What is eSATA?

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eSATA is a External Serial ATA interface. Serial ATA is a commonly used interface for internal Hard Drives, and eSATA is an extension of that specification to be used with external devices.

If you’re using a USB or Firewire external drive, what you’re really using is a ATA or Serial ATA hard drive, and an external enclosure. The enclosure has a controller in it which translates the ATA or SATA protocol to USB or Firewire.

This translation causes some delay and there is also some overhead involved in the translations.

eSATA is already in the format that the drive is transmitting. No translation necessary means no lag.

Why Would I want to use eSATA?

Reason #1 – The transfer rate is fast. I mean really fast. Currently there is a 1.5 Gbps and a 3 Gbps Standard. This blows FireWire (IEEE 1394) and USB 2.0 out of the water.

Reason #2 – Less Lag. Since the data is already in a native format, there is no translation involved. This means data gets to the interface faster.

Reason #3 – It isn’t terribly expensive. Maybe this isn’t a reason to use it, but it isn’t much of a road block either. If your motherboard has SATA connectors laying around, you can extend them with a $3 bracket. SATA expansion cards can be found right now for under $30.

Should I replace all of my External Drives?

Sure, and I can give you an address to ship them to. Seriously though, I wouldn’t replace what you already have if it works. When you decide to buy a new drive, eSATA is worth some thought.

There are currently many drives shipping with USB and eSATA interfaces. So even if you don’t currently have eSATA capability, I would take a good long look at the drives with both interfaces, since they would allow you to upgrade later.

Read More:

Serial ATA – Serial ATA International Organization

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163 thoughts on “What is eSATA?

  1. Hi, thank you for sharing your knowledge 😉

    My new laptop has an eSATA port, and I have a USB external hard.
    Is there any sort of cable that can connect my external hard drive to eSATA port?
    and if so, is this faster than ordinary USB cables?

    Thank you very much, good luck 🙂

  2. Well, there are a couple of routes you can go. If you google “esata to usb” you’ll find some converters, although the ones I’ve seen suffer from speed issues.

    There’s also the option of buying a new enclosure, disassembling the USB drive, and placing the drive in the new esata enclosure.

    The drive inside is more than likely older anyway, and older usually means slower. To be honest, if you get a converter from eSATA to USB, you’ll still be limited by the speed of the USB connection.

    If I were you, I would just use it as a USB drive, and then when you’re ready to buy another external drive, then you can look at eSATA drives.

    There are also enclosures that offer a eSATA connector, and a USB connector fairly inexpensively.

    Hope that helps, and thanks for your comment!

  3. Thanks a lot agian 😉

    I think you’re right about “just use it as a USB drive” .
    And actually there’s something new for me: I can plug my USB hard right into eSATA port on laptop without any converter, surely the speed is limited but it works.

    good luck and bye, Tnx again

  4. Well I’m glad I was able to help, but I’m pretty sure that if you can plug your USB cord into the eSATA port, then it’s actually a USB cable your using. Unless your laptop has some new universal connenctor I haven’t heard of. I would be curios to see a picture if you could.

    Thanks again for stopping by!

  5. Hi 🙂
    Ye, surely I’m using a USB cable. actually I meant eSATA port is capable to reseive USB cables too. so my laptop which has 3 USB ports + 1 eSATA, can be assumed as a laptop with 4 USB ports.
    I think eSATA port interface is capable to switch its behavior, depending on the sort of cable plugged to it.
    If my explanations are ambiguous, I’ll send you a picture of my external USB H.D.D plugged into eSATA port. but how? please send me your email address.

    thanks, bye 😉

  6. ” Zenith ” new admirale plus laptops comes with e-sata port.
    And there is no need to explain esata which has many advatages over ordinary usb port

  7. I didn’t even know Zenith made laptops. Heck, I didn’t think they were in business anymore at all.

    Of course there’s a need to explain eSATA. I get hundreds of people every week who come here searching for “What is eSATA.” I do agree, it’s much faster. Of course, USB is still much more popular.

    Thanks for stopping by Vicky!

  8. Hello All
    I have the same problem with Siavash. My Laptop HP Pavillion DV4-1022TX with 2 USB and 1 e-SATA port. The Laptop cannot detect 3G Modem Huawei E172 USB stick, if i plug into USB port, but successfully detected and running if i plug into e-SATA port.
    I just knew that if e-SATA port compatible with USB.
    But could someone tell me, is it OK to do that ( plug 3G modem USB into e-SATA port), coz i’m afraid it will damage my 3g modem someday..

  9. Hi,
    There is no problem connecting your G3 modem to eSATA port, and It won’t damage your modem. because this port in HP laptops is customized to receive both USB connections and also eSATA. so you can use it safely.

    Good luck, bye 😉

  10. Like Siavash said, it’s not a matter of USB and eSATA being compatible, or even that you’re plugging in a USB device to a eSATA port, it’s the HP has 1 port which is made in such a way that it accepts both plugs, and they have their own set of connectors.

    I had never heard of it until Siavash sent me some pictures. (Thanks again Siavash!)

  11. I believe so.
    But another thing, the technician where i purchased 3G modem said that USB port in HP laptop for some series ussualy have problem with USB devices according to his experience. It seems that it doesn have much power to run the USB devices like modem, external HD, etc. Thats why it wont work with my modem.

