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Using laptop HD on desktop, no power felt.

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by XYLOPHONE, Jul 16, 2009.




    I'm trying to connect a laptop IDE hard drive onto a PC and
    read it.

    I'm using an IDE laptop to desktop drive adaptor. I connect this
    adaptor into the laptop drive's pins, and then the PCs power connector
    and IDE cable to it.
    I turn on the PC, but hear no power in the drive. Motor doesn't spin.
    I hear nothing.
    I tried with many laptop drives, and I can't get the motor spinning on
    any one of them.
    I tried the connector both ways, so if it's upside down, it would have
    worked the other way.

    Any idea to read that drive?

    The reason why doing this is I've got a laptor with password on
    Windows, and password on BIOS. So I want to format the drive with the
    PC, then put it back in the laptop, and in some way, clear BIOS
    password as well.

    Thanks for any help.
    XYLOPHONE, Jul 16, 2009
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    Rod Speed Guest

    XYLOPHONE wrote
    That likey indicates that the drives arent getting power.
    You do realise that the laptop drive gets its power on the pins on the
    end of that connector dont you ? The 2.5/3.5" adapter shoud have a
    power connector on pins at the end of the connector and you need to
    connect that to the PC molex power connector, the nylon 4 pin connector.

    If you had that initially, you may have killed the drive by connecting it backwards.
    Its rather more complicated than that if the ATA password has been set on the drive.
    Rod Speed, Jul 16, 2009
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    Anssi Saari Guest

    Laptop drives can be very quiet so you might not hear them spin up.
    But there is a slight vibration you can usually feel.
    If you connected the drive wrong the first time, the adaptor may
    be broken now. It's been a while, but this happened to me once, one of
    the leads on the adapter blew, but a little solder fixed it... And
    after that I at least knew which way was not the right way.
    Anssi Saari, Jul 16, 2009

    Arno Guest

    Thoretically this should not kill the drive because most manufacturers
    disconnect the ground pins on the other side of the connector to
    allow this. But you should avoid it nonetheless.
    First, it is possible the PC has an issue, e.g permanent reset or
    the like. The drives should auto-spin (unless they were explicitely
    set not to) if you just apply power and not connect the IDE cable.

    It is possible you did kill them all with the reversed adapter, but
    I doubt it. Also notice that laptop drives can be very quiet.
    Ah, do you have perhaps a _drive_ password in the BIOS? E.g.
    ThinkPads do this as theft prevention. It basically makes the drive
    and PC worthless. You can get access to the data, but expect to pay a
    lot. In this case you can also forget aboit clearing the BIOS
    password, its in the TPM and very difficult and expensive to clear,
    possibly several hundred or thousand times the machines residual
    worth. This could also explain why the drive does not spin.

    Arno, Jul 16, 2009

    Fred Guest

    Doesnt explain why NONE of the laptop drives spin in the desktop system.

    Its MUCH more likely that none of them are getting any power for some reason.
    Fred, Jul 16, 2009

    Arno Guest

    Hmm. The password thing does not. However a damaged PC controller
    It is. That being the obvious first thing to check, I refrained
    from commenting on it.

    Arno, Jul 17, 2009

    Fred Guest

    Nope, the drives will spin up even when the PC controller is
    completely dead and clearly the boot drive is still working fine.
    Fred, Jul 17, 2009

    Trent Guest

    Not always true.
    Trent, Jul 17, 2009


    Thanks for all your replies.

    The main issue here is to be able to use the laptop. I don't care
    data on the drive.

    To give more clues, here is in more details what I notice.

    - The drive works when I put it back in the laptop.
    - Booting the laptop with a different drive, known to boot on another
    laptop, gives a blank screen with cursor in top left corner, and
    freezes, probably because wrong BIOS setting since different type/
    brand, but BIOS is not accessible.
    - Booting from floppy or CD fails. BIOS probably bypasses those boots,
    and is not accessible.
    - Booting with the original drive brings XP, but asks for password in
    all cases (safe mode, command line as well).

    So I can't even just get to a DOS prompt, because I once found on
    Internet a way to clear BIOS password using DEBUG commands, in the
    case just a floppy boot would allow to attempt. I did not consider
    opening the laptop and trying to find the CMOS battery or jumper,
    because I don't know exactly where it is and don't want to damage
    anything by accident.

    I'm also puzzled about the adaptor, why no power is felt. I know
    laptop drives are quiet, but I really felt nothing, not even a tiny
    vibration. The adaptor has a 44-hole female end that matches the 44
    pins on the laptop drive. However there are 4 more pins on the laptop
    drive that are not covered by the adaptor, which are separated from
    the rest by a space. Since IDE is normally 40 pins, I assume the power
    is already included in the 44-pins covered, and the 4 extra pins (not
    covered by adaptor) are for jumpers. (Anyways, if this had been power,
    how would I connect since it's not covered by adaptor?). The other end
    of the adaptor gives a standard 40-pin male IDE which is into the IDE
    cable to controller, and there is are extra 2 wires for power that
    lead to a separate white plastic connector that connects to the
    standard large 4-hole power connector. However only 2 of these are
    wired: the red and the black, as opposed to other desktop devices
    which uses 4 wires for power. I assume it's enough to power the laptop

    Again, thanks for any advice on the laptop issue, and the adaptor
    XYLOPHONE, Jul 17, 2009

    Arno Guest

    Well, when it is completely dead, then yes. But these things never
    die completely and often assert some funky signals like a permanent

    Arno, Jul 17, 2009

    Arno Guest

    Ok, makes things a bit easier.
    Good. That means these drives do not get killed by a turned
    That would only happen with a very old BIOS. Today they are typically
    set to auto-detect.
    Strange. Are you sure you cannot access the BIOS? Maybe some
    non-standard key combination that is not displayed on bootup?

    As you say XP boots, which means the BIOS itself is not damaged.
    Hmm. It is possible you will have to go that way in the end. But
    not yet, I think.
    These are for factory testing. Ignore them.
    Fairly standard.
    It is not about "enough" power. It is just that at some time
    it was decided to have 2.5" drives only use 5V, as that makes
    laptop design easier. You pay a small speed penalty for that.
    And it makes everything a bit more expensive.
    Can you check that the power conector is actually working?
    One way is to not plug the adapter into the ribbon cable, just
    connect the power. The laptop drive should auto-spin then.

    On the data connection, you can plug this in frongly in two
    - Adapter-to-drive
    - Adapter-to-ribbon cable.

    The second option would give power to the drive correctly but
    would ground several signal lines, which could prevent the drive
    from spinning. Doing it wrong on both sides prevents the drive
    from getting power, so also no spin.

    Incidentially, for some cables (no "nose" on the connector)
    you can in addition plug it in in the wrong orientation on the
    mainboard side with much the same effect as the second option.

    Here is the way to figure out orientation (I know, this
    is horribly faultu design...):

    1. Find pin 1 on the ribbon cable. It is on the side that
    has a marked wire
    If that fails, look for the side of the connector that
    has a nose in the middle. Pin 1 is left if the nose is up
    and the cable side is away from you. If there is no
    nose, look carefully, you can often see markings on the
    connector where it was supposed to be. The other side will
    be smooth.

    2. Find pin 1 on your HDD. On most HDDs it is marked.
    However the connector is standardized. Place the disk
    PCB down, top up with the connector towards you.
    Pin 1 is on the right side.

    3. The adapter. This is easiest, pin 1 is on the opposite end
    from the power connection.

    If all is connected right, remove the ribbon cable from the
    adapter and just connect power (allways do this with no power
    to the computer!) and see whether the disk spins on power up.

    If it does, try again with ribbon cable. If not, you power
    connector is likely broken somehow.

    There will be more steps after this because of the BIOS
    trouble, but this is first.

    Arno, Jul 17, 2009

    Fred Guest

    Trent wrote
    Fraid so when he gets that with multiple laptop drives.
    Fred, Jul 17, 2009

    Rod Speed Guest

    XYLOPHONE wrote
    Still not necessarily all that easy if the drive has an ATA password.

    Certainly the ATA password system does allow resetting of the
    password with loss of all the data, but it isnt necessarily that
    easy to rest that type of password if thats what has been set.
    Fine, then you havent killed it.
    Nope, more likely thats the result you often get when the motherboard
    chipset is different to the one that the OS was installed to use. You should
    be able to do a repair install of the OS to get that drive booting in that laptop.

