UFS Explorer
HomeContact
  Solutions Products Services Download Order Knowledge Base Support
Knowledge Base
 
 

HOW TO: Connect IDE/SATA drive to a recovery PC

Some particular data loss situations may require that you remove the hard disk drives from the device you've lost your data from and connect them to another PC for recovery. This procedure demands clear steps described in the article below.

DISCLAIMER: You use this information at your own risk. We provide no warranties that the methods described below will work in your situation and that you won't cause hardware damage following these instructions.


Getting started

Warning! The instructions below assume that you have basic skills to manipulate hard disk drives. Any physical damages to hard drives may cause permanent data loss. If you are not completely sure you can work with hardware, please, turn to professional data recovery service.

Do-it-yourself data recovery makes sense when:

  • All the hard drives are intact;

  • Only one drive failed – for RAID1, RAID5, RAID6 or RAID 10 (0+1) only;

  • Two drives failed - for RAID1, RAID 10 (0+1) and RAID6 only;

  • More than two drives failed - only for hybrid storage systems (RAID60, RAID10, RAID51 etc.) and if you are sure there is enough redundancy.


Drives connection includes the following steps:




Step 1: Identification of drives interface type.


This article gives information about older IDE (PATA) and newer SATA drives. To identify interface type you should disassemble the device and examine the drive:

  • Remove the device cover to get access to the hard drive. If the device uses removable hard drives in special bays: simply eject the drive from the bay;
  • Examine the hard drive holder; if the back panel is covered with enclosure remove it;
  • Examine the back panel.
See the SATA/PATA drive examples on pictures below:

IDE Disk


Fig. 1. IDE (PATA) disk back panel.


In this figure:
  1. IDE data interface. Please pay attention to the small hole in the middle top of the connector. It is used as 'key' for correct cable connection. Incorrect cable connection may corrupt the connector and cause drive damage.
  2. Power supply interface. It also has keyed form for correct power cable connection. Incorrect cable connection may corrupt the connector and cause drive damage.
  3. Jumpers. These are used for correct identification of drives order in paired IDE cable and for additional IDE settings.


IDE Cable


Fig. 2. IDE (PATA) data cable.


In this figure the blue connector is used to connect the cable to computer/device mainboard and the black one – to connect the drive. Please pay attention to 'key' in the cable that matches the 'hole' in the drive connector.
IDE cables usually have two drive connectors: 'Master' (at cable end) and 'Slave' (in the middle of the cable, closer to Master connector).



SATA Disk


Fig. 3. SATA disk back panel.


In this figure:
  1. SATA data interface. Please pay attention to 'keyed' form of the connector.
  2. SATA power supply interface. Unlike IDE, SATA power cable is wider than SATA data cable. It also has 'keyed' form.


SATA cable


Fig. 4. SATA data cable endpoint.


SATA cable consists of two equal endpoints on thin data cable. It makes no difference which end to use to connect the drive. Please pay attention to slot form that matches keyed form of the SATA drive connector.




Step 2. Choosing connection to host computer

Main connection methods include:


External adaptors.

This is the safest but the most expensive method. You'll need USB/Firewire adapters for each drive to connect them to host PC.
* If the host computer provides enough disk space you can create an image of your disk and avoid the need to use the adapter for this disk.

You can find external adapters for both SATA and IDE hard disks; some of them match both interfaces:


IDE/USB disk adaptor


Fig. 5. USB to IDE hard disk adapter with external power supply.




SATA/USB disk adaptor


Fig. 6. USB to SATA hard disk adapter with external power supply.


Please note that some USB to SATA adapters have a pair of SATA interfaces, thus to connect two SATA drives you'll need only one adapter.

Pay attention to external power supply: some adapters are powered from USB and don't match 3.5" hard drives used in NAS and desktop computers.



Mainboard connectors.

The cheapest method to connect the drives, but not 100% safe. Besides, the mainboard may not place all the drives.

Before you choose this method make sure that computer power supply provides at least 15 Watts additional power per drive.

Please also make sure you have sufficient quantity of data cables: one cable per two IDE drives and one SATA data cable per one SATA drive.

To check if the method is suitable, examine your motherboard connectors. To do this:
  • Remove cover holder screws on the back panel of your computer. Removing two screws that hold left-side cover will be enough (tower-type computer);
  • Open the left cover panel: Pull it a little back and take aside;
  • Examine mainboard expansion slots.


IDE/SATA connectors on motherboard


Fig. 7. IDE connectors.


In this figure at the right bottom you can see two IDE connectors, marked as IDE 1 and IDE 2. IDE 1 is usually colored whilst IDE 2 is usually black or white. Each IDE connector is capable of hosting two IDE hard disks.


SATA connectors on motherboard


Fig. 8. SATA connectors.


Figure 8 shows SATA connectors. They are usually black, red or orange and are numbered as SATA1, SATA2 etc. Each connector is capable of hosting one SATA drive.