  12. Although I’m not going to argue with him on that, I don’t use HP laptops, since you’re plugging the device into a USB port, and not a eSATA port, then you would still run into the same problem.

    I’ve personally seen where a device is only recognized on one USB port, and not any of the others. Sometimes it’s because the device was installed incorrectly in the other port, sometimes it’s just because it’s a little finicky.

    Long story short, if it’s working in that port, then you should be fine.

  13. I have a tower with SATA hard drives. Can I buy a laptop with eSATA, add connectors or cases, and simply add them to the laptop?

  14. @Robertpri

    Yup. To be honest, you don’t even need a laptop with eSATA, if you plug the SATA hard disks into a USB external carrier. The one thing I want to make sure we’re clear, I have 2 points:

    1. The hard drives from your tower would be external to the laptop, unless by some small chance the drives are 2.5″ drives, or your laptop takes standard 3.5″ drives.

    2. You probably wouldn’t be able to boot your laptop off of the hard drives from your tower.

    I have a few computers that I upgraded the hard drives in, and had a few 80G SATA drives laying around. This is exactly what I did.

    Thanks for dropping by!

  15. Re: some USB devices don’t work in all ports. It is known that some computers have USB ports that provide significantly less than the correct 500mA of +5VDC. This deficiency is known to prevent larger-capacity 2.5″ USB drives from working unless a special cable is used to draw power from *two* USB ports simultaneously.

    One possible reason that dio’s USB modem works in his combo port and not in the USB port may be that E-SATA requires more current to be available.

  16. Having posted before looking up the ESATA specs, it turns out I am slightly wrong. The ESATA data interface does not draw any power; it is data only. So the only answer left is that the companion USB port just happens to have been built to supply the full 500mA, while the others probably supply closer to 360mA.

    Modem needing power. Hmmm. Ah, the Huawei modem is a 3G RF device. I can see it needing almost all of USB’s 500mA current. Y’all’ll recall that 500mA of 5VDC is 2.5W. If the modem is transmitting at 0.5W, it’s entirely possible that it needs all 2.5W to operate.

  17. I have a Sony Digital Movie Camera, Which uses a 4 pen 1394 Firewire cable. My new laptop has the eSATA/USB port. Is this the best way to make this connection?

  18. Can an eSATA port be used to transfer video from a DV camera to a computer at all, or is firewire the only option?

  19. To connect a 1394 cable you need to buy a express card with the 1394 port on it. then you can download movies off your cam.

  20. Bill is correct, and of course, 1394 is firewire. Pinnacle also had a USB capture device that allowed you to connect S-Video, Composite, and Firewire, which is also called “DV sometimes”. Here’s a link to the one I have Pinnacle Studio Moviebox Ultimate V12

    The Pinnacle Studio software that comes with it is pretty sharp. I liked this device because it allows me to capture from my old analog camcorder as well as a newer DV camera. Of course if you have a laptop, then this isn’t a bad way to get firewire (IEEE 1394) support on your system.

  21. I have the same problem of eSATA port as HP DV4 has same problem of two USB ports I need at least three for my External Hard Drive,Mouse and Printer. I may have to buy a Hub for USB but they are pain in the neck, My USB plug does nit enter the eSATA port and I did not force it lest it may damage the port. I have a Maxtor one touch 200GB hard drive.
    Thanks anyway

  22. Hi Ali!

    Yes, a USB hub is the way to go. If you need more ports than you have, that’s your best bet. I don’t know if you always travel with your printer or not, but one thing you can do is to buy a LCD with a USB hub in it, or maybe a docking station. The hub is the cheapest way though.

    No, eSATA and USB are not comaptible. There are some laptops that have some strange port that has both connectors into one, but that is not the norm. Unless the port is labeled eSATA / USB, then it’s probably not going to work.

    Good move not forcing it. If you have to force something, then you’re doing it wrong.

    Thanks for dropping by!

  23. Bill H Blankenship:
    “I have a Sony Digital Movie Camera, Which uses a 4 pen 1394 Firewire cable. My new laptop has the eSATA/USB port. Is this the best way to make this connection?”

    You could buy an adapter that is usb on one end and 4 pin ilink on the other end. That’s what I had to do to DL my videos to laptop.


  24. Mike, In “Reason 3”. of “Why would I want to use eSATA?”, where could I buy the “$3 bracket”. Does it have an specific name? Do you have a photo? Alstan

  25. So i have the just ordered the Studio 15 with the eSata/USB connector as talked about above, it is supposed to take both, but to clairify some one i think said it does not provide as much power… will i be able to use a flash drive or some thing of that such ?

    Incase i don’t find this web page again because i am on a school computer, if you could E-mail me at


    and lable the subject ESATA/USB connector that would be great.

    Thanks, Blake

  26. Hey Blake!

    I didn’t see a studio 15, but the Pinnacle USB capture device I was talking about above is connected via USB.

    The power discussion was really about the specs of the interfaces.

    Basically, if you buy a flash drive or a external hard drive, and you have that interface on your computer, then it should work.

    If you’re trying to capture video to a flash drive, you can try it, but I don’t think it will be fast enough to keep up with the capture. That being said, you can always capture it to your hard drive, and then copy it to the flash device later.

    Sorry if I didn’t understand what your asking, if I’m not covering what your asking, try rephrasing the question.


