It’s called a SATA to USB adapter, and it allows you to connect “internal” devices that use a SATA interface (such as hard drives and SSDs) to your PC by simply plugging them into a USB port.
SATA to USB adapters are used primarily by computer techs, you’re probably wondering why I think everyone should keep one handy. Well, there are a couple of reasons:
1 – Let’s say your laptop’s hard drive malfunctions and Windows will no longer boot up. No problem you say, you’ll just install a new hard drive and restore the files from a backup! But what if your backup set is corrupted and you can’t restore from it?
If you have a SATA to USB adapter handy you’ll be able to remove the old drive from your laptop, install a new one, install Windows on it and then connect your old, failed drive as a temporary external drive. Unless the drive is completely dead, there is at least a decent chance that you’ll be able to copy your files from it onto the new one.
2 – Let’s say you decide to swap out the hard drive in your laptop with a solid state drive (a great idea – read this post to find out why).
You can use your super-duper SATA to USB adapter to connect the SSD as an external USB drive and clone your hard drive’s contents onto it. Then simply remove the internal hard drive and replace it with the speedy SSD. And if you wish, you can then connect the original hard drive as an external USB drive!
As you can see, a SATA to USB adapter comes in handy at times even if you are aren’t a computer tech. Amazon has tons of them to choose from for less than $20, including models that support ultra-fast USB 3.0.
Sure, you could always wait until you need one of these little gems and buy it then, but it really makes sense to get one now and keep it for that virtually-inevitable rainy day.
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