How to Know if My Hard Drive is SATA or IDE

By Jason Artman

If you are replacing or upgrading the hard drive in your computer, if is necessary to know whether your current hard drive is SATA or IDE, because the two types are not directly compatible. Notebook computers can only accept one type or the other, though some desktop computers have motherboard controllers available for both. Determine what type of hard drive you have by looking at the drive itself or, as an easier alternative, by using the Windows device manager.

Step 1

Press the Windows logo and "R" keys simultaneously to display the "Run" dialog box. Type "devmgmt.msc" in the box and press "Enter." The device manager is displayed.

Step 2

Double-click the "Disk Drives" category to expand it. Your hard drive is shown here.

Step 3

Record the model number displayed for the hard drive, e.g. "Hitachi HTS721010G9SA00."

Step 4

Open a web browser and enter the model number in a search engine.

Step 5

Examine the search results. Generally, the manufacturer's website will be displayed on the first page of results. The page will show whether the hard drive is ATA or SATA.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have removed the hard drive from your computer and the label is missing or does not display the type of drive, examine the connectors on the back of the drive. IDE connectors have metal pins visible, while SATA connectors extend out like the edges of computer add-on cards. The hard drive pictured at the top of this article has a SATA connector.