  27. I guess i am asking is how much power does it supply, as much as a regular USB port. Because i rember reading it does not supply as much power and will not be able to power certain devices.

  28. If you have one of the laptops with the combination port, like we were discussing above, then it would appear that it was wired correctly and has the ability to supply enough power.

    In the comments above Neal Murphy said that eSATA does not draw any power from the interface, and that USB is supposed to supply 500mA of 5 Volts DC Power.

    Neal said that he has heard of some manufacturers who skimp on their USB interfaces, and they aren’t able to supply quite the same amount of juice. This would cause a problem if you had a device that needed the entire 500 mA of power. If your drive doesn’t need as much power as your interface supplies, then your good to go.

    Of course, most of the external drives I’ve seen all use their own power supplys, and we were specifically talking about a 3G Modem.

  29. I just received a link from Blake K, and I see where the confusion is. He was talking about the Dell Studio 15 laptop, and I thought he was talking about the Pinnacle Studio 15 (which I couldn’t find), and assumed it was a upgraded model from the Pinnacle Studio 12 I mentioned above.

    Here’s a URL:

    We haven’t seen the Dell Studio’s connector, and unless you’ve seen something to the contrary, there’s no reason to think it won’t power USB devices correctly. the eSATA connector is data only, and having it combined with a USB port doesn’t effect the amount of power that the USB port can supply.

    Hope that helps.

  30. Can i load an operating system from e-SATA?
    I’m thinking of using two operating system. Can i load vista on external drive using e-SATA port?
    I know it’s not possble from usb port. So was wondering!!!!!!!

  31. is the an adapter i can go from eSATA to firewire because the only way i can hook my camcorder to my laptop is firewire

  32. Hey Rick,

    I’ve never seen one. In the comments above we talk about USB to Firewire. I don’t know what your trying to do though, if you have firewire on your laptop, and a camcorder that’s firewire, why do you need eSATA?

  33. my camcorder will only hookup to firewire my laptop didnt come with firewire so i need to figure out add a firewire to my laptop

  34. In that case you don’t need eSATA at all. Check out the device I mentioned in the January 10th, 2009 comment above. I use it with lots of success with the DV inputs, and it also has the 1394 connector.

    I’ve seen some adapter cables, but the ones I’ve found are more expensive and don’t come with any video editing software.

  35. I just got a new laptop that has esata. I have an external hard drive that I’ve been using with a USB adapter. However, because I am importing a lot of video that USB slows me down. If I use the esata how then do I power the drive?

  36. Hey Greg!

    Any eSATA drive that you would buy would have it’s own power source. So you would have another power plug.

    Let me know how it works out, and thanks for dropping by!

  37. My externel drive is WD Home Edition and it have eSata port, I dont know how to use it with my destop (maniboard dont have any eSata port), even dont have any cable for. Anyone can help me for an advice? Thanks

  38. You would have to buy a eSATA add on card in order to use the eSATA interface. If it has USB 2.0, then I probably wouldn’t sweat it unless you’re having performance issues.

  39. hi mike, i would like to ask about Esata cable, i bought one with 2 e-sata ends, but it seems when i connect my external hdd to my computer via e-sata cable, it always cuts off and sometimes just hangs. yet if i connect my computer and hdd via usb, it works fine…why is that? or is my cable the wrong one?

  40. Hi Donald!

    Does the hard drive cut off immediately, or does it work fine for a little while and then hang? Also, is the drive hanging, or is it the computer that hangs?

    Finally, are you plugging the eSATA drive in when the computer is already running?

    Not all eSATA drives / hardware combinations are able to be plugged in / unplugged while the system is running. If you are trying to do this, you should try to turn the computer off, plug the drive in and power the drive up, then power up the PC.

  41. Hi scott, alright i guess i’ll give u a more detailed description for you to help me analyze =). i bought a new 1tb hdd with esata and usb ports, then when i connect with usb, it’s totally fine, just slow. I bought a new e-sata to e-sata cable, and connect the hard drive with my hp dv5 computer. my computer is always on, as i have to run and organize files to transfer. then i power on the hdd first, then after 10 seconds i connect both ends of the esata to the hdd and my comp. the intel matrix storage did popup saying if the storage is multiple whatever it’s set to 0..(???) then after that it says the storage is running healthy and connected. yet when i go to “my computer”, only C and D (recovery) is seen, the new drive cannot be detected.

    sometimes if it happens randomly to be able to connect and displayed in my computer, while transferring files, about 1 min or so the drive will be stuck, halting the file transferring. this also leads to a temporary hang towards my computer as i have to force cancel and unplug the cables for the computer to regain control. another thing to take note is that i already installed the HP AHCI software for this computer. any suggestions? =P

  42. Thanks Donald!

    I would try:
    – shutting the machine down before I plug it in.
    – Using a friends eSATA drive and cable to see if the problem continues Or loan this drive to a friend with eSATA and see if they have the same problem
    – a different eSATA cable

    If you don’t have access to a friends Drive, then another eSATA scable is pretty inexpensive.

    To me, it would sound like faulty hardware, and I would contact the manufacturer or flat out return it if:
    – you can’t get that drive working, with the new cable
    – or if you are able to loan the drive to a friend and they have the same issue
    – or if you have no issues with another device.

    Good luck!

