I never thought this will be soo difficult but without opening up my laptop how do I identify if the dvd drive in my laptop is SATA or not.

And incase its SATA then is it SATA - II?

I am ok with installing 3rd party utilities to find this out.

4 Answers 4


Use HWInfo to enumerate all hardware attached to it. It will give a summary page with the things HWInfo maker believes you care most (CPU, Motherboard, GPU, RAM), and the detailed view which will include all other stuff attached to your hardware (as far as they can recognize).

And since they have a zipped / standalone version, you don't need to install it. Check for an entry under Drives - (S)ATA/ATAPI Drives and if your drive is listed under there, it is SATA drive.

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    I tried this one and it said ATAPI for the DVD Rom..so is ATAPI = SATA? The reason why I need to know is that because I am looking to plug in a SSD caddy inplace of DVD-ROM..so just want to be sure that SSD will get good read/write speed in that case.
    – Jags
    Sep 5, 2013 at 6:59
  • What make / model of your laptop? You usually can find out exactly what is inside the laptop from the manufacturer page. About SSD good read and write, that really depends on the SSD itself. And to be honest lots of random brand SSD can't handle any faster than SATA-I speed, so it may not matter at all.
    – Darius
    Sep 5, 2013 at 11:51
  • I checked the detailed specs 1st: cdgenp01.csd.toshiba.com/content/product/pdf_files/… but it only says HDD SATA and DVD SuperMulti Drive
    – Jags
    Sep 5, 2013 at 14:29
  • Good catch on the specs. It shows it is using HM55 Express Chipset and on intel website it mentioned that it has SATA support, and no IDE support, so you can safely assume that the DVD drive is SATA. But again, whether the SSD will perform good or not, is entirely depends on the SSD HD.
    – Darius
    Sep 5, 2013 at 15:07
  • @Darius, that sounds wrong. In desktops, anything less than SATA II will slow down most modern SSDs. Is it different in laptops?
    – MGOwen
    Jun 11, 2014 at 5:34
  • The obvious way to start is to check manual. If you can not find it in the user manual then check the maintenance/technicians manual.
  • If you can not find it in the manual then look on-line, e.g. on the manufacturers website. It will either list the 'disk controllers' or the chipset. Look up the chipset. If it is an ICH5 or more modern then it will do SATA and you would need extra (and on the website mentioned) chips to also support IDE/ATA/PATA. So it is has ICHx and no special comments it will be SATA.
  • Failing that, enter the BIOS and look for something called AHCI. AHCI is only available under SATA.
  • Failing that: the age check: If your laptop is less than 10 years old it will be SATA. If it came with a harddisk larger then 500MB it will be SATA based (both drive and CD/DVD ROM).
  • One more, which is rather kludgy. If you can eject a DVDDrive (not just the DVD, but the whole drive) then it is SATA in AHCI mode. (OLd IDE did not support hot-plugging and does not offer this option).

And incase its SATA then is it SATA - II?

It does not matter if it is SATA I , SATA II or SATA III. These are backward compatible. You only need to worry about that if you use something which needs a lot of speed such as a SSD or a dozen HDD behind a port multiplexor.

I am ok with installing 3rd party utilities to find this out.

No third party software might be needed. Try [Start] run'Compmgmt.msc` and go to the device manager. Look for AHCI controllers. If you find any at all you are almost guaranteed to have an SATA based chipset and only SATA based devices.

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If you want ot be 100% sure that you do not have a device with both SATA and IDE, then boot a linux or BSD live DC and run either lspci or pciconf. Those will list all devices in your system. Both those with and those without attached drivers.

  • Thanks for the detailed reply! I do have SATA controller in device manager: snag.gy/PA7ra.jpg . And SATA II or not matters because I want to replace DVD-ROM with a SSD caddy. So just want to know beforehand the speed I should expect and if SSD will be beneficial or not. I tried some 3rd part S/Ws and they reported SATA-II for HDD. I think DVD interface will also be SATA-II then?
    – Jags
    Sep 5, 2013 at 7:05
  • It depends how they reported it. If they said 'SATA-2 **Link**` then yes. If they said 'that DVD is a SATA-2 device' without reporting what it was connected to; possibly not (it could be a Sata-2 device on a SATA-1 bus). As to speeds: By all means get a SSD. They are great. And their main benefit is not sequantial throughput but semi-random 4K IO. That will work regardless of which SATA link you use.
    – Hennes
    Sep 5, 2013 at 13:00
  • Toshiba only said: cdgenp01.csd.toshiba.com/content/product/pdf_files/… DVD SuperMulti Drive . No mention of SATA or IDE
    – Jags
    Sep 5, 2013 at 14:30
  • From the manual you linked from: Mobile Intel HM55 Express Chipset . Looking up that chipset at Intel: intel.com/content/www/us/en/chipsets/mainstream-chipsets/…. A third of the way down the page: Serial ATA (SATA) 3 Gb/s (so, SATA-II).
    – Hennes
    Sep 5, 2013 at 14:32

Try SIW (there's a free version) at http://www.gtopala.com. It will even tell you if a USB-connected drive is SATA or PATA. Very useful piece of kit - highly recommended.


For future readers who found this in an Internet search: In device manager, click on "View" menu button, and select "Devices by connection". Then just drill down to the SATA and PATA controllers. This should work roughly the same on every Windows OS going back to Windows NT. I don't remember if it works this way on 95, but it should.

  • 3
    Not guaranteed to work; many desktops and sometimes even laptops have a firmware option to present the disk controller as IDE instead of AHCI (especially because Windows didn't get native AHCI support until Vista). I think Device Manager on my old Pentium 4 desktop still showed items practically indistinguishable from an IDE controller (with primary/secondary channels, PIO mode, and all) despite clearly using physical SATA connectors.
    – user1686
    Feb 10, 2019 at 18:05

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