    It may well be that access to the bios needs the appropriate
    stuff on the hard drive in the maintenance partition and that
    isnt there when you are using a drive from a different laptop.

    Academic tho as far as being able to use the original laptop drive again.
    Likely due to the same problem above.
    Thats normal and has to be done that way otherwise the password is pretty useless.

    You never did say exactly what the laptop is, that info may well be
    useful, particularly in deciding whether its using an ATA password
    on the drive and how to reset that with loss of data on the drive.
    You sure its for that particular laptop ? Its pretty
    unusual for a laptop bios password resetting.
    It can be pretty safe with some laptops and
    not even documented on the net with others.
    I bet thats crucial, you should be seeing the drive spin up, tho some
    laptop drives dont spin up until they get the ATA password. That doesnt
    explain why no laptop drive spins up in the desktop tho, the other laptop
    drives dont have any password set, so should spin up in the desktop.

    I'd concentrate on this because its almost certainly the problem.
    Yeah, thats the correct way to check, you should be
    able to feel it spin up even if its too quiet to hear.
    Usually correct. What is the drive model number from the sticker on the drive ?
    Also correct.
    That last is what I called the molex connector.
    Thats normal. Laptop drives only need 5V, they dont use 12V
    which is the other colored wire. The two black wires are ground.
    Should be, but all the evidence suggests that the laptop drives arent
    getting any power since none of them spin up when used on that adapter.
    Its possible the adapter power wires are miswired if you havent used it successfully before.

    Its more common for the problem to be with the pins in the white molex connector,
    which holes the pins have been put in. They should be in the holes that match with
    the red and black wires in the molex connector in the desktop system.

    The pin useage of the 44 pin connector is here

    One possibility is that the 5V line needs to be connected to two pins in the 44 pin connector,
    both pins 41 and 42. Its possible its only connected to one of them in the adapter.
    Rod Speed, Jul 17, 2009

    Fred Guest

    That possibility can be eliminated by unplugging the ribbon
    cable from the adapter but still leaving the power connected.
    Fred, Jul 17, 2009

    Fred Guest

    Thats not correct. You will get exactly that symptom with XP when the
    motherboard chipset is different enough to the one which XP was installed
    for, because the boot cant see the drive properly and so cant boot XP.

    The fix for that is a repair install of XP.
    Or the bios screen uses stuff off the laptop drive and that isnt there
    when its a drive out of a different laptop. Thats pretty common.
    Yes, but with a drive from a different laptop, it may well not have
    what it needs to show the bios config stuff for a floppy or CD boot.
    It might be a good way to reset the password and have the
    drive wipe itself if its got an ATA password set in the drive.
    Not always true. Quite a few laptop drives do have normal jumpers too.
    Fred, Jul 17, 2009

    Arno Guest

    Natually I assume the freeze is before the BIOS completes its
    That sounds like utter nonsense and I have never heard of such a
    thing. Proof or reference please.
    See above.
    Arno, Jul 17, 2009

    Arno Guest

    .... which I have suggested some postings before but the OP has
    not yet reported results on this.

    Arno, Jul 17, 2009

    Fred Guest

    Bad assumption. You dont necessarily get anything visible with a laptop bios.
    Then you need to get your ears tested, bad.
    Then you need to get out more.
    Any decent maintenance manual of a laptop that does it like that.
    See above. Its done like that so the menu stuff is much more configurable.
    Fred, Jul 18, 2009

    Fred Guest

    No you didnt until much later.
    He's only posted twice so far.
    Fred, Jul 18, 2009

    Rod Speed Guest

    We arent talking about a benchtop, we are talking about a laptop.

    There are few laptops with hard drives that dont have a maintenance/bios
    partition on the hard drive and so it makes sense to do the bios menu stuff
    on that partition where there's a lot more space for a decent UI etc.
    Laptops do that differently.
    And some dont show the user anything boot option wise if the hard drive
    is missing or unrecognised because its a drive out of a different laptop.
    Rod Speed, Jul 18, 2009
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