  43. thanks for the suggestions! really appreciate it. just confirming, you said faulty hardware, defining that as in my computer or the external HDD? coz it seems impossible to return my computer for an exchange..by the way does my friend’s computer also need to install AHCI in order for the e-sata cable to work on his?

  44. I’m thinking it’s an issue with the drive, not with your computer.

    As for the AHCI, it looks like that’s for supporting some eSATA features, such as hot swapping. If it’s not on or already installed, then your friend will more than likely have to install it.

  45. thanks i’ll give it a try, might have to ask you for further aid if the problem still exists…

  46. Hey it seems it’s my computer’s problem, my friend’s computer was able to detect it..oh well guess i have to ask hp for help with this issue…just another question regarding this, if i degrade my vista -> xp, will the esata and other drivers still work? i know supposedly vista is DirectX 10 and xp is 9, but will they still work as they are now?

  47. That’s too bad Donald, sorry to hear that.

    To be honest, I’ve never done a downgrade, but as far as I know, I think you’ll have to check if there’s a XP driver for each piece of hardware.

  48. It would really depend on why you’re downgrading. Personally, I live Vista, and don’t have any issues with it. If you hate Vista, then I would back up data and wipe the machine.

    If you simply want to work with an application that doesn’t work in Vista, then I would use a virtual machine.

    If you really want to run Vista and XP side by side in a dual boot configuration, that works. If it’s a desktop, you can always add a second hard drive for the other OS, but if you don’t want to install another hard drive, then 2 partitions (one for each OS) will work fine.

  49. I get it, thanks for the ideas and suggestions Mike! guess i heard too much rumours about vista being terrible and xp being stable and reliable. well i might as well give it a try.

  50. Hey Mike, Donald here again..haha sorry to trouble you but i am having a really hard time not only dealing with e-sata, but also the vista OS. Do you have any links that might help in search of those scarce software drivers for HP-dv5-1157ca? apart from that i did a lot of homework and digging about using nlite and ways to back the files up, but do you know if other dv5 models share the same drivers as the one i am having? i saw hp releasing over 100s of different dv5 computers.

  51. Hey Donald!

    Have you tried the HP Website? I just went there, chose “Support and Drivers”, entered HP-dv5-1157ca, chose Vista for the OS, and it gave me a whole page of drivers.

    Also, you could try running Windows Update and it may find drivers there too.

  52. Ooops my badd..i meant to ask for a DOWNGRADE to xp, i forgot to input this major issue in the paragraph above. now u should be experiencing what problems i’m having. I’m trying to downgrade my vista – xp and tryin to find the drivers required for each parts of the hardware.

  53. Well that’s a different story. 🙂

    If HP doesn’t provide them, and you can’t find drivers on the individual hardware component’s manufacturer’s web sites, then you’re probably SOL (Severely out of luck).

  54. hhahaha okay, if even a professional like you said i’m out of luck, guess i’ll just have to stick with vista then..=(, just wondering if other dv5 computers that share the same hardware, will they provide the compatible xp drivers, assuming that there are some?

  55. How do I connect from ESATA to a digital TV. esata or hdmi – which one is better?
    My TV has only hdmi.

  56. Hi Mike,
    I went through many comments on this site and I was amazed at your patience in replying and helping people with your expertise in eSATA and other ports. I sincerely appreciate your efforts and congratulate you on having been able to solve many issues in eSATA ports and related stuff. Thank you on behalf all of us.
    I am doing a survey to buy an external hard drive. I am inclined to buy a Seagate product primarily because I am looking for longevity and good performance. From what people tell me, Seagate products are trustworthy. With that assumption, I am comparing the two following drives – Seagate Freeagent Desk 1TB and Seagate Freeagent xtreme 1TB. According to my understanding the primary difference between xtreme and Desk is the availability of two additional high speed ports – eSATA and firewire 400 in xtreme. My question pertains to the utility of these additional interface.
    1. Does most present day computers and the once sold in the future come with an external eSATA port which makes it straightforward to plug in the xtreme through this port and utilize the advantage of faster transfers?
    2. Do most laptops also come with an eSATA external port?
    3. Can I load an operating system on my external hard drive, connect it via a eSATA port and boot into this OS?
    4. Are cables used to connect the xtreme to the external eSATA port easily available (I guess the xtreme does not come with one) and inexpensive?
    I would appreciate if you could provide quick answers to my questions, since I am leaving the US for a long trip soon and I would like to place an order as soon as possible. You can also mail your reply to arunpr [at] umich.edu .
    Once again thanks on behalf of me and everyone else who have received help from you.

  57. Hi Arun!

    I’m just glad to see people finding this article useful. I started it because I was wondering what the heck eSata was in the first place.

    1. I haven’t seen any desktops with eSATA ports yet, but they are really easy to add with a expansion slot filler. Most desktops have spare SATA ports on the motherboard, and it’s just a cable from it to the expansion slot filler.

    2. I’ve seen many laptops with the port, but not all laptops are coming with them. You’ll want to check before you buy a laptop.

    Either with Laptops or Desktops, SATA and eSATA are the current technology, and they probably will be around as long as ATA was.

    3. Yes, if your operating system supports the SATA Controller, and if your computer allows booting from it. As far as the operating system is concerned, the eSATA drive is plugged directly into the hard drive controller, which is probably the one controlling your internal hard drive.

