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Q: Transfering files to new laptop hard drive ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Transfering files to new laptop hard drive
Category: Computers
Asked by: noggywoggy-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 09 Dec 2002 10:04 PST
Expires: 08 Jan 2003 10:04 PST
Question ID: 121880
I've recently bought a new larger capacity laptop hard drive to
replace my existing one. I need to get the data from my old drive to
my new one with the minimum of hassle. I don't currently have access
to another desktop machine and don't fancy using that route to
transfer the data, no matter how easy it may be. I was thinking about
perhaps getting a dual head ide cable for the laptop and plugging both
drives in at the same time - would this actually work (windows 2000,
ntfs file system)? If it would, my next problem is actually obtaining
a dual head ide cable of that sort as I can't seem to find them
anywhere. I was thinking that a workaround might be a more common ide
cable as found in desktop machines, and using laptop to desktop hard
drive pin convertors to plug the two drives in, and then obviously
trying to find a female to female desktop size to laptop size
convertor to plug the ide cable into the socket inside my laptop.
Would this actually work or am I being silly?

Request for Question Clarification by tar_heel_v-ga on 09 Dec 2002 12:45 PST
How much data, in terms of GB, are we looking at?


Request for Question Clarification by tar_heel_v-ga on 09 Dec 2002 12:49 PST
I may have a solution for you, but I want to clarify a couple of things first:

-Do you have access to a USB port on your laptop?
-Is the new drive a standar 9.5mm height drive or smaller?
-Do you have access to a PCMCIA slot on your laptop?


Clarification of Question by noggywoggy-ga on 09 Dec 2002 16:41 PST
The old drive is 6.4Gb, tne new one 20Gb. Only about 2Gb max. of the
old data will need to be transferred. I do have a usb port and one of
those external hard disk drive cases, but for some reason it's
incompatible with my operating system so I don't want to take that
route. An answer to the suggestion of whether my method would actually
work or not is what I'm looking for (other suggestions are of course

Clarification of Question by noggywoggy-ga on 09 Dec 2002 16:42 PST
And sorry... yes the drive is 9.5mm, and I do have a PCMCIA slot.


Request for Question Clarification by tar_heel_v-ga on 09 Dec 2002 16:47 PST
What operating system are you using?


Clarification of Question by noggywoggy-ga on 09 Dec 2002 16:56 PST
Windows 2000, as stated in the question.


Request for Question Clarification by tar_heel_v-ga on 09 Dec 2002 17:52 PST
Sorry I missed your operating system. I have found stand alone
hardware solutions that will work with Win2K. One uses the USB port,
similar to the one you state that does not work and the other that is
similar but uses a PCMCIA connection and external case for the new
drive.  Would either of these suffice or are you more interested in
the cabling method you are looking for?


Clarification of Question by noggywoggy-ga on 09 Dec 2002 18:09 PST
I'd prefer an answer to the cabling solution, as it doesn't require
the hassle of sorting out software issues with drivers etc.. (which
was my main problem with the usb drive).

Request for Question Clarification by duncan2-ga on 09 Dec 2002 21:03 PST
It's possible that a cable solution may be feasible.  But it might
depend in part on the IDE chipset in the laptop and the BIOS support
for multiple drives.  Moreover, dual-headed IDE laptop cables may be
difficult to locate and may not match all laptops.  Proprietary
connectors on some hardware may be involved. (IBM Thinkpads come to
mind)  It might be helpful if you could post the make and model of
your laptop…


Clarification of Question by noggywoggy-ga on 10 Dec 2002 08:15 PST
I'm running a Toshiba Portege 7020ct. I was assuming the cabling
solution could run along the lines of the way scsi works. From what I
gather here, scsi has different properties to ide.
Subject: Re: Transfering files to new laptop hard drive
Answered By: duncan2-ga on 11 Dec 2002 09:51 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi Noggywoggy,

The limitations you’ve put on the solution to this question make this
an interesting challenge.  After researching your question and
examining the Toshiba 7020ct manual, I believe I have a solution for
you that meets your requirements.

First of all, your last question clarification mentions IDE and SCSI. 
Please note that these drive connection technologies are fundamentally
different and neither the drives nor the cables can be mixed.  (SCSI,
which comes in many varieties, may have a dozen or more drives chained
together; IDE has a maximum of 2 drives per cable.)

Second, as you already noted, IDE cables for laptop drives are
different than those for desktop machines.  Standard IDE drives use
40-pin connectors, and use a separate molex connector and cable for
power.  Laptop IDE devices generally use 44-pin cables that include
the power.  The 44-pin interface is smaller than the 40+power cable,
making it an attractive choice for laptops, where space is at a
premium.  There are converters/adapters that are sold to go between
the two standards.

Now, as to your question about dual-headed laptop cables; they do
exist.  You can purchase one from  Specifically, see
this page which has a 12 inch 44-pin cable for 2 drives:
Cost: about $10.

Just because the cables fit, however, does not guarantee that this
method will work.  In a desktop computer, there are usually two IDE
controllers (a Primary and a Secondary) and each controller can have
two drives attached (Master, Slave).  This allows desktop computer to
have 4 IDE devices (Zip drives, hard disks, DVD, CD, CD-RW, etc.). 
Laptops on the other hand, are not generally designed for more than 2
devices – a hard drive and a CD-ROM device.  (For the purpose of this
discussion, I’m ignoring the floppy controller).

