How To Connect Hard Drive To USB Port

Simple SATA -> USB Adapter

Sometimes you might need to temporarily hook up an internal hard drive to another computer. You might want to scan/clean an infected drive, for example, or use it as a down and dirty backup solution (mainly what I use them for), or wipe it for re-sale.

Whatever your reasons may be, to do so, you will need a Hard Drive to USB adapter.

It has a plug-in on one end that is compatible with most SATA hard drives and two USB adapters on the other end to plug into your computer. Once connected, the attached hard drive will show up on your computer, just like any other internally connected drive.

SATA to USB adapter

This cable only works with laptop SATA drives and not with desktop ones. Desktop drives need an external power source. That is where the following adapter comes in handy.

Powered SATA -> USB Adapter

Powered SATA to USB Adapter

This one can also handle SATA drives without the power adapter being plugged in.

What inspired me to write this is an old hard drive I came across. It had a weird pin setup that wasn’t compatible with any of the adapters I have. I’ve been searching online for a compatible one for awhile now. I decided to post the picture on some computer forums to see if anyone could suggest an adapter.

XP IDE Drive

They suggested there was an adapter already attached and all I had to do was remove it. This thought had crossed my mind before, but when I tried to pull it off it seemed pretty solid and I didn’t want to break it. So I decided to give it another shot.

If I did break it, it was an old 60GB drive salvaged from an old XP laptop that I didn’t seem to have any need for – so no real loss.

So, after fiddling around a bit, I managed to get this thing off and, sure enough, underneath was a standard IDE connection that fit my powered adapter. I’ve now gained 60GB more backup storage space.

Where can you find one?

These adapters can be found on most, if not all, of the major computer parts and accessories sites on the internet. In no particular order, that includes the likes of TigerDirect and NewEgg. Of course, there is always the old standby, eBay.

As of this writing, the current prices seem to run around $20 (US).

8 thoughts on “How To Connect Hard Drive To USB Port”

    1. I do have a CloneDrive All In 1 HDD Docking caddy. I should of mentioned it here to. My mistake. I got mine on ebay where I get most of my stuff.

  1. Hi Terry,
    Is there any speed advantage to that of using just a simple USB drive?

    Would say a normal one TB USB drive be much slower than your setup here?

    Or would both drives be limited by the USB speed?

    What is the main advantage of using a SATA drive?

    1. I don’t know if there are any advantages but it’s convenient for what I have to work with. I usually use these for one of two reasons either to salvage files from non booting computers (assuming the hard drive didn’t crash) and backing up my own system. SATA drives are usually faster than IDE and the standard in the industry right now. SSD drives are faster still. My guess is that the USB connection will impact performance wither it be USB 1, 2 or 3.

  2. Henry Carreira

    Sabrent offers a SATA to USB cable which supplies power and data transfer to my SSD.

  3. Thanks for valuable information on USB adapter. There are several options available on internet, but I think we should check reviews on internet and choose one that is available in our budget.

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