    Just like RAID or SCSI controllers of the past, you may have to provide the driver during install, or through some other method, to get your computer to boot using an older OS. For newer OSs, it should be a simple matter of choosing which boot device to use.

    4. Believe it or not, eSATA is the same connecter as SATA, so the cables are pretty cheap. Right now NewEgg has a 1 meter cable for $8, and a 6 foot cable for $10. (Just search on newegg.com for esata cable).

    While you’re on NewEgg, you may want to take a look at the external enclosures for hard drives, and the hard drives themselves. If you know a bit about what your doing, you could probly assemble a external drive for much less that a retail offering.

    Also, I happen to agree with your choice of a Seagate Drive, although others may argue the point, I’ve always had better luck with them.

    Good luck!

    Also, I’m part of a tech podcast over at http://twoguystech.com , and we’re always looking for questions and feedback. You should check us out.

  58. Hi Mike,
    Your reply was very useful. I thought about the idea of buying an internal hard drive and an external enclosure. And now I strongly opine that this is better idea than buying an external hard drive. Firstly, I have the option of ripping the enclosure and using the same hard disk as an internal hard drive (my desktop cabinet usually remains open!!!) and this gives me in some remote desktop. I can use the hard drive with the external casing to boot from which ever comp I am using and then come back and use the same hard drive as an internal hard disk. By being able to boot from the esata port, lets me use my os with my settings and preferences. Secondly, all my data is on one hard drive and i dont need to keep moving data from an internal hard drive to the external for portability. Since, I will be buying a computer in the future (I usually buy and assemble the parts), I can use this hard disk there.
    I would like to know what are the disadvantages of this approach as against to buying a external hard drive like seagate freeagent xtreme? Please let me know.
    With your experience, what are the trustable brands for external enclosures and what should I be looking for during my selection of an external enclosure?
    I am intending to buy a seagate barracuda 1tb st3100033as with a 5 year warranty. The warranty is not the manufacturer’s warranty. Do you strongly prefer to buy a product with manufacturer’s warranty? Please write to me your opinion.

  59. Minor correction on my earlier reply, the cable for eSATA is not the same as SATA, but the prices I quoted above still apply. Sorry about that.

    I’m glad the comment helped Arun!

    One disadvantage of booting the same drive on different computers is that unless you’re hardware is exactly the same, you’ll have issues with boot up. Another is that if you’re using a retail copy of Windows, you’re going to have activation issues, since you’re essentially changing all of the hardware each time you boot. I would also be willing to bet that you would have to change your boot up config each time you moved it from internal to external on the same computer, if you wanted to boot from it.

    Now, if you’re planning on using the drive solely for backing up files, the disadvantage of building your own external drive is that you’ll have to figure out your own backup solution. This isn’t much of a concern for me, I just use NTBackup or Syncback, or any of a dozen other applications. The retail drives usually come with something.

    As for enclosures, I’ve had a few and haven’t had any problems. I mostly buy Rosewill, but feel free to look at the user reviews yourself. The main things that you want to look for is the interface (eSATA if that’s what you’re using, but eSATA + USB wouldn’t hurt either) and that the hard drive is the correct physical size, IE 3.5″ vs 2.5″.

    Although I’ll have to admit that when it comes to warranty service, it’s usually easier dealing with the store or vendor you bought something through. Still, as a general rule I don’t usually buy extended warranties, but that’s my personal opinion. The drive should come with a manufacturer’s warranty, although it’s probably shorter than 5 years.

    Good luck!

  60. Hi Mike,
    I am thankful to you particularly for your quick replies. It is great to get your inputs.
    I understand the trouble of booting the same OS through different computers hosting different hardware. Thanks for pointing that out since it had slipped my mind. I plan to use ubuntu or some other linux flavour almost exclusively and the problems maybe not that much. In fact, with ubuntu or linux, I may just not be able to use sound or modem etc on the other computers I connect, but I should be able to use the basic hardware without too much trouble where ever I connect.
    I do not possess a laptop or desktop and use the computers at my university (I am a grad student at UMICH). Therefore, for the most part, my hard disk will be used to store my data – important, unimportant, personal etc etc. I guess I will not be able to boot through this hard disk on most university computers, precisely for the reason that I will not to change the boot configuration to do so and most students would not have access to do it on university computers.
    Given this, you may wonder why I am not going for a seagate freeagent xtreme. In a few years, I am planning to buy the components and assemble a desktop. Then, the investment of having bought an internal hard disk will be useful. I can use the same hard disk that I would have been using over the last few years with all the data. And henceforth, the task of sharing data becomes easy in the sense that I can take out my own hard disk enclose it in the case and carry it over to the place I wish to share the data. This makes it really simple and seemless. This is really what I am looking for in the long run.
    The ability to boot my hard disk from other computers is really an additinal advantage. If I do get to use computers at certain locations for extended periods of time (like i go for an intership for a few months to a firm or visit a university for a few months), I can try and get to boot from my hard disk and confugure my os to the particular hardware configurations of the host computer and change the boot sequence on that computer. If the hardware supprts, we will never be restricted by software – that is a philosophy I believe in.
    Is there any other key drawbacks of buying an internal drive and an external enclosure as compared to a seagate freeagent xtreme.
    Looking for your comments and thanks once again.

