HOW TO: Connect SATA hard drives to the motherboard of a computer
In some data loss situations, like in cases of an OS crash or accidental deletion of files from the system partition, it is highly recommended to take the hard drive out of the affected computer and plug it into another PC for recovery. As modern system units use the SATA interface for the connection of hard disks, at least basic technical skills will suffice to carry out the procedure. Follow this guide to connect your SATA drives directly to the internal slots on the motherboard of the computer.
Warning: Any interference with equipment under warranty may lead to its breach. If your device is still under warranty, use a special USB to SATA adapter which reduces the speed of connection but will keep the warranty in effect.
Power the computer off
Shut down the system and turn off a switcher on the back panel of the system unit. If such a switcher is missing on the case, just unplug the tower.
The electronics of the drive and other hardware components are extremely sensitive to static electricity and can be damaged by an electrostatic shock. To discharge it while working with the computer’s internals, wear a special anti-static wrist strap or just touch the metal part of the tower if it is plugged into a grounded socket.
Disassemble the box
Once the computer is turned off, you can open the system unit by removing the screws on the back panel which hold the side panel. Modern cases usually have thumbscrews while older ones may require using a screwdriver.
Connect the disks
Having obtained access to the interior of the case, you can attach each of the SATA hard drives with the help of a power cable, which connects it to the computer’s power supply, and a SATA data cable, which connects the disk to the motherboard. First, connect the SATA data cable to a SATA port on the motherboard (as a rule such ports are labeled and grouped together). Secondly, find a free power cable and connect it to the larger connection port of the HDD. Thirdly, insert the SATA data cable into the smaller SATA port on the hard drive.
Note: The absence of SATA ports on the motherboard means that it does not support the SATA interface. In this case, you may use an IDE to SATA adapter.
Note: If the number of SATA ports is lower than you need, use another method of connection with the help of a USB to SATA adapter.
Note: If you lack enough power cables, you may use a splitter.
Check Disk Management
Once the drives are connected, you can power the computer back on and boot the system. To check whether the disks are attached correctly, you can run the Disk Management utility and look for them in the list of devices. If the disks are not available there, shut down the computer, unplug it and check the contacts.
The following video demonstrates the process of connection step by step:
To learn more about interface type identification as well as other possible methods of connection, please, refer to HOW TO: Identify the interface type of a hard drive and connect it to a PC for data recovery.
Last update: June 21, 2019