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I want to connect my SATA HDD (recovered from my old Compaq laptop) but Ive found that standard SATA to USB connectors won't allow me to do this. It seems that my HDD connectors are thicker than standard ones (although there are the same amount of them). Any solutions?

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You need to take out the outer metal shell, then that "connector" comes out. It's regular SATA

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I guess my second guess was right and it is proprietary, good to know. +1 – Shinrai Apr 6 '12 at 17:37

your hd is still in a slide, that has a special connector for hp/compaq
you can remove the slide remove the screws on the underside you will be able to remove the hd from the slide and there will be a normal sata connector.

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This looks to me like the plastic end connectors have actually been ripped off when the drive was removed, and what you're seeing is the pins that used to be attached to them. (If you look at the top of the drive there is very clearly a diagram of what they're SUPPOSED to look like.)

Alternatively, this may be some kind of housing with a proprietary connector - in which case you should be able to remove the drive from it fairly easily, and then you'll find the normal connector inside.

It's hard to tell which is which from the blurriness of the photo, I'm afraid.

EDIT: Judging from other answers, this is the best case scenario, and this is just a connector I'm unfamiliar with.

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It's so the drive can "fall in" to place, instead of slide in at an awkward angle – Canadian Luke Apr 6 '12 at 17:40
@Luke - I've never had a problem with any other laptops, but hey, a contact connector is still probably better for this sort of thing so that's cool. – Shinrai Apr 6 '12 at 17:42
The first time I ran into it was for a laptop IDE drive, which looked like a centronix connector. It wasn't though, and just pulled off. It's a great way to save the pins though! – Canadian Luke Apr 6 '12 at 17:45

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