  61. Hello Mike,

    I have read this entire discourse from November 2007 to the last one and must impose on you to please advise me concerning a question which was not exactly answered in all the previous questions: I have an external HD used for backup with both USB and eSATA ports. My Desktop has USB and Firewire connections. Only cords which I presently own are USB to USB. Question: Is there any advantage in speed of transfer in purchasing and using a cord with a eSATA connection on one end for the external HD and a Firewire connection on the other end for the Desktop? If so, does such a cord exist. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide the answer to this question.

  62. Hi Mike,
    I had a quick question. Is there a difference between SATA and SATA I/II ports? I am intending to buy http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182180 which claims to support SATA I/II to enclose a ST31000333AS seagate internal 3.5 hard drive which has a SATA (SATA-300) port. I note that there are separate external enlosures for SATA ports and SATA I/II ports. What is the difference if any? As I understand the difference is only in the speed of transfer. SATA II enables transfer at 300 Mbitpersecond wehere as SATA I enables 150MBitPerSecond. Does SATA or SATA-300 mean same as SATA-II? Please advice.

  63. Hi Mike,
    I have been reading reviews about external enclosures ad I note that most customers complain that the enclosures get quite hot. Following are my questions.
    1. What has been your experience been about this?
    2. Would you consider this as a disadvantage compared to buying a manufactured external hard drive such as seagate freeagent xtreme? If yes, how serious is this disadvantage?
    3. Would you always recommend to go for a external enclosure with a fan?
    4. I was seriously considering buying the Rosewill RX35-AT-SC BLK external encluse available at http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182179 . However, after reading the customer reviews about how hot it gets, I have second thoughts not only about buying this product but the whole idea of external enclosures. Please advise.

  64. Arun,
    Since you don’t really have control over what computers you’re using, I would try and get something with USB and eSATA, this way you’re covered no matter what you’re using. To be honest though, depending on how much data you have, it may be easier and more convenient just to get a big flash drive. With a flash drive, you can stick it in your pocket, and you won’t need external power.

    As for the heat question, I haven’t had any issues with it myself. The case does get warm, but nothing I’ve noticed. I generally get a aluminum case and place it on top of the computer or my desk so that it can get good air flow. A enclosure with a fan wouldn’t hurt though.

    I’ve only had 2 retail enclosures, and thinking about it now, I’m willing to bet they have fans built into them. If heat is a concern, then I would just get an enclosure with a fan. To be honest, I don’t know if it will be an issue for you, since you won’t really be leaving it on all the time.

  65. Hi Jerry!

    There’s no firewire to eSATA connector that I saw, although I did see some hubs that support it. If you’re just backing up to the drive, I would think USB would be fast enough.

    eSATA is faster than Firewire, but even if you had a cord or converter that went eSATA to Firewire, you would still be limited to the speed of the firewire. The only way to get eSATA speeds on your desktop would be to buy a eSATA add on card. However, like I said, I would think that USB would be plenty fast for backing up. If you were accessing files on the external drive heavily then it may be advantageous to get an add on card.

  66. I plug my external HD with an esata wire to the esata receptor at the back of my desktop. The receptor is connected to one of the six esata ports. I have 3 internal hard drives and two CD-ROM drives occupying the other 5 ports. When I click MY COMPUTER all internal drives and CD-ROM drives were showing but the external HD was nowhere to be found even though it is power up. Do I need to activate the external esata port? If so how?

  67. Maybe, but that depends on the controller. I have a Rosewill that has a whole slew of ports on it, but you can only have a fixed number of them active at a time. This way you could you use it for all external, or all internal, but not all of both.

  68. Thank you.

    How do I find out how many active esata port is supported on my PC without unplugging one of the other HD or CD-ROM?

  69. Another question: My primary hard disk (C-drive) became defective and I had to replace it and reinstall Windows Vista Home Premium. I used MS restore to restore all my saved files including program files to a newly installed D hard disk. The program files were originally on the C-drive. How do I reactivate the installed and restored programs such as MS Office?

  70. Man Phillip! Give me something easy to answer.

    As for the eSATA, if the ports are built into the motherboard, check the BIOS. You may just need to activate a port or two. Otherwise, check with the motherboard manufacturer / vendor, and they should have a manual.

    The restore is pretty tricky, I haven’t actually used it. I don’t think you’ll be able to just copy them over and make them work, if anything you may have to restore them to your c: drive, even then, I don’t know if they will work. It may just be easier to re-install them on c:. If you have to have them on d:, then you could also try re-installing them, and choosing a custom install location of D:.

  71. Thank you Jim & Mike,

    Somehow after giggling the connectors to my external hard drive it shows up on MY COMPUTER. Apparently the connectors were loose. I notice esata connectors do not snap into place tightly.

  72. Jim, looks good to me. It’ll let you put one port outside of the machine, so long as your motherboard has one open.

    Phillip, yup, loose connectors can get you every time. I haven’t had any issues with eSATA in particular, but it could just be a matter of time. 🙂

  73. Hi,

    I m having problem with my eSATA port on the motherboard.
    some how i used the eSATA port from my motherboard to my extrnal HD and my PC wont recognize the HD. can some one tell me why? and i try to turn that port from my bio but there is no such as SATA port 5.


