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5/12/06 Adding old hard drive to new PC with only SATA connections

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 11, 2006 3:38 AM PDT

My name is Trevor and I'm a subscriber to CNET. I have a question regarding internal hard drives. I recently bought a new PC that came with an internal Serial ATA hard drive. I still have a Parallel ATA hard drive from my old PC that is in fine condition that I would like to use as a second internal hard drive. However, the motherboard on the new PC doesn't have an extra parallel slot to which I can hook up my old hard drive. Are there any products out there that can help me hook up my parallel drive to my new PC (such as an external adapter or some kind of PCI slot card)? If there is, can you please recommend a reliable brand and also let me know if there is anything I should be aware of before proceeding with whatever I need to do? Thanks!

Submitted by: Trevor Y.



Hey Trevor, the way I see it, there are four possible ways to skin your cat:

1) If your PC has an optical drive (CD-ROM, CD, or DVD burner) then it is likely hooked to the one PATA (parallel ATA or old-style 40-pin) connector on your motherboard. If the cable has only the one connector on it for the optical drive, then you could get a two-drive cable and hook your HD on there. If you want to be able to boot from your optical drive on occasion, it may be necessary to set it to master and set the HD to slave depending on the flexibility of your PC's BIOS. This is the cheapest method but may require a nonstandard-length cable depending how the drives are laid out in your case. Get the shortest cable that will do the job.

2) Use an IDE/ATA to SATA converter. This will work if you have a free SATA connector left on your motherboard. It will change your PATA drive into a SATA drive. I like this converter, as it tucks neatly out of the way, is inexpensive and is based on SIL (SiliconImage logic) which I find to be very reliable and flexible. These usually sell for less than $20. shipped. The converter requires a floppy size power connector while your drive will need a regular Molex drive power connector, so it might be wise to purchase a power Y that will split a single drive power connector into one for each. Last I knew, the converter comes with no power adapters or other cables, so you'll also need a SATA signal cable unless a spare came with your computer. Once again, the shortest cable that will do the job is the one to get, or a standard 18 incher which will likely be the least expensive ($2.00 and up).

3) The next option is a PCI controller for PATA drives. This requires an open PCI card slot on your motherboard. I use and recommend this controller, as it is reliable, inexpensive and based on a SIL chipset. It is a very flexible card that can control just about any PATA device from the slowest old LS-120 drive to the fastest PATA HD and can even do RAID 0,1,0+1 if needed in the future. Simple to install and use and usually less than $20 shipped. Download the latest drivers from the Syba or SiliconImage sites. This controller comes with one standard, flat cable (80-wire to work with all drives).

4) The final option is to use your IDE drive as an external USB drive. The cheapest way to achieve that is to use a converter cable kit like this, which is also SIL based and sold under the Syba and Bytecc names at the least. Needs no enclosure or any other accessory as it comes with its own power supply. If you want an enclosure, you can choose anything from a mobile drive rack like this, (which could also be used internally), up to the more expensive integrated external enclosures like this one, . The integrated enclosures have their own USB converter and power supply so the converter cable mentioned above won't be needed.

None of these options are difficult to set up and use as long as you have a reasonable knowledge of your own computer and can read and follow instructions (of course the poorly translated and often minimalist instructions that come with many of these products may leave a lot to be desired). Good luck.

Submitted by: Bill H. Groton, NY (AKA: Zepper)
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Honorable mentions
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 11, 2006 3:39 AM PDT

I certainly understand your desire to reuse your old hard drive. Why waste a perfectly good drive? And I must say that I recommend a second hard drive to almost all my customers. It is a great way to keep Windows and your data separated or perfect for backing up your critical information. But before I get into the details of how you might go about reusing this drive, let me caution you that the average hard drive has an expected life of about 5 years. Now I know that there are some of you out there that will jump in to say that you have a drive that has been working fine for over 10 years now. And yes, I do too. But I also have some that have failed after a year or two. Unfortunately, not all drives will give you any signs of impending failure and can just stop working at any time. So please keep this in mind when deciding what data you plan to store on this drive. Since you did not mention the model of your new computer, I will assume that this computer case has an available drive bay for the drive, available PCI Slot as well as extra drive power connectors, ample power supply and cooling to handle the added card and drive. See notes below.

With that out of the way, let?s get to the various ways to recycle your old drive. Please keep in mind that you can occasionally run into problems with multiple drives both containing an operating system, so it is highly recommended that you reformat the drive before using it as a second drive.

