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:
- Use power (ok, any additional drive will do that).
- Yet provide limited extra space (compared to recent drive).
So recover the data, and then archive the old drives.