  74. Jenny,

    The same thing happened to me. The eSATA port was nowhere to be found at the BIOS. Did you plug your external HD directly into the motherboard’s eSATA port with eSATA wire or do you have a bracket at the back of your PC. I have a bracket in mine.

    Did you turn on your external HD before power up the PC?

    I solved my puzzle by giggling the eSATA receptors on both ends of the HD and the bracket a few times and the external HD shows up.

  75. Hi Mike, very interesting discussion, but quite confusing at times. I have an external SATA drive connected via USB. If I buy a new PC with an eSATA port what type of cable do I need to connect it? I understand that I would still need an external power supply, so that’s not an issue. Could I still use the same type of cable that you would use to connect an internal SATA drive to a connector on the motherboard?



  76. Hi Andy!

    The easiest way would be to connect it with USB. Otherwise you’ll have to connect it inside the new computer with a SATA connector, or buy a new eSATA enclosure.

    Good Luck

  77. Read the esata comments with interest.
    I have a gigabyte mother board with 4 sata and 2 external esata
    It requires a driver be installed during windows install to use sata.
    The bios has been updated and set to recognize sata drives.

    I can plug a bare sata hard drive into computer by using the sata internal cables.
    It requires the power cable to be extended out side computer and plugged into drive.
    or I can use a mother board provided sata connector on back of computer which provides both power and 2 esata connectors.
    I can plug the back of computer connector to the esata plug on mother board or the sata plug on mother board. Both work.

    Either way the bare drive is recognized on power up as an internal sata drive.
    I place the bare drive inside a container to prevent shorting drive.

    Looking at the Rosewill rx -358-s esata enclosure.
    It supports Hot-Swap function but states make sure mother board supports hot-swap.

    I would like to be able to connect the external sata hard drive on by just turning it on (or off) with all cables connected. This is how my external USB hard drive basically works now.

    Would I be correct in assuming the Hot-Swap function is the ability to turn esata hard drive on (or off) and the running computer automatically adjust to a connect or disconnect?

    How would I determine if bios or motherboard supports HOT SWAP.

  78. You are correct, the hot swap is the ability to turn the drives on or off without turning the computer on or off. I’m not exactly sure why the motherboard would have to support it if the drive controller does support it.

    To determine if your motherboard supports hot swap, you could look in the manual or contact the manufacturer. That’s the safest bet.

  79. Hi Mike,
    Man!!! u r awesome in replying to all kinds of questons regarding esata.
    Here comes mine.
    I recently bought Lenovo Y450 which has an eSATA port.
    I have a Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500 GB Hard Drive.
    I bought a SATA to eSATA connectivity cable and tried to connect the HD to my laptop through the eSATA port using this cable. My laptop is not recognizing the HD. Does it require any kind of POWER cable to make it work? if so, where shld i connect that power cable? also please let me know about the BIOS changes and how it should be done (procedure).

    Thanks in advance.

  80. Thanks Sandeep, I try to help out where I can.

    It does require a power cable, your best bet would be to get a eSATA enclosure, which would provide you with power and the data cable. Then you would put your hard drive in there, and plug the enclosure into your laptop.

    After doing that, you shouldn’t have to make any BIOS changes, just plug the enclosure in and go. Here’s a list of enclosures

    You’ll probably want a enclosure for a 3.5″ drive, if that’s the size of your hard disk, and you can choose either USB or eSATA.

    Good luck!

  81. Thank you very much Mike for ur suggestion.

    Sorry to bother u again.
    Currently my new laptop is loaded with Win 7 (64Bit)
    The HD already had Win2003 in it…after connecting it can I switch between these 2 OS as we do with the computers with two different operating systems in it(like the screen appears to select an operating system among two)?

    Thanks again.

  82. i want plug my USB mouse/USB Modem/USB Flash Disk to eSATA port…do i need connector? and what is connector name? because of eSATA port aren’t same with USB port..thanks

  83. Im using Toshiba L500 series laptop..This lap have 2 USB port & 1 eSATA port,but i think these 2USB ports are not enough for my usage,so im trying to get use from the eSATA port also..so plz guide me how can i use this port (whether can i use this eSATA port 2 use my 3G externalmodem )

  84. Sorry Patrick, but I haven’t seen any eSATA devices that aren’t hard drives. If you’re short USB ports, maybe a small USB hub would be a good solution for you.

  85. Hi Mike,

    I just wanted to tell you I also have a HP Laptop with a combo eSATA USB2 port It’s on my dv6t series Pavilion, I just purchased a external HP 1TB drive too but didn’t know what the eSATA was for…Oh well, live and learn….

    I do thank you for the info,


  86. Thanks for all the time you have dedicated to answering questions! Mine may be a little eccentric. I am thinking about putting together a home server. At first I was just going to build it myself, then, I saw HP has one with windows home server installed. My problem is it only comes with three expansion bays, and the only other way I can add more hard drives is thru the esata port. Is it possible to use the esata port to connect to say, a box that has 3 or 4 more hard drive to kinda daisy chain them, or am I limited to just one drive per esata port. There are no pci interfaces to add an expansion card on these machines, and i would like to have around 12tb. (I have alot of media) Thanks!

  87. Hi Mike,

    I have just received a replacement PC from DELL (Studio XPS 43ST) in place of my DELL (XPS 700). Problem is the new PC came with Vista and I was using XP PRO. I have an ESata port on the Vista machine and I think I may be able to take my XP hard drive, buy an enclosure and be able to copy my info from the old Drive.
    Any comment about if this will work ?

