I have a few hard drives that I took from old desktop PCs of mine. Those hard drives use PATA/IDE data connectors.

I am thinking of simply getting a PATA/IDE to SATA adapter and then connect the particular hard drive to my current machine in order to retrieve the data contained therein. Would this approach work? Or is there some other special approach that I need to take?

UPDATE: I got a bi-directional SATA/PATA/IDE adapter nd now the hard drive(s) show up an unformatted partition.

  • Do you still have a Working PATA PC?
    – TardisGuy
    Mar 15, 2015 at 10:27
  • No. I harvested all the hard drives and CPUs from the old machines...
    – JCM
    Mar 15, 2015 at 10:49
  • 1
    Why you think it shouldn't?
    – Braiam
    Mar 15, 2015 at 12:19
  • @Braiam It always good make sure there aren't any pitfalls or quirks...
    – JCM
    Mar 15, 2015 at 12:23
  • @JCM before doing something expensive or time consuming or very risky, yes. But not so much for this
    – barlop
    Mar 15, 2015 at 12:39

2 Answers 2


Would this approach work?

Yes, this will work. Simply connect the PATA side to the drive and the SATA side to the motherboard. Make sure that the drives jumpers are correctly set (either to single or to master, depending on the brand) and boot. If the drives are still working (e.g. they are not stuck due to congealed lubricants) then this will just work.

You can do the same thing with other convertors, e.g.

  • PATA to USB (and connect to an USB port)
  • PATA to firewire (connect to your desktops firewire port)
  • PATA to SATA (as you seem to intend).

Or is there some other special approach that I need to take?

If the drives still work and have an intact filesystem: No. It will just work.

If the drives have problems (e.g. part of the drive is no longer readable) then I recommend either the PATA to SATA convertor (for speed and less overhead) or a direct connection to an older computer which still has native PATA ports.

Whatever the approach, you should be able to copy the data off it and then disconnect the old drive. Recommended since drives that old tend to be:

  1. Slow.
  2. Noisy.
  3. Use power (ok, any additional drive will do that).
  4. Yet provide limited extra space (compared to recent drive).

So recover the data, and then archive the old drives.

  • I'm doing some spring cleaning... Those drives are there just collecting proverbial and literal dust...
    – JCM
    Mar 15, 2015 at 12:31


Use linux

plug each drive in and

chmod -R 777 /media/mount/pata-disk (where disk is)

then just box and zip/rar/tar everything to [New drive here]

  • for later sorting (on faster drive)

mount/dump archives later: Use "Everything search" to find what you lost.


  • Thanks. Alas! The machines where the old hard drives came from were running windows as does my current machine....
    – JCM
    Mar 15, 2015 at 11:25
  • Thats fine. Just use a live CD.
    – TardisGuy
    Mar 25, 2015 at 3:47
  • I run Linux Ubuntu on virtual machine, though. ..
    – JCM
    Mar 25, 2015 at 4:36

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