I have a Dell Mini 12 (1012) with a missing hard drive. The hard drive is PATA (IDE / parallel ATA) with a small ribbon cable that goes directly into the drive. Finding a compatible drive for low price is difficult.

Many online sites show disks that have pins coming out as being compatible, but they are not. Many other sites show disks with only one view, making it hard to tell if the drive needs the more conventional cable (for pin connection) or not. Here is a photo showing the cable in place and the size/case for the original drive:

enter image description here

  • Can I replace the ribbon hard drive cable with one that connects to some other 1.8-inch internal disk?
  • Can I use some other device as internal storage, perhaps by routing USB internally to a flash drive placed where the IDE hard drive would normally be? - A large external bootable flash drive is not ideal but seems to be my best option so far.

See the Dell Mini 12 manual, click on Replacing hard drive.

The MyDellMini site is a good source but at present I cannot post questions there (registration issue). I’ll ask there also (when registration issue is fixed) and cross-post as solutions are figured out. MyDellMini also has info about running a Mac OS X or Chrome OS or Ubuntu on this convenient small laptop.

Note some models in Dell Mini line use SATA. This one is definitely PATA/IDE. Related info I did find this thread discussing PATA on Dell Mini 12 but SATA on some other models in line.

  • Related info I just found: mydellmini.com/forum/dell-mini-12/… discussing PATA on Dell Mini 12 but SATA on some other models in line. Sep 19, 2015 at 18:31
  • Found some additional detailed information. The hard drive cable is ZIF, and some Toshiba drives 40GB, 80GB, 100GB are currently on Amazon for approximately $30, $30, and $60. Not too bad. This article provides 11 pages (don't forget to hit Next) covering different drive sizes, different physical connectors (like ZIF which is right for Dell Mini 12. Also covers performance characteristics. The article includes specific model numbers as well as clear pictures and information. tomshardware.com/reviews/1-8-hard-drives-hit-100-gb,1608-2.html Sep 20, 2015 at 6:56

1 Answer 1


With the link you provided in your comment as well as just my seeing the brand “ Toshiba” mentioned in addition to the 1.8” form factor, this leapt out at me as the exact same form-factor and manufacturer that was used for hard drives in the original iPod (aka: iPod Classic and iPod Video).

Knowing that, I believe you can use a drive like this being sold by iFixit:

The largest size of Toshiba 1.8” drive that was made was the 240GB model that I have seen lots of upgraders purchase to upgrade their old iPods with more capacity:

But if both of those are out of your price range, you can probably find tons of lower capacity drives for sale from various sellers. I have heard some good things about RapidRepair who I believe were one of the first places to offer iPod hard drive upgrades. Here is a list of hard drives they have in stock.

That said, some innovative iPod hackers managed to create a ZIF cable to Compact Flash (CF) adapter that allows you to use Compact Flash (CF) cards in an iPod using the same cable. Check out this page from Addonics which is one of the companies that makes such an adapter; pictured below:

1.8" ZIF - CF Adapter

Now, not 100% sure on the compatibility of this adapter with the Dell Mini 12, but honestly if it’s simply an adapter that the iPod would recognize, I think it’s worth the shot to see if such an adapter would work with the Dell Mini 12 connector.

The benefit is you could just use Compact Flash (CF) media for storage which gives you some more upgrade options than just hunting for a discontinued Toshiba 1.8” form factor hard disk drive.

UDPATE: Just heard about these SDHC upgrade kits for the 5th, 6th and 7th generation iPods from Other World Computing and wanted to add the info to this post since SDHC cards are more common nowadays than Compact Flash. Nice alternative for anyone nowadays who wants to update a system that uses this unique kind of PATA (IDE / parallel ATA) connector.

Tarkan • iFlash • SD Card Adapter for iPod

Tarkan • iFlash-Dual • SD Card Adapter for iPod

  • 1
    Larger drive options are good to know about. The dimensions of the unit (from its data sheet on support page) are: (W x D x H) - 54 x 7 x 58 mm with CF card attached. By rough estimate, space available is 3x2 inches or about 76x50 mm. Depth was mentioned in one of the accompanying articles. As you noted, I am trying to keep the cost low, the Addonics adapter is of interest, at (as of posting) $24. Here is a link to Amazon's top rated Compact Flash cards: amazon.com/gp/top-rated/pc/1197392 Sep 21, 2015 at 18:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .