Sata laptop drive connectors same as desktop?

Discussion in 'Hardware Discussion & Support' started by Rayder, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. Rayder

    Rayder Mostly lurking lately....

    As the title says....are the power/serial connectors on a laptop sata drive the same as the connectors in a desktop sata drive?
  2. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

    you know... i don't know...

    i popped open a laptop the other day that said "sata" hd.... but the pin connections where exactly the same as the other drives.

    Maybe a ide-sata adapter or conversion in use....

    Next time i have to do an order.. i'll ask if i can remember.
  3. mkk

    mkk Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen any 2.5" notebook SATA drives sold with anything but a regular SATA connector so that end shouldn't be a problem. Now what some manufacturers may do with the motherboard end is perhaps a different matter. I bet Dell would love to have a special cable requirement. ;)
  4. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

    SATA 2.5" drives use the exact same connectors as their big 3.5" brothers (same data cable, same power cable). The only time you will see anything different is when a manufacturer uses an extension/adapter attached to those headers, however you should be able to take the adapter off.
    Rayder likes this.
  5. Rayder

    Rayder Mostly lurking lately....

    The reason I'm asking is because we're trying to reformat a friend's laptop where he set a password one night while he was drunk and he can't remember what he set it to. :rolleyes:

    The laptop refuses to access the DVD drive to set a format in just goes straight to that password prompt once it gets into Windows. (where the big blue screen normally says "welcome", it instead comes up with a box that says to press ctrl+alt+del and then goes to the password prompt)

    He has the official setup disk that came with it, but it seems to be ignored during bootup, even when I tried to change the boot priority to look at the DVD drive first.

    I don't have much experience with laptops (this one is a Dell Latitude D630), and it doesn't appear to work like a Desktop PC does, so I can't figure out how to get it to just go for a fresh format/setup. We figure that if we manually format the drive externally, put it back in the laptop then boot it with the setup disk in, it will have no choice but to attempt a fresh setup of windows.

    Maybe if someone could give us a workable method to just format the drive and start setup, we'd be good.
  6. swimtech

    swimtech Well-Known Member

    Yeah, as Tipstaff implies, you can just plug your laptop SATA drive into, say, a desktop computer using the regular SATA data and power cables, and use it normally.

    Now, about the password issue, hopefully you mean he set a Windows password and not a password in the BIOS of the Dell laptop it came out of. Formatting the drive won't help you if he set the password in the BIOS of the computer.

    At work, we use special machines that erase and test hard drives for recycling into existing computers, or to sell as surplus. They're native IDE machines, but have a slick SATA adaptor that works identically for 3.5" and 2.5" form factor drives. The SATA drive connectors have the exact same physical dimensions and layout on both 2.5" and 3.5" form factors.
    Rayder likes this.
  7. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

    If it's a password issue in the bios, as swimtech said, it won't help to format the drive. However, sometimes disconnecting the battery, and the AC power, and leaving the laptop alone for a day or so can will reset the systems bios. It won't always, but sometimes is better than nothing.

    If it's a password issue of Windows, then you might be in luck IF the laptop came with XP (Dell sells that laptop with your choice of either Vista or XP). Even if you make a user account for either Home or Pro the Administrator account is still active, and usually there is no password. Here's a couple ways to get to it:

    - With XP Pro, just boot into normal Windows mode, and when it gets to the user screen just click anywhere on the screen (top blue area is fine) a couple times except for the users list area. Now hold down the CTRL and ALT keys, and hit the DEL a couple times real quick, and the old Windows login box will (or should) appear. Just type in "Administrator" as the user name with no password, and you should be able to login. Using that account you can then change the password for all the other users. That is unless your friend set a password for this account that he can't remember... at which point your screwed.

    Also, you can access this account via Safe Mode too, however in Safe Mode the Administrator account will show up on the Users list, so you won't need to do the CTRL/ALT/DEL trick.

    - With XP Home the Administrator account is disabled in normal Windows mode, however it's not disabled in Safe Mode. So, boot into Safe Mode, and once the user list comes up you will see the Administrator account as a possible choice, and you should be able to just click on it, and log into the account to do what you need to.