  88. I just purchased a brand new 21.5″ iMac to do video editing from my high-def camcorder. Since the video file sizes are large it takes some time to download the information to my computer. I recently became aware of the eSata transfer speeds and assumed that my iMac would have this port. It doesn’t! The best it has is Firewire 800. Is there any way that I can create an eSata port on my iMac even though it has a non-serviceable enclosure.

  89. Hi Mike

    I bought a terabyte sata harddrive with external manhattan enclosure. It has both usb2.0 and esata external connections, as well as the power connector.
    My pc has usb connectors but no esata connector at the back nor front.
    I used the usb connection to connect to the pc, but it does not pick the external drive up at all? what can I do?

  90. Hi Amanda!

    Take a look in computer management, Disk management, and see if it has assigned it a drive letter.

    To get there, right click on my computer, choose manage. In the list, open “Storage” and then click on “Disk management”.

    If you see a big disk without a drive letter on it, right click and choose “Change Drive Letter and Paths”, then add.

    Make sure you don’t change the drive letter of your c: drive, or any other drives that you already have.

    Good Luck.

  91. Hi Mike, long time no see. got some problems unrelated to E-Sata, but since this is the most active thread, i might as well post it here. My vista has been doing somewhat bad, maybe too much programs or whatnot, once every 10-15 min it freezes for 2-3 min before able to work again. Ram is sufficient, not like my cores are overloading, yet it just freezes, and the hard drive light aint’ flashing fast (it’s just on standby, but that’s when the comp hangs). So i’ve decided to upgrade to win7 if i were to do a reformat, but that’s where i have a problem for you. Do you know this hardware : Realtek RTL8168C(P)/8111C(P) Family PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC (NDIS 6.0)? It said there were no information on it for the compatibility test, and last time when i did an upgrade, my internet was as slow as a 28k, thus i had to reformat back to vista. Any clues from you?

  92. Hi Donald!

    I would check the manufacturer’s web site, or possible even use a search engine to search for something like “realtek rtl8168c driver windows 7”

    Good Luck!

  93. Thanks Mike, but which one shd I get? the 8168C or the 8111C? i think i found 2 different driver systems for them.

  94. Yea you’re right, the 8168C works, well internet issue fixed..yet i expect you’ve heard from others, that the layout for WMP or MSN sucks…oh well at least it’s overall better than vista!

  95. Donald, No, I actually haven’t heard that about windows media player. Then again, I don’t think many use it. As for MSN, I’ve never liked the overly flashy home pages.

    Glad you’re all fixed up.

  96. My Old laptop burned, so i bought a new one, which has an esata port. The problem is that i have all my info in the old laptop sata hard drive, can i plug that drive directly to the esata port??? How can i do this? Do I need an external carry case or can i do this directly??


  97. hey Mike my win7 internet seems fine after updating the firmware from the manu. site. but now sometimes during downloading, my internet disconnects, with that little exclamation triangular icon saying some problem with the internet connection. It just happens suddenly, and I dont think it’s a IP address conflict as I am the only user of the internet/router, around 2-3am. Then after waiting maybe 5-10 min the connection seems ok, then another 5 min it disconnects again. I’m using LAN-cable so i shouldn’t have any problem assessing the router. any solutions from you? Thanks.

  98. Diego,

    I believe the connector is different, and even if you could plug it right in, you wouldn’t have a power source. The best bet would be to get a external drive carrier that supports SATA drives.

    That laptop sure is turning into a learning experience for you. Weren’t you having the network issue before the Windows 7 install?

    It sounds to me like you have either a bad network card, or a bad switch / gateway router. If you plug into a friend’s internet, using the ethernet cable, and you get the same issue, it’s time to call support.

    Good luck!

  99. Great thread with lots of great info! Thank you Mike and every one else!

    Mentioned above and seemingly becoming much more common, especially in Laptops, is the USB/eSata combination ports………


    if using the eSATA function of the combo port (with external HD enclosure, for example), will the data transfer speed function at the high eSATA speed or will it be throttled back to USB speed since the port is USB/eSATA?

    THANKS in advance,

  100. GG,

    I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say it will run at the eSATA speeds. I’m pretty certain that the connectors are NOT shared.


  101. Hi Mike, I dont know if this is the place is should post but it seemed to be a common thread, so here it is. I just disassembled my computer and i think i somehow touched the cpu chip not only its edges. will that contribute to my computer being slow/hang/stiff most of the time? it runs fine, it works fine, but it is just slow and needed to wait for a long time before executing something. loading safe mode also seemed slower than it should. Thanks for your help!

    p.s. I did use 75% isopropyl alcohol for medical ones to clean both the cpu/gpu chip before i put them back together, will that matter?

  102. Hey,

    I have hard disk drive which is sata. I want to connect it to my laptop to read its information .Can do it by connect it to Laptop eSATA external port ? in other words just one cable is enough to do that? do I need power or any other thing ?

  103. I’m exporting 180 to 200 gigs files from two external hard drives via esata, I must say it kicks firewire ass so bad it’s incredible. It use to take 2 to 3 hours to export a file this size with esat, it takes about 40 to 45 mins, it’s incredibly fast and I LOVE IT!!!!

  104. