SATA and IDE Hard Drives?

Category: Hard-Drives , Hardware

I want to install the hard drive from my old computer as the secondary hard drive of my new computer. The new computer is an HP with a SATA hard drive. My old hard drive is a Seagate Ultra ATA/100. How do I add this hard drive to my new computer?

external hard drive

Can I Have Both SATA and IDE Drives in a Computer?

Most new computers come with SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) hard drives, which are faster and more reliable than the older IDE style drives. Some motherboards have connectors for both SATA and IDE, but chances are your computer will support only one or the other.

If you have an IDE drive and you want to connect it to your new computer which has a SATA drive installed, you have two options:

  • The first option is to open up the system unit and see if the motherboard has IDE connectors. (The documentation for your computer may also tell you this.) Refer to the photos in Adding a Second Hard Drive if you're not familiar with SATA and IDE connections. If you have both, plug in the IDE drive's data and power cables, turn the computer on and hopefully both drives will show up.
  • If you don't have an IDE connector on your new system, you can buy a kit to convert your old IDE drive into an external drive, and connect it with a standard USB cable. Addonics and other companies offer these kits, so you can shop around for the one that seems best for you.

One advantage of going with an external drive is that you can easily move the hard drive from one computer to another, and use it as a backup device for all your computers.

Got comments or questions about adding a second hard drive? Post your thoughts below...

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Most recent comments on "SATA and IDE Hard Drives?"

(See all 38 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

25 Apr 2008

my question is who is the brilliant person who came up with sata drive's you have no control over if it mess's up you cant even piggy back to to recover files to another drive Would it have been too hard to put a jumper for master/slave with ide you can , sata forget it you had Best Back Up Any and Every Thing !! You Want. They may be fast but so is a scsi and data recovery is expensive so if you have sata ,a burner is a life saver and cd/dvd disks dont cost much please use them ! ya know 10ms aint that long?

Posted by:

26 May 2008

I've been reading the posts, but haven't yet found one exactly like my situation. I have a VIA K8T800P-8237 motherboard with a failing Ultra ATA drive. I have a new SATA drive and adapter card. I want to config and use the new drive as my primary (of course :), but not be down the length of time it would take me to swap drives and start from scratch. Can I configure my new drive as a slave, installing Windows XP and apps, while running on the old one; then switch the new one to master and remove the old one? Thanks!

EDITOR'S NOTE: I would install the new drive, and temporarily disconnect the old one. Then reboot and install Windows+apps on the new drive. Now shut down, reconnect the old drive and configure the BIOS to boot from the new drive. You'll have your shiny new drive running, and you can copy the files you need from the old drive to the new one, before retiring it.

Posted by:

04 Oct 2008

Where would I find an adapter card to hook up a sata hard drive to a computer with only ata hard drive connection.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You'll need an IDE-to-SATA adapter. Do a Google search and you'll find them starting at about $20. The adapter plugs into the IDE slot on the motherboard, then you plug the SATA drive into the adapter -- not very difficult to install if you're willing to pop the hood on your PC.

Posted by:

Mike Orton
21 Oct 2008

SATA to IDE (and IDE to SATA). From Ebay you can get a little card that plugs into the back of an IDE/SATA drive and converts one to the other. Ie you can run a sata from an IDE only M/B and the other way round. they are cheap, under 10 UK pounds from a source in Hong Kong.

Then there is the magic bridge. cheap plastic box, USB2 to connect to PC/laptop, Mains power adaptor and connections for IDE40/80/44 and SATA drives. Great for data recovery too. Cost 20 to 40 UK pounds. All IDE drives have to be jumpered as master.

Posted by:

12 Feb 2009

Hi Bob i have two hard disk in my computer old one is ide and second one is sata when i connect both hard disk it boot from ide i want it boot from sata hard disk can you provide me solution for it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I think you need to go into your BIOS settings and specify the boot order.

Posted by:

Roger Snyder
16 Feb 2009

I just bought a new HP that has only SATA connectors. I wanted to take the secondary IDE drive from my old XP PC and add it to the new PC. I bought a converter card that plugs into the back of the IDE drive that then provides a SATA cable to plug into the motherboard. I've installed the card and power cables, plugged in the SATA cable to the MB, but the drive is not being recognized by either the BIOS or Vista. I've put the Master jumper on the IDE drive. I've tried changing the SATA1 Controller Mode from RAID to IDE, but that doesn't help. Any suggestions?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sounds like you did everything right. If you can rule out a defective IDE-SATA converter, then your best best is to use the IDE drive as an external drive, with a USB connection.

Posted by:

Dave Crew
01 Mar 2009

I'd like to mirror Larry's comments re: the lack of jumpers specifying the order and merge with it the comment from Sanjay.

