My brother removed the HD of my old computer and gave it to me. He said that with an adaptor I could connect it to my laptop. I bought one, but it wasn’t exactly the right one. Can anyone help me finding the right adaptor for my HD? I’d like to recover my files.

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  • 3
    A 64 GB sdcard or USB stick could be cheaper than an adaptor for this ancient HDD. – Turbo J Nov 7 '15 at 15:56
  • 3
    @TurboJ Not if the original poster clearly states, “I'd like to recover my files.” which implies they have data on that drive they need. Also, to the original poster you ask, “I bought one, but it wasn't exactly the right one.” What is the exact make and model of the adapter you bought. Posting a picture might help. FWIW, the other answers are correct but if you have an adapter already and it doesn’t work and it should work that is another issue entirely. – JakeGould Nov 7 '15 at 17:09
  • Question was edited after my comment... – Turbo J Nov 7 '15 at 19:51
  • @JakeGould it's true I edited the question after Turbo J asked why. I wanted to clarify the main question to other users. This is the one I got ebuyer.com/… I thought it should work, but I get an alert saying "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer" – user2706712 Nov 21 '15 at 12:24

I'd suggest using an old computer with the appropriate old IDE/PATA connectors. They're likely to be found free or for pocket change on sites like craigslist or kijiji in canada (kijiji had it's name changed to eBay Classifieds in the usa?) or at a garage sale, or borrow one from a friend with a closet full of old computer stuff. Many old ones I've seen were retired because their old hard drive failed, and some of them had IDE/PATA and SATA connectors, if you want to copy directly to a newer hard drive.

I would be reluctant to try booting up the old Windows on the old drive, just in case the drive could be close to failing and you want to recover your data first. Booting a live Linux USB/DVD (like Linux Mint or Ubuntu) you could even mount the old hard drive (as read-only (ro) if you don't want to risk deleting anything important) and browse & copy your files, or do a backup image of the whole drive (if it's failing then linux & gddrescue could be great, see Ubuntu Help - Data Recovery - Imaging a damaged device, filesystem or drive). It's small enough to fit on a USB stick, or you could network with your regular laptop and share files with your laptop over the network .

Or you could use an IDE USB Adapter like this Vantec SATA/IDE to USB 3.0 Adapter
Vantec SATA/IDE to USB 3.0 Adapter image from legitreviews.com
the extras like a power supply as Ecnerwal mentioned should be included with most of them.
You should be extra careful with a hard drive sitting on a table and working, desktop hard drives were traditionally less forgiving of being bumped around than laptop drives, especially an old one.

Or you could use an IDE to USB hard drive enclosure, which is basically the same as above, but with a box around it like this image (has the lid of the "box" removed):
hard disk enclosure image from Wikipedia

Whatever you do, I'd handle the old drive very gently whether it's on or off, especially if you still have important data you want to recover. Bumping or banging it around now is likely to be bad for it.

Image sources: www.legitreviews.com and wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons.

  • 1
    These two options (external adapter or enclosure) are the best options. +1 – WernerCD Nov 7 '15 at 17:50
  • @Scott Thanks for the image sourcing. They were direct image links when I entered them, if they had stayed directly linked to the sources then would a note saying where they're from still be desired? Maybe as the image description would be ok? – Xen2050 Nov 8 '15 at 5:49
  • (1) FWIW, Boann imported the images without preserving any trace of the source (except for the textual link to www.legitreviews.com/vantec-sata-ide-to-usb-3-adapter-review_131412); I was just reacting to that.  We like to import images to i.stack.imgur.com because we have a special relationship with them, and we want Super User to continue to work even if every other web site goes down (i.e., we don’t like direct image links to sources).  … (Cont’d) – Scott Nov 8 '15 at 6:30
  • (Cont’d) …  (2) How to reference material written by others states the Stack Exchange policy.  The rules for referencing images are unclear, and I suspect that there are plenty of posts that do it the same way your answer did.  But the policy says “Provide a link to the original page or answer.”  I interpret that to mean that the citation / reference should be visible text, and what I inserted might still fall short of what the rules require. – Scott Nov 8 '15 at 6:33
  • …  But I see now that you're already familiar with that.  :-)  ⁠ – Scott Nov 8 '15 at 7:30

Standard PATA (Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment) drive - rather old-school these days, but common as heck previously. You might need an external power supply to connect it to most laptops (I presume you are adapting to USB for the laptop connection - these drives expect 5 and 12 volts and even if your adapter had a dc/dc converter to make 12V, the wattage is more than most USB ports are happy supplying.)

Then follows the question of why? 40 GB can be had now in many more convenient and compact forms, (possibly for less money than the adaptor) so unless you have files you did not transfer and need to get off it, the practical value of it as an external drive is negligible.

  • @Exnerwal that's the HD of the computer I had more than 10 years ago and I'd like to check this pandora box ;) – user2706712 Nov 7 '15 at 15:18
  • The USB adapters usually also include a power supply. – Loren Pechtel Nov 8 '15 at 2:04

The gadget you need is called a PATA USB 3.5'' enclosure. Quick googling gave me this and it looks just fine for me. I have got more than a decade of experience wth these things, still using one (although of a different brand) actively with a bucket of hard drives of exactly same model happily. I can help finding it in a catalogue of a local hardware store near you if share a link to one.

  • That enclosure is probably worth more than the drive. :-) – fixer1234 Nov 7 '15 at 16:24
  • Indeed, @fixer1234, as these old drives are worth not more than a dollar or two nowadays (I would be glad to donate a dozen of them if somebody near me was interested, I just don't feel good about throwing perfectly functional hardware I don't need any more away to the garbage can, it feels like throwing out a pet for me), but I have just bought one a decade ago and have used it with more than a hundred of hard drives since then. A CD/DVD/BlueRay recorder drive costs more than empty CD/DVD/BlueRay disks too :-) – Ivan Nov 7 '15 at 16:31

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