Using a SATA hard drive through IDE – Part 2

Continued from: Using a SATA hard drive through IDE – Part 1

Finally got a functioning IDE-SATA card, and it was exceedingly easy to use. Took perhaps a minute to install – plug into IDE slot on motherboard, plug SATA cable into SATA plug on card, and things work. No drivers needed, and it is able to boot.

I dislike the actual connectors – the IDE connector on the card is a bit too small – it is about 1 mm short on all sides, and therefore does not remain snugly in place like a normal IDE connector. The power connector for the card is also questionable – it uses a floppy drive power plug, but the plug is only attached by its contacts, so doesn’t appear to be that strong.

In terms of functionality, everything works perfectly – the SATA drive is recognized by the BIOS (on an IDE only motherboard), and the full (500GB) capacity is available. There does not appear to be any appreciable speed decrease (as compared to IDE), but I don’t have actual numbers to substantiate that.

Given that the intent was to use this drive as a boot drive, I would normally have had to reinstall windows. However, on the off chance that it worked, I decided to copy the windows partition to the new drive (using Acronis Disk Director). After setting the partition to active (and, whether needed or not, running fixmbr on the drive), I was able to boot into Windows without any significant difficulty. I can’t say I have ever actually tried that before, but I have read about it usually not working when hardware differs. I am guessing that because it was the same machine, no hardware IDs changed, and everything could work fairly easily. Just a quick note – don’t forget to set the new partition as ‘active’, and ensure the drive letter of the system partition on the new drive matches that of the old drive (typically, ‘C:’). Additionally, remember your jumper settings for IDE – I found that ‘Cable Select’ worked better than ‘Master’ on the machine I was working on.

Of course, after removing the old hard drive, I found a few files (on non-system partitions) that I hadn’t updated on the new drive (the partitions from the old drive were copied to the new drive two days ago). Using an external hard drive ‘kit’ I had around, it was a relatively simple matter to plug the old hard drive into the circuit board, and connect it to the computer via USB. I then used dirSyncPro (a freeware Java file synchronization program) to get the non-system partitions up to date.

Overall, a good learning experience (especially the copying the Windows partition part), and a fairly easy migration. Not sure how this adapter card will function over time (I have read that they do not have a great lifespan), but only time will tell.

By cyberx86

Just a random guy who dabbles with assorted technologies yet works in a completely unrelated field.

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