Internal PCI PATA Controller (~$30-50)
You can purchase an internal PCI card that will give you two IDE connectors for connecting up to 4 additional Parallel ATA drives. If you want, you can even get one with Raid capabilities. Even though some manufacturers are no longer making parallel ATA cards anymore, the best know manufacturers are Adaptec and Promise but companies such as SIIG and CompUSA have some lower cost generic models. I have used just about every brand out there with no problems but just make sure it supports your current version of Windows. Here is a link to one example:

External USB or Firewire Drive Enclosure (~$20-50)
Probably the easiest and safest way to go is to purchase a 3.5? external drive enclosure (2.5? is for laptop drives). These enclosures come with their own power supplies and can be attached to your computer with either a USB or Firewire connection. You simply drop your old drive into the enclosure and connect. Note: you may have to change the jumper settings on your old drive. Here is a link to some examples:


External Network Attached Storage Enclosure (~$100-150)
Another option is to setup your drive for direct network access. These enclosures allow you to connect your drive directly to your network router so that every computer on your network can share the hard drive and in some cases even access the drive from the internet if you want. Check these out:

Paperweight (Priceless)? I couldn?t resist!
With the price of hard drives dropping all the time and if you wait for a good sale, you can pick up a new SATA hard drive for about $69. Old drives make terrific paperweights. Your new motherboard should have a second SATA connection. This would eliminate having to install a controller and other possible problems. Note: You may have to change your bios settings to turn on the second SATA drive.

A Few Words of Caution!
When installing any additional hardware into your computer you should be aware of several factors that could affect the overall performance and life of your computer. Issues such as cooling and additional power drain could bring on unexpected problems. Many off the shelve computers (especially low end models) are specifically designed around the internal hardware that they intend to install. Additional Hard drives, cables and expansion cards can upset this design resulting in overheating, power supply failures and other problems. You should evaluate the following before proceeding to install any new hardware:

1. Heat Kills - Hard drives can run very hot and placing drives directly on top of each other without proper cooling can lead to premature failure. Leave an empty bay between your drives if the case has the room to do so. You may want to purchase additional hard drive cooling fans.

2. General Cooling ? Extra cards and cables can inhibit the much needed air flow within the computer case as well as add to the over heat that need to be expelled from the case. Use caution when routing those wide ribbon cables to avoid blocking air flow. In some cases you may need to install additional fans to help remove the extra heat.

3. Ample Power Supply ? Too many extras can be taxing on a power supply leading to failure or even intermittent problems. Usually adding one drive should not be a problem but if you have a high-end video card, extra hard drives, fans and lighting, you may need to install a larger power supply.

4. No Extra Power Connectors ? Depending on the model computer, you may not have any spare power connectors to power your second hard drive. You can purchase a Power Y adapter the give you an extra connector. But keep in mind that the power supply may not be able to handle the additional drain.

5. General Safety ? Anytime you are working inside of your computer, it should be turned off and UNPLUGGED.

6. Static Electricity ? Static Electricity can lead to permanent or latent damage. Use a grounded wrist strap or at the very least, touch something metal before attempting any repairs or handling static sensitive devices. This is especially true during the dry winter months. Avoid working on or around carpeted floors.

Good Luck!

Submitted by: Dana H. of Wayland Computer



The lack of EIDE (Parallel ATA) ports on your new computer's motherboard seems a bit odd - most modern motherboards have 2 EIDE channels that support up to 4 devices. There are a few, rare motherboards out there these days that don't sport any. Those are high end gaming boards that have had the EIDE ports removed from the design to speed up the function of the motherboard by a few nanoseconds. If this is the type of motherboard you've got, then there are a couple of options (see below).

Given you didn't give us much in the way of configuration, motherboard model number, etc..., the first thing to do is to examine the way they've got things set up inside your computer. Odds are that you DO have at least one EIDE port available. Most modern computers generally come with one hard drive, and one or two optical (CD/DVD) drives. Now then, given your computer boots to the SATA drive, that still leaves 2 or 3 EIDE ports available. There IS the extreme option of having 4 EIDE devices (optical drives, internal ZIP drives (or other Iomega removable devices), tape drives, etc...) however, most computers these days don't come so overloaded with devices.

Now then, the first thing on the checklist is to see how the optical
drive(s) are connected to the motherboard. There are 3 possibilities.

1.) the optical drive(s) are connected by way of an EIDE (flat, wide, 40 or 80 pin EIDE ribbon cable)
2.) the optical drive(s) are natively SATA and are connected thusly.
3.) the optical drive(s) are EIDE, but are connected by way of SATA using an adapter.

If the optical drive(s) are connected using the EIDE flat ribbon (or one of the newer, air flow friendly round cables), check to see how many drives are linked to each cable. It is entirely possible that the system vendor decided to cut corners and give you cable(s) that only had the one port. If there's only one - and there's no second port available towards the middle of the cable, you can simply buy a replacement for the cable that has two ports. Be sure to make sure that one drive is set to Master, the other is set to Slave. Problem solved. Plug in the new drive and you should be able to get up and running from there.

Now then, if the optical drives are connected using option 2 or 3 above, things are going to be a bit more complicated. In these two cases, you've got 3 options:

1.) You can purchase a PCI card that supports a pair of EIDE channels - up to 4 internal drives. That's the good news. The not so good news - they start around $40 US. There are numerous brands available. Promise Technology and SIIG are two brands that I've had decent enough luck with in the past.

