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Q: How to mount laptop hard drive externally? ( No Answer,   6 Comments )
Subject: How to mount laptop hard drive externally?
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: mathtalk-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 14 Dec 2005 12:24 PST
Expires: 21 Jan 2006 16:47 PST
Question ID: 605848
I'm trying to restore files from a friend's laptop hard drive, on the
cheap.  I have a "clam shell" for regular IDE drives, and I've used
that to mount regular hard drives from desktop computers and pull off
(for example) email, etc.

But the laptop hard drive seems to be a different animal.  It looks
like the power supply is 5V DC, and the only connector at one end
seems to carry both the power and data/controller functions.

Is it possible to get a cabling setup or specialty cage that will
allow me to mount the laptop hard drive in my clam shell?  The hard
drive at hand is an IBM model, taken from a ThinkPad.  (The clam shell
uses a Firewire interface from my laptop.)

Thanks in advance.

Request for Question Clarification by sublime1-ga on 14 Dec 2005 13:37 PST
Hi mathtalk...

Check this out:

 YOUR DESKTOP PC. EVERYTHING NEEDED IS IN THE KIT.";jsessionid=43D0B7894B039CF4131F6540BEDFE6AA?id=2047840&zip=18102&s=1&category=1&stid=192467&categoryName=For%2BSale

Let me know...


Clarification of Question by mathtalk-ga on 14 Dec 2005 18:36 PST
Hard to say, O world honored one.  It does say "everything needed is
in the kit", but it's not specific about the cabling issue.  Indeed
one of the ways this is described is: 2.5" to 3.5" HARD DRIVE RAIL
KIT, NOTEBOOK TO PC.  About all I can clearly make out in the picture
is the rails, though there might be cables included in the package.

Rails (which screw along the sides of the drive to mount it) would be
more valuable if this project were for permanently mounting the drive.
 As it is intended to be for a one-time data recovery, I'm really
trying to understand how the laptop drive can be powered, as well as
connected to an IDE controller.

The price shown is about what I'd expect to pay just for a set of
rails, but maybe the cabling, if present, adds negligibly to the cost.
 Packaging seems so generic in the picture, I'm not sure how we'd
research this item more fully.

I'll head to a store and see if they have this sort of thing in stock.
 If the cabling "just works", then I'll credit you with an Answer.


Clarification of Question by mathtalk-ga on 16 Dec 2005 19:38 PST
Hi, sublime1-ga:

After some further research, I've decided you were on target with your
suggestion.  The product shown in the link you provided appears to be
the same as one at (see one of the Sponsored Links
above, probably), for slightly more money.  The kit includes a cable
interface to an internal power plug, so I could have used that setup
with my Firewire clam-shell.

Feel free to post an Answer.

regards, mathtalk-ga

Request for Question Clarification by sublime1-ga on 17 Dec 2005 12:00 PST
Hi mathtalk...

First, let me apologize for not responding sooner, to your
Clarification of Dec 14th, but for some reason, I've not 
been getting email notification of Clarifications lately.

Second, I'm a bit hesitant to post an answer when you 
ended up spending $40 for an alternate solution. It *is*
Christmas, after all!

Best regards...

There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: How to mount laptop hard drive externally?
From: athenawiles-ga on 14 Dec 2005 19:42 PST
I do a decent amount of data recovery off laptops, and I've always
used laptop-to-USB hard drive sleds.  not very fancy at all, but they
work.  you should be able to get a laptop-to-USB adapter, with an
appropriate power supply, for about $20... I haven't really done too
much looking around online, but I know there are casings available
meant to turn laptop hard drives into external USB hard drives, and
it's pretty easy to cannibalize these.  you can find several of this
sort at this site: I know
you said you're using firewire, so these probably won't work, but I'm
sure you can find something similar with some judicious googling.

good luck!
Subject: Re: How to mount laptop hard drive externally?
From: feldersoft-ga on 16 Dec 2005 19:28 PST
That looks like just a rail kit.  

What you need is a simple converter from the laptop interface to a
normal ide interface.

If you want, you can also get an ide to usb adapter for an external
mount.  Here's a bundle for both the laptop adapter and usb adapter:
Subject: Re: How to mount laptop hard drive externally?
From: mathtalk-ga on 16 Dec 2005 19:28 PST
Thanks, athenawiles-ga:

I dashed off to the nearest retail outlet, after a semi-promising
phone conversation with them, and didn't see your note until after I
got back (night before last).

What they had was a cute USB-based laptop drive enclosure, $40.  So, I
overpaid but got the instant gratification, and your advice was right
on target.

My laptop sports only USB 1.1 ports, so I don't have quite the
performance kick I'd get from a modern machine (hey, Xmas is coming!).
 And it did work quite well, in terms of plug-and-play simplicity (I'm
running XP pro).

The funny thing is that laptop drives, despite the 2.5" form factor,
must have shrunk a bit in the past 7+ years. The drive is 4Gb, was
built for IBM in Thailand, and is perhaps a silly millimeter too thick
to slip into the aluminum enclosure provided by Adaptec.

Ah well, the interface is the only critical component.  It draws power
from the USB port itself, so it's a convenient setup.  They did use
some "eyeglass" size Phillips head screws on the case, but other than
that Adaptec seems to have done a pretty nice job.

regards, mathtalk-ga
Subject: Re: How to mount laptop hard drive externally?
From: mathtalk-ga on 17 Dec 2005 08:37 PST
Hi, feldersoft-ga:

Talk about posts crossing in the mail! If we'd been a few milliseconds
closer, we might have crashed the site...

Anyway, I had the same doubt as you about whether for < $10, the rails
in the kit posted by sublime1-ga could possibly include the IDE
adapter cable as well.

What clinched it for me personally was the picture here:

I think we can spot, underneath the rails in the picture that
sublime1-ga's link takes us to, the red wire and white power connector
of the same or similar item as shown above.  The price at xPCGear is
around $13, so it's not inconceivable that from a surplus lot of these
kits, someone might be selling it for a little more than half the
going price.

I appreciate your time and consideration!

regards, mathtalk-ga
Subject: Re: How to mount laptop hard drive externally?
From: eestudent-ga on 12 Jan 2006 16:26 PST external HD
It will be a nice little enclosure with IDE to USB interface, powered off USB power.
Subject: Re: How to mount laptop hard drive externally?
From: mathtalk-ga on 21 Jan 2006 16:47 PST
At least my drive enclosure could now be used with one of Seagate's
new "perpendicular recording" drives that extend the capacity of the
Momentus line, as described here:

thanks to all for their advice, mt

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