I too have IDE and SATA drives and when you say to go into the BIOS and specify the boot order, there is no boot order, merely the number of hard drives. Certainly clicking each one reveals their name or ref number, but nowhere can you specify which should be the master.

Posted by:

20 Apr 2009

Bob, I am trying to reformat a Samsung SP0802N/P PATA HDD out of the unit by utilizing a seet of Ultra USB 2.0 IDE/SATA cable adapter. I have an 80G drive and a 320G D: drive installed in a Upgraded Dell 8200. The computer reccognizes the USB connection in the tool bar but not when I pull up "My Computer". The hdd in infected with a boat load of viruses + which caused the original prob. Cannot reformat from XP windows shuts down upon logon. Any suggestiuons? in addition to buy a new HD

EDITOR'S NOTE: What toolbar are you referring to? Did you try accessing the drive from Disk Management?

Posted by:

ryan humphries
05 May 2009

Hi Bob, I've recently brought a second standard computer to try and make good myself, The computer has got a standard ide hd and i want to add a sata hd. Could i add it straight to the ide hd as a secondary drive or would it be better removing the old drive and just install the sata drive. Thanks for you're time.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If your motherboard has connections for both IDE and SATA, you can use both.

Posted by:

ryan humphries
06 May 2009

The computer has only got ide connections, ive brought a adapter so i can use the sata but was wondering if i could just add it straight to the ide hd.

EDITROR'S NOTE: You can't plug a SATA drive into an IDE drive, if that's what you mean. The SATA adapter must be plugged into the second IDE connector on the motherboard.

Posted by:

ryan humphries
06 May 2009

Thanks for you're help, very quick responses as well.

Much appreciated.

Posted by:

null o'neil
18 May 2009

how can i change SATA drive to IDE in dell optiplex755

Posted by:

Chris Gibbons
10 Aug 2009

ryan is wrong, you don't have to plug the drive into the second ide port on the MB. Just plug it into the slave connector on the same ide cable. (the middle connector)

Posted by:

21 Aug 2009

Hi! Bob, I wanna know whcih hard disk is better SATA or IDE?

EDITOR'S NOTE: In general SATA is faster and more flexible. Most new computers are using SATA drives now.

Posted by:

24 Aug 2009

I had an IDE drive as the primary via the MB and added a SATA as a secondary via a SATA. The primary holds a fresh XP install. Since adding the SATA, I have extremely HIGH hardware interrupts. There are no conflicts listed. I have tried updating all drivers and the problem still exists. The primary stays on PIO mode, even after manually changing and rebooting. The SATA is DMA. This is so annoying, I cant listen to music without hearing what almost sounds like harmonics. I cant watch videos, such as on YouTube, without major hesitations in the video every few seconds. Help.............

Posted by:

09 Nov 2009

i have a new computer its installed already sata hard drive but now i have another one ide hard drive i want to use to this one but one ide port in my motherboard there is connected dvd drive so how can i use it but 4 sata port is there.

Posted by:

23 Feb 2010

I added an old 320 GB IDE Hard drive to my new computer but I cant get it to show up in My Computer. Any advice please???? Thanks.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Is the drive formatted? Try to find it with Disk Management. See

Posted by:

20 Sep 2010

hi Bob

I have a new motherboard with one ide connector and I wish to connect 4 ide devices. I have bought a pata to sata converter, but when I connect it, the drives are still not detected. Do you have to do anything in the Bios?

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you want to connect IDE devices, why get a SATA interface? Usually you can use 2 drives per IDE port, by chaining them together on the ribbon cable. So you really just need an extra IDE port, which you can do with an add-on card.

Posted by:

23 Dec 2011

Hello Bob! I just got a new Dell laptop model: N5040. I know that the file system is NTFS. So my old laptop which was a Sony Vaio VGN-NR140E(which I believes has an FAT32 file system), I took the hard drive out of it. I hooked up the Sony old hard drive via an Sabrent USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE Hard Drive Adapter, to my new Dell. The Dell seems to not identify the drive. Like when I go to "my computer" it just loads and loads and never opens. Now I do notice that on my SATA/IDE adapter that the lights are blue as if the old sony hard drive is trying to release some kind of information to the Dell. Should I wait a while and allow the Sony hard drive information to be transferred to the Dell? The Sony hard drive has about 100gb of information on it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I don't think waiting will help. The drive should be recognized right away when you plug it in the USB port. And it won't automatically transfer any files, even if the drive is recognized. It will appear as a new drive letter (E:, F:, etc.) I would try connecting the drive to another computer's USB port. If that doesn't work, I would guess that the Sabrent adapter is defective.

Posted by:

27 Jun 2012

Hi, bob, im using HP computer wenever i switch ON the computer the monitor will pop a message that: " NO SIGNAL" pls. I need help. Thanks

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