2.5To connect a laptop hard drive to a desktop computer you have to use a Laptop IDE Hard Drive Adapter. You can easily find this adapter on the Internet for $10-$15. This adapter is very handy if you want to scan a laptop hard drive for viruses and spyware using antivirus software installed on a desktop PC, transfer data from a laptop hard drive to a desktop computer or create a ghost image from one hard drive to another. I also use this adapter if a laptop hard drive has failed and I have to recover data from it.

When you connect a laptop IDE adapter, a desktop IDE cable and a laptop hard drive to each other, make sure to connect pin 1 on the hard drive, pin 1 on the desktop IDE cable to pin 1 on the adapter. On a desktop IDE cable the side painted in red goes to pin 1.

Laptop IDE Adapter Pin Layout

On a laptop hard drive there are 2 groups of pins. One group has 43 pins and the other has 4 pins. The pin 1 is located on the side closer to the group of 4 pins.

Laptop Hard Drive Pin Layout

After you’ve assembled everything together, connect the IDE cable to a desktop PC. Connect it to a free IDE connector on the system board. When you start the computer, you should see the laptop drive in BIOS and in Windows. You can treat this drive as a regular hard drive.

Laptop IDE Adapter Connected


In the next post I explain how to access data using an external USB enclosure.

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  1. 27
    gaurav gupta Says:

    my hard disk shows hardware installation error whenver i connect it using adapter.it shows the same error when used with usb caisng.

  2. 26
    jamie Says:

    hi, my old laptop broke and i got a harddrive transfer usb plug in adapter. The problem is my oldlaptop was password protected so when i try and access documents and settings for my pictures my music my documents etc it doesnt allow me access. Do you know how i can bypass this so i can get to my files? Thank you for your time

  3. 25
    Haki Taki Says:

    I have dell latitude d8000. I had a paasword from bios. but i dont now no what my password is. how can i coming in mijn laptop.

    help me pleace!


  4. 24
    computerguy Says:

    I realize this post is old but one thing I didn’t see posted is this. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE PINS ON THE LAPTOP HDD!!! They are MUCH MORE fragile than their desktop counterparts, and easily bendable as you attempt insertion or removal of the adapter from the drive. I’ve bent pins twice now, on two different drives. Luckily, they bent back quite easily; I believe you can straighten them out easiest with a 0.7 mechanical pencil tip over the pins. Just push the tip over the pin, and viola!, straightened.

  5. 23
    cj2600 Says:

    I guess it could be a bad IDE hard drive adapter, or you connected it incorrectly. Some IDE adapters have unmarked pins, so it’s easy to connect it backward (pin 1 on adapter to pin 40 on HDD). Make sure that the hard drive is connected properly.
    You can also connect the laptop harddrive via an external USB enclosure. These enclosures are cheap and you can get on for $15-20 in any local computer store. The data transfer via USB would be much slower but it’s still an option.

  6. 22
    Greg Says:

    It doesn’t work for me ..
    I have an old laptop (Thinkpad 760ED) that has no boot device (no floppy, old non-booting CD drive, an HD with corrupt NTFS). I took the HD out of the caddy and connected it to a similar adapter, plugged in the IDE, the power cable – and nothing. It isn’t spinning.
    I made sure I didn’t damage it, and it’s fine, spins very well wihle its back in the laptop.
    What can be the problem here ?

  7. 21
    cj2600 Says:

    It’s still hard to determine with link in the chain is bad. It could be a bad hard drive or a bad enclosure. If you have another laptop with a good working hard drive, you can remove it from the laptop and install into the enclosure. After that connect to a working computer. If the hard drive is still not recognized, then most likely the enclosure is defective.

  8. 20
    Julie Says:

    OK. Tried the same enclosure with 2 different laptops. New results for both – the USB is acknowledged as a mass storage device, but I can’t find a way to browse it. It doesn’t show up as a drive except on the system hardware list.

  9. 19
    cj2600 Says:

    I would try to connect the USB enclosure to another working computer and see what happens. If you experience the same problem, then it’s possible that the enclosure is not working right. I have one of those cheap enclosures. My home PC doesn’t want work with the enclosure attached, I’m getting BSOD. But my laptop works fine with the same enclosure. My second (more expensive enclosure works fine with both computers). There shouldn’t be any issues with connecting an USB enclosure to a computer, unless you have some strange problems with the hard drive itself or your enclosure is defective.

  10. 18
    Julie Says:

    Tried that. It still tries to re-boot. Also tried shutting down and having the USB attached when I power up. The desk-top boots fine, then as soon as I try to view the USB drive, it tries to reboot.

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