It’s entirely likely that the laptop only has one IDE controller and
can support only 2 IDE devices.  In the case of the Toshiba 7020CT,
the CD-ROM is external, through an optional docking station.  This
brings up the possibility that the second drive of the IDE chain is
hard-wired to the docking station connector and thus may not be
possible to disconnect.

So, what are your options?
1)	Try the cable, plug both drives in and unplug the CD-ROM, if you
have it.  Check the BIOS and see if both drives are recognized.  If
so, you’re in luck, copy the files, and you’re done.
2)	Seek an alternative method of hooking up the drives.

Recall that for two IDE drives on the same chain, one needs to be
configured as master, the other as slave.  (For details, check the
instructions that came with the new drive, or read the labels printed
on the top of the drives.)

If an alternative is required, I have another suggestion: if you own
the external CD-ROM docking station, you may be able to remove the CD
drive from it and substitute a laptop hard drive.   (I note in passing
that Toshiba docking stations appear frequently on ebay, so if you
don’t own one, it’s conceivable that you could pick up one fairly
inexpensively.)  It’s likely that you’ll need a 44-pin to 40-pin
converter for this, such as the following at
Cable Cost: about $7.

Barring the above, you may not be able to directly connect both drives
across the IDE interface.  So that leaves PCMCIA interfaces, USB, or
additional computers / network copying.  None of these fall into the
easy cabling solution you were seeking.

There are a few other things you should be aware of.  First, you’ll
want to make sure you have the most recent flash BIOS version
installed for your Portege.  Typically installing larger drives into
older machines is fraught with problems from IDE BIOS limitations. 
But from the details that one user wrote about upgrading and
installing FreeBSD on the 7020CT, a 20GB drive should be recognized
properly in your laptop.  (See

The article above mentions BIOS version 8.10; I verified that version
is the most recent available for download on Toshiba’s web pages. 
(You can find the downloads by going to, entering the
support section, selecting computer support, and specifying your
model.)  Read the instructions for flashing the BIOS carefully; done
incorrectly you can permanently damage your computer.

Finally, the issue of actually copying the data arises.  Most likely,
you’re going to want/need software which can do a bit-for-bit copy of
the NTFS partition from drive to drive.  This is to preserve the file
permissions and ownership settings.  Popular software for this exists,
such as Powerquest’s Drive Copy (
).  It’s possible that your new drive came with a floppy disk
containing simple partition copying software as well, such as
Seagate’s DiscWizard software (see ).  Another
alternative may be Norton/Symantec Ghost ( )

I hope this fully answers your question.  If any of the above is
unclear, please don’t hesitate to post a request for clarification.


Search Strategy
I initially found references to CablesOnline from Usenet postings in
google groups.

But a winning google search proved to be “2 44-pin ide laptop”, the
first two hits of which were relevant CablesOnline pages.

A search for “portege 7020ct 20GB IDE” revealed the FreeBSD page
indicating a user had installed a 20GB drive into this model laptop. 
(5th search hit from the top)
noggywoggy-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Kind of hit and miss - "try it and see if it works"... could've done
that myself! Just wanted to see whether someone could give me a solid
answer to the question of whether it *would* work or *not*.

Nevertheless, a fair amount of info here.

Subject: Re: Transfering files to new laptop hard drive
From: sparky4ca-ga on 09 Dec 2002 21:26 PST
If you want to save yourself a lot of hassle, buy 2 10 dollar laptop
44-pin to standard 40 pin IDE adapters. Then buy a friend or neighbour
lunch or dinner in return for the use of their desktop. Connect the 2
drives (they'll need to be jumpered as master and slave, and that will
depend on the brand) to his seondary IDE (disconnecting the CDROM
drive in the process). Boot up and copy your data and/or operating
system over. BTW, you'll need to do thin on a Windows NT, 2000, or XP
computer. XP Home should be fine, also.

The idea of connecting the 2 drives to your laptop depends on the
1)The IDE controller in the laptop would need to support 2 drives.
Many notebooks on only have one IDE controller. Primary is the hard
drive, secondary is the cd drive. To disconnect the cd drive, you'd
need to gut the laptop, usually. And even that might not work.
2)Assuming the laptop does have independant IDE channels, you could,
in theory, connect 2 drives to the primary IDE. This would entail
having a laptop IDE cable with 2 drive connectors. (These cables
provide power and data.) I've never seen one of those. If you had a
regular IDE cable, with 2 44-40 adapters, you wouldn't really have
anyway of connecting it to the laptop. I don't think the same adapter
would work to connect a 40 pin cable to the laptop.

Subject: Re: Transfering files to new laptop hard drive
From: slawek-ga on 10 Dec 2002 10:12 PST
Good Day,

If you are on a high speed internet connection, and are fortunate
enough to know someone who has a web server, or can set one up on
their machine, you are set to go.

Just upload the files to a remote system, format your drive,
reinstall, and download your data. If you are lucky, maybe even your
ISP will help. Tell them you want to back up your stuff for a couple
of hours, and will download it again before the end of the day.

Let me know if I should post this as an official answer. :)


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