    Now the bad news. IF the laptop has Vista... your screwed as the Administrator account is disabled by default no matter what mode (normal or safe) you use. This is why it is important to either create a "Hint" to the password so that you can remember it, create a backup user that you can log in with, activate the Administrator account, or to use the "Forgotten Password Wizard" to create a password reset disk (you can do this via the "User Accounts Control Panel", and the reset disk can be either a floppy or USB pen drive).

    Also 2 things of note:

    1) Some laptops have an override key that will bring up a boot menu to allow you to choose what device to boot up from. This is usually done by hitting the F8, F10, or F12 key during initial startup.

    2) That particular laptop comes with a recovery partition that you can access to reinstall Windows. To access that partition you need to hit a particular key during the laptops bootup, which should be DEL, F11, the number 0 key, or the letter O key. However, being a Dell laptop it's probably a good idea to call them directly to find out exactly how to access the recovery partition.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2008
  8. Dyre Straits

    Dyre Straits 9 Grandkids! #10 in the Oven!

    While I can't speak to this particular laptop and its SATA connection, I can tell you that, from experience, there are at least two different SATA connector headers. I know because I had to go out and buy a different cable to be able to connect an external SATA HDD to one of the rear connections on my other desktop PC.

    So, I'm sure it depends on whether the laptop in question supports SATA 1 and/or SATA II.

    Here's a link that might be of help:

    Addonics: Support: FAQs: Serial ATA Interface Connections: A Quick Tutorial
    Rayder likes this.
  9. Rayder

    Rayder Mostly lurking lately....

    Here's what it does when we boot it.....

    We turn it on, see the Dell splash screen. It proceeds to show the Window XP splash screen, goes to the blue screen where it normally says "welcome", then it comes up with a box that says "Log onto Windows". It tells us to hit ctrl+alt+delete, then goes to a password screen. There was no selecting any profiles.

    When we try to access boot devices with F12, the DVD drive doesn't show. We CAN get into BIOS and we tried to set the DVD drive as the first boot device, but it just flashed the DVD light and continued to the damn password screen.

    What we're doing now is yanking the hard drive and we're going to format it using a USB hard drive bay.

    I'll let you know how that goes.

    Thanks to everyone who tried to help. You'll all get some rep. :)

    EDIT: OK, we figured it out. The dude apparently went playing in BIOS when he was drunk and turned off the DVD drive access. That's why we couldn't get it to recognize it. We formatted the HDD and it's now in the format process.

    I gave rep to all who replied. Thanks everyone.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
  10. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

    Well, to be more specific, there is one internal type, and one external type. The reason for the different cable type with external, or eSATA cable is so that you don't use internal cable, which is unshielded, for external hookup. Also, the connection uses "safe" pins, ones that are flatter and wider similar to USB connectors, rather than the skinny wired pins the internal cable headers use.

    That aside, all SATA drives use the same connectors (with some 3.5" drives also including molex connectors for people that don't have SATA power cables). As I mentioned the only time you will see anything different is when a manufacturer uses an extension/adapter for whatever reason on the end (could be to extend the connector further into the laptop, could be a way to create a much more secured connection between the laptop and the drive, and so fourth).
  11. Rayder

    Rayder Mostly lurking lately....

    It's all good. The drive hooked up to our drive bay just fine and we were able to format it and get it back up to Windows. Got all the drivers installed and it's running well.

    Now I'm off to bed..........:sleep:
  12. hipokondriak

    hipokondriak New Member

    Of course, you could of used OPHCrack?

    A free bit of software on that will search for your "forgotten" passwords and tell you what they are.

    And a lot of people have never even heard of it.... Yet it has made my life so easy.
  13. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

    1 1/2 year old thread. Plus, this still wouldn't have helped the guy since it was a bios password, not a Windows password issue.
  14. hipokondriak

    hipokondriak New Member

    I notice that now....[​IMG] That's the trouble with 1280X800 screens they make small text hard to read. However, the way i read the above, it was a windows password problem 'cos he changed the boot order in BIOS (which would of been impossible with a bios password lock) then he formatted the drive and reinstalled windows. which would of been uneccesary with the ophcrack program. hence my post. A moot arguement since it was originally posted over a year ago, and they probably have forgotten all about it by now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2009

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