger hard drive than the BIOS supported.

Some of these you can remove without problems, others are stubborn. Either way, you would need to know what specific software was used.

Second, there do seem to be some hardware limitations with some of these drive adapters.

I have 2 different USB to 2.5" SATA adapters and neither will work with my XP desktop system. Both work fine with the Vista notebooks we have.

Another USB to IDE case adapter works well with everything.

I would start with a dedicated USB to IDE external drive case and see if that allows you to access the drives.


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by Jacky Howe In reply to Drive info and purpose

I have a similar adapter. The lowest drive capacity that mine will detect is a Quantum Bigfoot 1GB. I have a few drives that are smaller with no overlay software installed but all I can get is an I/O error if they are detected at all. These smaller drives have either win98 or win95 on them. I connect them internally and they will fire up.

Another anomally that I have noticed is that if I use anything larger than a 20GB 2.5" drive it won't fire up. If I connect it internally with a Notebook IDE Hard Drive Adaptor it works.

If you have access to a Desktop System and the right adaptors you could connect them internally. Bootup with a Live Linux CD or similar and extract your information.

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