2.) You can purchase an adapter that converts an EIDE drive to a SATA drive. These are "dangle boards" - a small circuit board that fits between the SATA cable and a standard EIDE cable. It translates the commands coming through the SATA cable into ones understood by EIDE devices. They can go for approximately $15 US. Keep in mind that these will only allow a maximum thruput of first generation SATA. Of course, this IS a tiny bit faster (150 Mbit/s instead of 133 Mbit/s). An example can be found at Also, keep in mind that these "dangle boards" only support ONE EIDE device per SATA port.

3.) The final option would be to purchase an external enclosure that supports USB 2.0 and/or Firewire and mount the hard drive in there. Going this route has it's pros and cons. On the pro side, the drive can be used on other systems - making it a good means to move files from one machine to another. On the con side, it's not nearly as fast as having the drive plugged into a SATA or EIDE port.

Submitted by: Pete Z.



Hi Trevor there are two options for you.

Option 1
External USB 2.0 or firewire (IEEE 1394) enclosures or cases this option is the easiest and cheapest way to do what you want to do. It will cost you around $80 to $100 Us dollars to do and can be purchased at a local best buy or CompUSA or at a local computer store with this option not only can you add your old hard drive but it becomes portable so you can connect it to any system with USB 2.0 ports or Firewire ports. And since most computers have USB ports on them get one of those then the rest is easy as putting the hard drive in your computer case without ever even opening your computer and brand does not matter here I do not believe. Assemble should be easy and quick at around 20 min.

Option 2
This option a little trickier depending on your computer there are indeed PCI slot Hard drive controllers I have used Adaptec and promise fast track brands both are good brands and you can also find them in a best buy or CompUSA for around $130 to $150 us dollars but here is where things can get tough depending on your computer case and who made your computer for example dell, gateway or Compaq these company?s use micro mini towers today and you may have a hard time finding space for you hard drive and controller in your computer plus if you are not very knowledgeable on how to use or get into you computers BIOS (basic input output system) setup or know how to manage IRQ (interrupt request) number assignments or manage other resources on your computer this option can give you some trouble and grief some systems also may need a bios update to handle your new controller my recommendation is to stay with option 1 unless you are really computer savvy and or a tech geek like me.

Well Trevor I hope my answer has been informative and has helped you decide what you want to do thank you for your time in reading it and good luck..

Submitted by: Paul M.



Well there are a couple of approaches we can use. However why install a second drive? Have you thought about an external drive? For anywhere from $60.00 to $90.00 you buy an enclosure pop in your old hard drive. These enclosure are complete, meaning they have their own power supply, their own electronics to run the hard drive. More often then not they are also USB equipped, this also means that it can be used on just about any USB equipped computer (being as it has its own power supply because most hard drives are 12volt). At this moment I can not specifically suggest a particular brand of enclosure. But this is one way you could use your old hard drive to carry huge amounts of data or use it to store back up data. The best thing is that it is not permanently affixed to any one computer.

Then if you insist that you still want to put your old hard drive into your present computer, there are PCI disk controller boards to use. One that comes to mind is Promise Technology, Inc.. The PCI Promise Board that you want is Ultra133TX2. Now it does not matter that maybe your old drive is 66mbs, 100mbs or 133mbs, what this means is that your drive will dictate the speed, so my advice is get any disk controller that is rated at 133mbs transfer rate. And by the way Promise also has external enclosures as well. So you might want peruse the site and specs on the different boards and equipment at the site.


Submitted by: Rick B.



Hi Trevor,

Good to see another recycler! There are a couple of options, those you allude to in your question, add an internal Parallel ATA card inside your PC or use a USB external enclosure. Before you do either of these, are you sure you don't have connectivity already? There isn't a free EIDE port on the motherboard, true enough but how many optical drives do you have installed? If you've only one, that is almost certainly running off a Parallel IDE port and it may even have a free connector on the cable. You will need a PATA 4 pin Molex power cable, of course. If you don't have a spare one, you could use a splitter off the optical drive. If you have two optical drives (HP/Compaq machines seem to have them) then both ports will be used, so read on...

The easiest, and possibly more useful if you have more than one PC, is probably the external enclosure. I just did this with a laptop drive that I upgraded to a bigger model. External was the only option since there is no room in the laptop for a second drive! I picked up a generic self powered enclosure at a local computer fair for UK
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Other advice from our members
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 11, 2006 3:39 AM PDT

Most computers that have Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives still have regular EIDE cdroms, DVDs, DVD burners, or cd burners. This means that there will be at least one EIDE interface on the motherboard, and a ribbon coming out of it and going to the cd device. Each of these ribbons can have two devices attached to it. A Master and a Slave. If you look at the back of your hard drive, where the power and ribbon plug in, there will be another set of pins with one or two jumpers on it. Look around the hard drive, and you will find (somewhere) a schematic telling you how to set these jumpers in order for the hard drive to be recognized as either the Master or the Slave. Look at the cd device, and see how it is set up. It will also have pins and jumpers, but will likely configure differently to achieve the same result. If the cd device is set as Master, you?ll need to set up the hard drive as Slave or Vice Versa. You?ll need to physically mount the hard drive in the case in a location that will allow the ribbon to reach both. That means that you?ll likely need to use the bay directly underneath or on top of the CD device. This also means that you?ll likely need an adapter (available at any pc shop worth its salt) to get the 3 ? ? hard drive to mount in a 5 ? ? bay. Plug the ribbon in (red stripe typically goes on the side closest to the power plug), plug in the power, and boot the pc. Most times, it?ll be automatically recognized. If not, you?ll likely need to go into the computers BIOS and make sure it knows to look for both devices on that ribbon. As for getting into the BIOS; that differs from Manufacturer to Manufacturer.

