IDE/SATA to USB cable for temporary disk access

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After last week’s near-catastophe when one of my external hard disks failed, I found that the disk itself was still serviceable and it was just the enclosure that had inexplicably stopped working. So, I put the disk into an identical enclosure that had been sitting on the shelf since my previous data storage nightmare, only to find that enclosure had also failed (whilst not even being used).

IDE/SATA to USB cableAlthough I have recovered the data to another drive, my new MacBook has yet to arrive and so I wanted to hook the disk back up to the original machine and sync my iPhone with iTunes (I was running out of podcasts to listen to in the car), so Maplintonight I bought a IDE/SATA to USB 2.0 cable from Maplin, allowing me to connect 2.5″ or 3.5″ IDE (PATA) or SATA disks to the USB port on any computer without a caddy.

It doesn’t look pretty and I wouldn’t recommend using it for too long as the drive gets very hot but it will certainly suffice as a temporary measure and the ability to support either PATA or SATA drives means that the cable should continue to be useful for a while yet.

2 thoughts on “IDE/SATA to USB cable for temporary disk access

  1. I have also had problems with cheap drive enclosures failing – the 35 quid chepo Maplin NAS enclosures being a very good example (not to mention getting very hot). I think the firmware in these devices is literally as bare-bones as possible – the manfacturers don’t care if bits of data start disappearing down the back of the sofa.

    In future I’m avoiding anything that isn’t big name branded – the WD MyBook looks pretty robust and isn’t going to die in the same way. In any case I’d strongly suggest not putting live data on one of these drives – we’ve had customer’s who have done this and managed to lose lots of very important information.

  2. That’s why I was a bit nervous about buying a new enclosure (although I have a cheap Akasa one that bounces about in the back of the car on its frequent journeys to/from work and seems to do OK). The thing is, the one that failed on me (one of three that have now failed) was big-name branded – it was a Toshiba unit. Sadly it turned out to be an entry level Western Digital disk and a cheap Chinese enclosure with a Toshiba badge on the front.

    At least the cable will let me hook drives up on a temporary basis to transfer off the data to a new machine. I think I’ll be upgrading my MacBook and Mac Mini to use larger internal disks too, but I do get very nervous about the density of modern disks and wonder if putting 200GB+ 2.5″ disks (or 750GB+ 3.5″ disks – although obviously not in the machines I mentioned above) into daily use is really a good idea.

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