USB to IDE Adapter: Must-Have in the World of Netbooks

picture-1Ever wonder how you could install different operating systems on your new netbook or backup all your data to a DVD-R?   A USB to IDE adapter is one device that might be unfamiliar to novice computer users, but soon finds great value as a necessary, must-have item.   In the world of netbooks and similar devices that lack a CD/DVD, a USB to IDE adapter provides a cheap and convenient way to use an internal drive as an external peripheral.

Here are a few common uses for a USB to IDE adapter.


  • These adapters can be used to recover files from a computer that has crashed and burned (as long as your HDD is not damaged).
  • A USB to IDE adapter can easily convert an internal CD/DVD to an external peripheral.
  • The adapter quickly turns an internal HDD into a portable HDD.
  • These adapters can be used to install the original or different operating systems.
  • USB to IDE adapters allow a quick, easy way to backup your data or store large files that you’ve downloaded.

Newegg features several USB to IDE adapters ranging in price from USD $12.99 to just over $30.   It’s important to make sure you purchase the USB to IDE adapter that is compatible with your peripherals.   Make sure to consider the following when purchasing a USB to IDE adapter.

  • Does the USB to IDE adapter in question feature compatible connections with your drive?
  • What power adapters are included?   Make sure the USB to IDE adapter features a power adapter.   Most USB devices receive their power through the USB connection and therefore do not require a separate power source.   However, an internal drive requires a separate source of power than the USB connection.
  • What software or drivers are required to use the USB to IDE adapter?   Most include drivers and software but are also “plug and play.”
  • Make sure your USB to IDE adapter is PC/Mac compatible depending upon your system(s).   Most adapters are both PC and Mac friendly.

You should be cautioned that not all netboks play nice when booting from certain internal CD/DVD drives that were originally designed to be internal.   I’ve had success booting Linux, XP, and OS X install CDs/DVDs with my USB to IDE adapter on my Eee PC 701 and MSI Wind U100.   The success of booting from an internal drive with a USB to IDE adapter largely depends on the internal drive rather than the adapter.   Regardless, a USB to IDE adapter is a handy tool to keep on hand for a variety of purposes.