Submitted by: Mark H. of Enid, Oklahoma



Maxtor (Seagate) makes a PCI ATA 133 adapter which fits the bill. That?s probably the simplest solution. If you?re running Win2K or later it should PNP. I currently have one of these in my main PC running 2 drives without issues. I have not tried to set it up as the boot partition, though depending on the system BIOS it should work fine. One of the smoothest installs I?ve had, the drives migrated from other equipment and arrived with their files intact.

You CAN get a SATA to PATA Adapter, available in the $20 range from a quick Google. I have no experience with them.

What I?d recommend, however, is perhaps placing the drive into an external enclosure and using either FireWire or USB 2.0 to manage the drive. While it?s not as clean as having the drive embedded in the PC, having it available as an external drive literally opens up a ton of possibilities.

Submitted by: Coyt W.



I have an old DELL Dimension XPS ( Sept 1997 ) and was worried about the hard drive failing. I purchased an internal drive and then bought a USB 2.0 enclosure , CP Technologies Platinum Series for about $20.00, and installed the ATA which then allows me to run this drive on the USB port. I used this interface to make a clone of my internal drive using commercially available software. If you do not need the drive internally installed this maybe the simplest approach. Your drive was originally installed so make sure the drive settings are correct for this type of use.

Submitted by: Roy M.



Looks like these cards are getting harder and harder to find at your friendly neighborhood computer supply store. You can find them at a very decent price and in many different flavors on eBay (and I haven?t had a problem yet dealing with eBay for computer accessories ? just be smart and check the feedback)

The ONLY one I?ve been able to find at the major retailers like CompUSA and Circuit City, etc., was the Promise Technology; model name: Ultra133 TX2 model number: ULTRA133TX2. It?s right around $50. It?s referred to as a ?controller card,? which threw me at first, because I usually see that associated with SCSI. Then I realized ?Duh! Same thing, dummy! Just a different interface!?

Digital-&-Tech lists a few on eBay. One that looks decent there is $2.99 plus $12.99 shipping. Of course, they also list one for .76cents with $18.98 shipping and another for $4.60 with $11.60 shipping. So be sure to check all the options.

Anyway, there you have it! They?re really quite simple to use. The only thing I can suggest to watch out for is that some of them are a little picky when it comes to resource settings. But that might just be the older ones. I haven?t used one for several years, so I?d imagine that could have changed drastically by now. If there are no issues with the system, you should be able to just slap the card in and go!

Submitted by: Michael K.



Trevor's question lacks some key details, but I?ll put forth at least two suggestions.

1. Most computers still have Parallel ATA in them. This, specifically, for the CD / DVD and/or other Optical media. If he only has one drive connected to the legacy ATA connection, try going out and getting a standard 80-pin IDE cable that has two connections on it. Chances are this would be all he needs. He'd have to be cautious of the drive position select settings (Master / Slave / Cable Select), but if he only has one optical drive, it can be done.

2. If he doesn't have an extra space on the legacy ATA controller, I would have to suggest getting SIIG products. I've had several of their PCI based IDE controllers (including a VL-bus controller), and still use several of them in my main machines. Depending on cost vs. speed, here's some models:

ATA 133 - SC-PE4B12
ATA 100 - SC-PE4A12
ATA 66 - SC-PE4612

Chances are he'll want the ATA/133, as that's pretty much what all newer drives are capable of, and it should be backward compatible with 100 and 66 drives.

Submitted by: Justin S.



Regarding the User who recently bought a new PC that came with an internal Serial ATA hard drive. But wants to use his old IDE or Parallel ATA hard drive on his new Serial ATA motherboard. He needs to buy an IDE or Parallel to Serial ATA Converter from Addonics Technologies. It converts any IDE hard drives and most ATAPI devices to Serial ATA device. It Support ATA 33/66/100/133, Bootable, Hot swappable you can remove and added without shutdown or restarting your system, Simple plug and play no drivers required. It cost around 20 -30 US Dollars.

Submitted by: Ricardo O. of Brooklyn, New York



You can turn your old internal hard drive into an USB external HD. I paid about $30 for an Acomdata hard drive enclosure kit. I spent about 15 minutes total time to read instructions and install an old 200Gb ATA drive in its enclosure and plug the USB cable into my USB hub. The cost is relatively cheap considering the cost of in-store external USB drives on the market.

All you need is to purchase an external drive enclosure that accepts whichever HD cable or ribbon was used to connect to your old PC. Either SATA or ATA. The enclosure with your old drive can be attached to you new PC's USB port or to a USB 2.0 Hub attached to your PC. You should consider whether or not to modify your old drives jumper switch settings (master, slave, or cable select). Hope this info assists.

Submitted by: Louis W.



The simplest way to add a hard drive to a computer is to use an external housing unit. These units take a regular IDE drive and convert it into a USB or Fire Wire connection. With XP the drive is read as soon as you connect the cable. With Win 95 you would have to get a driver which can be downloaded from the net.

I have three external drives. I use one for all my data. This way when I travel with my laptop I just unhook the drive from the desktop and stick it in my case. Thus all my files are with me no matter what computer I am using. The second drive is my backup drive. I have an image of my boot drive of both laptop and desktop which is updated frequently. Acronis,Ghost and Drive Image are some of the current backup utilities available. The third drive is my work horse. It is a 200 GB drive that I can use to store video/movies etc until I can edit and then burn them.

An average housing unit, readily available at Tiger direct and many other sources run around $50. Some of the units provide a knock-out front which would permit you to use an internal DVD burner through the USB port.

Submitted by: NSheff



Addonics has an interface converter that plugs on the back of an IDE drive to make it into SATA. I have never used it, so I don't know how reliable it is, but there are speed test results on their website: Looks like it sells for around $20 + shipping, and it takes up an inch of space behind the drive.

So mounting it may be a challenge if your new computer has a case with tight-fitting drive bays. If your IDE drive is newish and large capacity, it might be worth the trouble to try it. If not, I'd just apply that $20 towards another high-performance SATA drive and give the old IDE to a friend or relative.

Submitted by: Sherry B. of Florence, Alabama



We recently found a variety of USB Hard Drive Enclosure kits that allow you take your regular internal drive and turn it into an external, USB drive. We purchased one from Fry's for about $30. It took only about 10 minutes to assemble and voila! We now were able to use that 250 GB internal drive that we purchased on a whim and let sit for a year. And they come in cool colors. Some even have neat blue neon lights.

Submitted by: Juli F.



Hello Trevor,

First & foremost: enjoy your new PC, and try to get the most of it Happy

While it seems kind of odd that no PATA (also called IDE) drive connector is available on your motherboard (most MBs provide both type of connectors these days), you should not give up: PCI IDE controllers ARE available, and some are really good (in fact, at least one of the companies that provides built-in controllers to MB manufacturers, does also sell separately its products, with great success I may add, to the general public).

Without trying to do any kind of advertising here, I can say that I have been using Promise Technology's (< >)products for years now, and they never failed me or my friends.

Assuming that you wish to have ONLY PATA support, the Ultra133 TX2 might be the choice for you (see < >);

If you are on the market for a combined SATA/PATA controller, you may wish to look at their SATA300 TX3plus offering (see < >).

This being said however, you may wish to try and go another route, for the same kind of money (or, maybe, less): why not try to trade-in your old PATA drive for a fresh new SATA one, and enjoy at least the following advantages:

1. No need to "sacrifice" a PCI slot (depending on your existing/ targeted configuration, you may be short of those ...);

2. Get a faster & larger drive;

3. Enjoy new warranty on the new drive (some companies offer up to back up your drive for up to 3 years, not something to look over);

4. Depending on your MB's built-in controller, you may even be able to set up a RAID configuration, to gain reliability, speed, or both.

Hope this helps,

Best luck whichever way you decide to go.

Submitted by: Eric T.



There are a number of options for using your old hard drive. First, you can get an IDE to SATA adapter that connects directly to your old drive. This is the most expensive option, it will set you back about $35, but it does not require a free PCI slot in your system. The second option is a PCI IDE controller, which is available starting at $20. Those controllers generally work OK, but usually require OS drivers which can become a problem if you want to update or change your OS in the future and buy a no-name adapter. And the third is an external USB 2.0 hard drive enclosure, which can be had for around $20 as well. That's the route I would recommend, because it is ideal as a backup solution. Instead of bothering with feeding tens of DVD's into a backup program and getting bored out of your skull, you can use a disk imaging program to do a complete background backup of 100G in less than an hour with just a few clicks. You can then store that disk away from your computer so it's not destroyed with the system in case of a disaster. Since disk imaging programs use compression, your old disk doesn't have to have the same capacity as your new one.

Submitted by: Thomas W. of Bourne, Massachusetts



There are adapters that convert standard IDE drives to serial. I have not used them but found on example here

I'm sure there are other places to get these. You would have to make sure there was room in the drive bay for the adapter to stick out the back.

Submitted by: Bruce B.



I've done this myself so I know it will work. You can convert your parallel drive to an external type by purchasing a enclosure case. This kit provides you with a case, power supply, USB connector and of course directions on how to set up the drive. Once you've assembled this unit with your old hard drive and have plugged it into any available USB port or IEEE 1394 port (depending on the type enclosure you decide to purchase), you'll see the the hard drive listed under my computer utilizing the next available letter on your computer/ In my case the NOW external drive became Drive 'L' I labeled my drive BACKUP since I used it to backup my 'C' Drive.

For a supplier I like Scroll down on the left side and click on USB Hard Drives. On the next menu scroll down and click on hard drive enclosures. Now you have to do a little research. There is a unit there that costs about $39.00 but you can receive about a $12.00 discount if you apply for and receive their Visa card. They do have a cheaper conversion kit ($20.00) but it is temporarily out of stock. This is the kit I purchased an used and it works fine since it becomes hot swappable between any computer with USB or Fire-wire ports.

Submitted by: Rick K.



All he needs to do is get a dual disk ATA cable. The jumpers for each drive will need to be set correctly. You can also set the BIOS to perform a cable select, but I always prefer setting the jumpers. Some disks just don't seem to cable select properly. The jumper settings are typically printed on the drive itself, so make sure they are correct before attempting to install the disks. If you get a drive with no jumper settings you can usually find a generic map on Google or the website of the drive manufacturer. When in doubt, looking from the top of the drive, master is far right, while slave is far left or center. You would set the disk with the Windows partition to be the "master", while the second, presumably data, disk would be the "slave". That's it. Put the ATA cable on each drive, plug in the power, and boot up. You should now have another drive listed under "My Computer." Typically this will push your CD/DVD drive back one letter and you'll wind up with C: and D:. You can then use the "Computer Management" utility under Admin Tools in the Control Panel if you want to partition your new drive.

Submitted by: Robert B.



You may not need another controller for your PATA drive. It is very likely that you can use the IDE cable that is already in your machine to ?daisy chain? your old drive into the same controller that your current drive uses. Most IDE cable have 2 plugs in series for just this purpose. It will be important for you to check the jumper settings on your old drive as the jumper is probably set for the old drive to be the primary or only drive on the controller. You will probably have to change the jumper setting on the old drive to configure it as a slave on the same channel. That is probably the only change you need to make.

If for some reason the above suggestion doesn?t work, you could buy an additional controller card for your PCI bus that would allow you to connect the old drive.

The third possibility would be for you to use an external enclosure for the drive. These external enclosures come in a variety of flavors which allow you to hook up your old drive using USB or Firewire connections.

Submitted by: TC



For under $30 at your local computer store, you can either purchase an Ultra ATA IDE 133 PCI card or buy an external USB 2.0 3.5" HD enclosure. I have used both options with much success. You do however have to consider the following:

If you plan to go the Internal route (IDE card), you need to make sure that your computer has a bay for an extra drive. Some PCs don't have extra bays because of their small footprint. You also need to verify that you have an available PCI slot.

If you plan to go the External route (USB), you will need an additional receptacle since it comes with an external AC adapter (no problem if you have a power strip.) Since it's a new PC, we can safely assume that the USB ports are 2.0. If they were 1.1, you would have to go the Internal route.

Now that we've reviewed both options, what you need to decide is what you will be using the extra drive for. Is it to back up files or use it as a scratch drive (i.e.; files downloads)? If that is the case, then you can go with either option, but the External option makes your storage portable.

This gives you the flexibility of not only being able to use the drive on your new PC, but you can use to easily transfer files with other computers.

If you're looking to install applications (i.e.; Games), then you will want to go with the Internal option, since some applications may load drivers when you startup your PC. If you forget to turn on the External drive, you might get errors and things may not work correctly until you reboot.

Hope the information is helpful.

Submitted by: Juan S. of Bear, Delaware



It's odd that your motherboard did not come with any parallel ata ports, the majority of consumer motherboards now contain both, but anyway, there are several PCI peripherals available to let you add a parallel ATA device to your pc. Most are fairly inexpensive and easy to install. You'll commonly see them called HDD controllers, what you are looking for is a PCI IDE HDD controller.

One thing you have to consider is if you want the card to have RAID or not. In your case it probably is not needed.

The PCI cards can range anywhere from $10USD to $250USD depending where you are looking. Even with all this information you'll want to do a little of your own research. These cards have an IDE controller chip on them, some are known to work well, some are not. You'll want to go through some of the pci card manufacturers and see if you can find some user reviews on them, but don't base your decision on those by themselves.

Submitted by: Satan H.



Having just bought a new Dell I was in exactly the same position. I tried a couple of adapters to allow me to install my old EIDE drive into my new SATA computer. I ran into compatibility problems between the interface card and the Dell. It flat did not work.

My solution: I bought an enclosure and converted my 160 GB EIDE drive into an external USB drive. Since then I have used this external drive to completely back up people?s hard drives and have rescued Gigs of data. It has become a tool!

I have also purchased a 250 GB SATA drive and installed it in my box. I found it on sale for less than $100.

I don?t know if I can recommend a site, but, has the enclosures and interface cards.

Submitted by: Rod H.
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very odd
by maximus7001 / May 11, 2006 7:49 PM PDT

I find it hard to believe that there is no open ide connection. Look for it. Should be beside where the optical drive ide cable plugs into the mobo.

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Not Odd
by pmchefalo / May 11, 2006 9:10 PM PDT
In reply to: very odd
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Can't have only one...
by zepper / May 12, 2006 4:27 AM PDT
In reply to: very odd

Yup, lots of new mobos (especially microATX as used in many of the commercial boxes like Dell, HP, etc.) have only one IDE connector - partly to save space on the PCB and partly to save a few cents per box out the door.


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Old hard drive
by bee4god / May 12, 2006 1:28 AM PDT

XP Home does not support 2 harddrives. XP Pro does.

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not so
by jdeere_man / May 12, 2006 2:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Old hard drive

Old hard drive
XP Home does not support 2 harddrives. XP Pro does.

Posted by: mas42 (see profile) - 05/12/2006 8:28 AM


That is totally untrue. Windows XP Home supports multiple hard drives.

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Very Not So
by geoyork / May 12, 2006 2:54 AM PDT
In reply to: not so

I have XP Home and 4 hard drives.

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2 hard drives
by bee4god / November 1, 2006 2:27 AM PST
In reply to: not so

Question: I will have XP delivered and intend to install it and activate it and then I'll get two secondary hard drives delivered and intend to install them, will adding them affect the XP activation?

Answer: Not unless you plan to install the same copy of XP on one or both of them. If they are only going to be used for storage, you can add as many as your computer can handle, move them to another computer, etc. WPA only keeps track of the Master hard dive where XP is installed.

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Not so! Dittos
by zepper / May 12, 2006 4:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Old hard drive

Wish folks would check their facts before posting - makes 'em look like a maroon [sic].


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by Flirkann / May 12, 2006 3:01 PM PDT
In reply to: Old hard drive

Always one isn't there.
Many of the "Branded" PCs I see at LANs have XP Home and at least 2 hard drives

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Adding my old drive 2 new PC
by raoulleon / May 13, 2006 7:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Old hard drive

I have a new AMD 64 PC. I chose a new Western Dig. Raptor HD for it. I haven't been able to use it yet because I have too many programs (Apps.) on my old PC to transfer. After burning 20 CD's I ran out of time & patience. Can I just drop in my old 80 gig Maxtor with all my stuff on it or will the OS be a problem? (They are both WinXP Pro) I have 2 HD's on this old PC right now. The drive I'm speaking of is 7200 RPM (not 10,000 like the Raptor), DMA/ATA-133 (Ultra), and internal IDE.
Any advice would be appreciated!

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Old Drive in New PC
by pmchefalo / May 14, 2006 6:58 AM PDT


One can mount the old hard drive in the new PC to access its data. Most Windows programs will have problems running from the old drive because the settings for the programs need to be in the boot drive's "database" (Registry) to run properly. Some will reinstall themselves, some won't. The operating system on the old drive won't interfere with booting from the new drive. And you won't be able to boot from the old drive on a new different motherboard, most likely. I'd bring it to a shop for help if you are unfamiliar with hardware.

As an aside, someone with your level of experience might have been oversold on this hardware upgrade and the Windows XP Pro operating system. There are just a few reasons to run XP Pro (much less a Raptor) at home, and it would surprise me if you needed it, when I read your comments. BEWARE the shop or person who sells to your wallet instead of your needs. XP Pro is not necessarily better for everyone just because it is more expensive.


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Thanks. I'm no newbie at this tho
by raoulleon / May 14, 2006 10:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Old Drive in New PC

I installed the 80 gig to my old (current) PC with no problems, when my previous 30 gig Maxtor was getting near the max (no pun intended). I use the 30 for program back-up, but you are right, not all of them will work with the 30 as my slave drive.

I imagine it may be the same if I slide the 80 gig into my new PC.

I use high-end components because I use so many graphics intensive software. I need fast & reliable.
I love XP pro, and from what I have read about XP Home, I am glad I opted for it from day one. Happy

I was going to try a USB 2 USB interface to transfer data. I read about it in a previous discussion. But it sounded too slow and not meant to transfer the kind of humongous apps I have.

I have upgraded my old PC many times, by myself, btw. I do get forgetful after a year or so though. Wink

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XP Pro
by 70441.2227 / May 14, 2006 11:49 AM PDT

Exactly what in XP Pro did you need that isn't in XP Home?


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XP Pro
by jdeere_man / May 14, 2006 1:25 PM PDT
In reply to: XP Pro

Really the only reason one would actually need XP pro is if they were in a domain environment. We use XP pro at the school I do tech for and it works great. But I've done a lot of home networking with XP home for people. We stick to Pro at school becasue we have a Windows 2003 server that runs the domain. Otherwise Home edition would be sufficient for most users. Pro also supports NTFS file encryption, but if you're serious about security you'd probably opt for something else anyway. As far as running apps goes they'll both do exactly the same thing.

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ASP developement
by pmchefalo / May 14, 2006 9:24 PM PDT
In reply to: XP Pro

The other compelling reason to run XP Pro is ASP development; XP Home won't run IIS, and ASP only runs on IIS.

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by 70441.2227 / May 17, 2006 2:51 PM PDT
In reply to: ASP developement

Thanks for the information. I now know that I won't need XP Pro.


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by 70441.2227 / May 15, 2006 4:01 AM PDT
In reply to: XP Pro

Thanks, I think I'll go with Home.

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That isn't the topic, but...
by raoulleon / May 14, 2006 1:55 PM PDT
In reply to: XP Pro

I like the extra security features like file encryption and user-access control, there are features that help me with my web sites and Remote Desktop. Happy

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XP Pro
by 70441.2227 / May 15, 2006 4:06 AM PDT

Thanks, I really don't need those options. I think I'll just go with Home.

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by jdeere_man / May 14, 2006 1:29 PM PDT

It should work fine as a second hard drive. As far as it having an OS installed on it too, it won't matter as long as your bios is set to boot from the right drive. Once you drop the old drive in the new machine you could just delete the windows folder all together to gain space on the old drive. But be aware that just dropping an old drive in a new computer doesn't mean the apps on the old drive will work. It doesn't work that way for most programs.

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Any better way to move apps?
by raoulleon / May 14, 2006 2:00 PM PDT
In reply to: re:

Thanks, that's what I thought. In your opinion, is there any better way to move large apps in a time-efficient manner to my new PC? Unfortunately, most were just downloads with no disc. One app I've purchased probably 1,000 downloaded files for.

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Way to move files.
by zepper / May 15, 2006 8:12 AM PDT

Partition Magic (now sold & "maintained" by Symantec) used to come with a little utility called "Magic Mover" that could successfully move many "clean" apps to other drives letters w/o a reinstall. "Clean" means an app that doesn't spew files all over the place or insert random lines in the Registry.

I'm fairly sure that SystemSuite 6 from also has an app mover. I'll check my copy later and reply back with more specifics. Right now SS6 is very inexpensive for all that you get (comes with Trend AV, recently chosen best buy by Conumer Reports - if that means anything to you, and Anti Spyware; Sygate Firewall, etc. too) at Amazon - about $15. after rebate. SS6 is my favorite utility suite for Windwoes.
Beware, SS6 comes with a free limited version of PowerDesk - once you use it a few times, you'll want the full version. So they'll be able to nick you for another $20. There goes the ol' rebate. Wink


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Off the subject...but we learn this way.
by 70441.2227 / May 15, 2006 5:18 PM PDT
In reply to: Way to move files.

Does Partition Magic merge partitions of the same physical drive? My new computer came with two partitions on the C:\ drive. I would like to merge them into one partition.
What does Power Desk do?

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Partition Magic Use / Second Partition
by pmchefalo / May 15, 2006 10:30 PM PDT

Yep, Partition Magic can merge two partitions on the same drive, with some limitations. In some versions the partitions needed to be physical ''neighbors''; not sure whether they relaxed that now.

To be correct, you don't have two partitions on the C:\ drive: you have a C:\ partition and another on the same physical drive.

CAUTION: that second partition MIGHT contain system restore data that can be accessed by a program in ROM or from a CD, and then copied to the boot partition in case of a massive failure of the operating system. (In some cases to you can actually do a repair installation that preserves your installed programs.)

About the only time I'd recommend merging a recovery partition with the main one (after formatting the non-boot recovery partition!) is when you've upgraded your operating system and wouldn't want to restore it anyway. A possible alternative reason: you have run out of room on the C:\ partition, and have a CD with the OS for use in case of an emergency to restore the system, so you could merge them to avoid buying another drive.

I'm not familiar with PowerDesk, unless it's that old ''replacement Explorer'' for Windows that gives a shell like I used for DOS 5.0.

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Merge partitions
by 70441.2227 / May 16, 2006 2:09 AM PDT

Thanks for the information. My son built the computer for me. For some reason, he created two partitions. There is nothing on the second partion except for a config.sys file. I would like to merge the partions into one.


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I'd leave the second partition and move my swap file to it..
by cglrcng / May 17, 2006 10:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Merge partitions

or use it for data & applications storage.

What he did was correct. XP doesn't really play nice w/ large HD's. Multiple partitions are the way to go.

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Swap Drive on same volume?
by pmchefalo / May 17, 2006 11:40 AM PDT

Putting the swap drive on the same volume will give no real advantage even if it is in a different partition. Uses the same controller, drive head, etc. Putting the swap file on a second volume will improve performance.

AFAIK, Windows XP uses large hard disks just fine in one partition. Most people forget that they have two partitions and everything ends up on the C:\ partition anyway. Further, most people don't know how to clean up the Temp folder in their Local Settings folder, or they never delete the System Restore files that takes up by default 12% of their disk, so they run out of disk space on the C:\ drive.

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agreed, sway on same physical disk is no advantage
by jdeere_man / May 17, 2006 12:56 PM PDT

I would agree that putting the swap on a different partition that is on the same physical drive as the rest of your data and os would give no advantage. As stated it uses the same read/write head as everything else so you don't gain speed. If you're looking for speed you could put swap file on different physical drive. What you should do is add ram really or go to raid configuration with striping (probably Raid 5) if your wanting faster drive read/write/access times.

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