How to Build an IDE USB Adapter

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The IDE cable connects to a circuit board inside the adapter that allows it to communicate with a USB port.

Integrated drive electronics (IDE) refers to interface hard disk drives used to connect internally to the motherboard. Desktop hard drives require a 40-pin cable to connect to the motherboard, whereas laptop hard drives require a 44-pin connector. Unlike IDE, the universal serial bus (USB) connects externally to the motherboard through a USB port located on the device panel. An IDE-to-USB adapter allows you to connect an IDE hard drive to a computer through a USB interface.


Step 1

Put on an antistatic wrist strap on your wrist to protect the IDE drive from electrostatic discharge (ESD). Remove the IDE hard drive from its antistatic bag.

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Step 2

Use a pair of tweezers to set the jumpers on the hard drive. Configure the hard drive as "Slave" or "Cable Select."


Step 3

Insert the 40-pin interface on the side of the adapter into the 40-pin connection on the rear of the IDE hard drive.

Step 4

Connect the 4-pin peripheral power cable to the 4-pin connection located next to the jumpers.


Step 5

Plug the power supply into a wall outlet. Plug the USB cable connected to the IDE/USB adapter into a USB slot on the computer.

Step 6

Install on the computer any software included with the IDE/USB adapter.

Things You'll Need

  • Crosshead screwdriver

  • Antistatic wrist strap

  • Tweezers


Check the manual included with your desktop IDE hard drive to determine how to properly configure the jumpers on the drive.

USB-to-IDE desktop hard drive adapters won't connect to IDE laptop hard drives; 2.5-inch laptop IDE hard drives require an adapter with a 44-pin connector.


Electrostatic discharge, a form of electricity, can permanently damage your IDE hard drive. Never handle computer hardware without first grounding yourself.