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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.