Make sure that the mainboard provides enough free disk connectors. For example, for 4 disks of your NAS with IDE hard drives you'll need 2 free IDE interfaces on the mainboard: 2 drives per interface. For 4 drives with SATA interface – 4 free SATA connectors.

If the mainboard doesn't provide sufficient number of free connectors, use external adaptors or expansion cardor an expansion card. If you decide to free some mainboard connectors for extra drives, make sure you don't unplug system boot drive or RAID.


Expansion card.

This connection method is quite efficient, but not 100% safe.

Before you choose this method make sure that computer power supply is capable of providing at least 15 Watts additional power per drive plus about 10 Watts for the expansion card. Expansion cards are available for both SATA and IDE drives.




IDE expansion card


Fig. 9. PCI IDE expansion card with two IDE channels.


Please note that IDE expansion cards have one or more IDE channels. Each channel is capable of hosting two IDE drives. It's recommended to use one card for all drives.



SATA expansion card


Fig. 10. PCI SATA expansion card with four SATA channels.


SATA expansion cards have two or more SATA channels. Each channel is capable of hosting one SATA drive. It's recommended to use one card for all the drives. But as multi-port cards are more expensive you may use several cards to save money. Besides, there are no requirements as to expansion cards for hardware RAID, thus you can choose an inexpensive one.

The expansion card is installable into any free PCI (or PCI Express) slot on the mainboard.



PCI slots


Fig. 11. PCI slots on the mainboard.


Please refer to expansion card installation manual for more details. Make sure if the expansion card kit contains sufficient number of data cables: one cable per 2 IDE drives and one SATA data cable per one SATA drive. Purchase more cables if necessary.




Step 3. Powering drives.

There are different ways of powering the disks for different connection types:
  • For external USB adapters use external power supply from external adapter kit;
  • For mainboard or expansion card use computer power supply cables.

Mainboard or expansion card require that the computer power supply:
  • Can support extra 15 Watts per each extra drive;;
  • Have enough cables to power all the drives.


    IDE and SATA power


    Fig. 12. SATA (left) and IDE (right) power cables.


    If you need more power connectors for an IDE drive, you may use power splitters:


    IDE power splitter


    Fig. 13. IDE power cable splitter.


    For extra SATA power connectors it's recommended to use IDE-to-SATA power adapters/splitters:


    SATA power splitter


    Fig. 14. Figure 14. IDE-to-SATA power cable adapter/splitter.






    Step 4. Connecting drives.

    Before connecting drives, make sure these are not failed or failing drives with physical problems. Otherwise you can face the risk of permanent data damage on the failing drive or cause damage to hardware interface.

    • Connecting drives to external adapters:

      • Connect data interface of each drive to data interface of the adapter. Connector 'keys' must match together: key holes must combine with key lugs;

      • Connect external power supplies to drives; pay attention to 'keys';

      • Ensure sufficient airflow to cool the drives; it's not recommended to put the drives one on another or to use soft surface with good thermal isolation because this can cause drives overheat. If the drives get hot, it's recommended to use air coolers for forced drives cooling;

      • Power on external power supplies. The disks must start spinning. Wait until drives initialization is completed (about 5-10 seconds);

      • Connect adapter USB cables to host PC; keep correct drives order.


    • Connecting drives to mainboard/expansion card:

      • Power off the computer and unplug it from power source;

      • Open the left-side cover of the computer case (tower-type computer);

      • If you use an expansion card, install it to free PCI/PCI-Express slot. Read the card installation manual for more details;

      • Connect data cables to mainboard/card IDE/SATA expansion slots. Connect power splitters/adapters if required;

      • For IDE drives: make sure drive jumper (Fig.1) is set to 'cable select' (CS) mode. Table of valid jumper positions is available in the drive sticker;

      • Connect data cables to the drives. Connecting RAID drives you should keep correct drives order. To connect data cables you should:

        • For IDE drives: connect the first drive as 'master' of the first IDE channel, the second drive as 'slave' of the first IDE channel, the third drive as 'master' of the second IDE channel and so on (see description under Fig. 2). 'Cable Select' jumper position ensures correct drives identification depending on the position on the cable.

        • For SATA drives: connect the first drive to the first free SATA port (for example, SATA3), the second drive to the next free SATA port and so on.

        • Pay attention to connector key elements: key holes must match key lugs.

      • Connect power cables to the drives;

      • Ensure sufficient airflow to cool the drives; it's not recommended to put the drives one on another or to use soft surface with good thermal isolation because this can cause drives overheat. If the drives get hot, it's recommended to use air coolers for forced drives cooling;

      • Plug and power on the computer. Make sure that the operating system can boot. Otherwise revise BIOS configuration for boot device sequence. Read your motherboard BIOS manual for details.

    • After installation of additional drivers for external adapter, expansion card, hard disk drives etc. the system is ready for logical data recovery.





    Final notes

    If you are not sure you can recover the data by yourself, it's strongly recommended that you take your device to a specialized data recovery laboratory to avoid data loss.



    Last update: 10.03.2012