IDE drive

How to use IDE drives in a PC or laptop with only SATA connectors. (See also: Recover deleted files for free: recover lost data.)

QUESTION I have a new PC that has only SATA connectors for the drives. Is it possible to use my old IDE drives on this PC. Is there a cable or connecting device to make this conversion possible?

HELPROOM ANSWER Buying new SATA drives will probably cost you less than you think, and will also be noticeably faster than an old IDE drive, while offering much larger capacities.
If you're talking about an optical drive, such as a DVD writer, a new internal SATA example will cost in the region of £10 to £15. With a new 1TB hard drive costing around £45, it's well worth considering one of these as a replacement for an IDE drive.

If you simply want to copy files over from your old drive, you can do so with an external USB caddy or drive enclosure. You can then keep this as an external drive for backups.

If you really must install the IDE drive inside your PC, you'll have to buy a plug-in IDE adaptor card. These are available around the £10 to £15 mark and will plug into a space PCI socket inside your PC. We'd advise against doing this, though, as adding extra drive controllers to your PC adds another layer of complexity to your system and is another thing which can go wrong.

If you want to keep this drive separate from another drive in your PC, we recommend buying a new SATA drive of the same or larger capacity and cloning your IDE drive on to your new drive and using your external caddy or enclosure with a product such as Macrium Reflect. You can then dispose of the IDE drive or keep it as a backup.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor and Windows 8 Advisor for more Windows advice. Or email our Helproom Editor for bespoke advice.