How do USB and hard drives work

HOW TO: Connect SATA Hard Drives to a PC with a USB to SATA / IDE Adapter

If you need to connect your SATA hard drive to another computer for data recovery, but don't want to disassemble the tower due to the warranty, don't have SATA ports or just prefer a laptop, you can easily convert this SATA drive to an external hard drive that plugs into a USB port on the computer instead of the motherboard.

Before you begin the procedure, you must have one USB to SATA / IDE adapter that enables communication between these two most commonly used interfaces. Since the USB ports don't provide enough power to power the drives, you'll also need an external power supply such as one AC / DC adapter and a Molex to SATA power cables find for it. However, some models of USB to SATA / IDE adapters include both an adapter and a power supply so you don't have to look for a way to power your drive.

  1. Propel the drive

    Connect the power cable from your SATA drive to the power supply attached Molex to SATA power cable.

  2. Check the drive

    Before connecting the SATA hard drive to your PC, you should make sure that it is functional. Turn on the power and listen to the hard drive: you should hear startup and initialization without any unusual noises, such as clicking or grinding. If the drive is not making any noise, this could indicate an electronic fault.

  3. Connect the drive to the USB to SATA / IDE adapter

    If the hard drive works, turn it off and connect the SATA data cable to the USB-SATA / IDE adapter. Turn the power back on and wait for the drive to start up.

  4. Connect the USB to SATA / IDE adapter to the PC

    You can now connect the adapter's USB cable (USB plug) to the USB port on your computer. As soon as the connection is established, the drive will be displayed in Disk Management.

The following video guide will walk you through the whole process:

For more information on how to identify the interface type and other possible connection methods, see HOW TO: Identify the interface type of a hard drive and connect it to a PC for data recovery.

Last updated: June 21, 2019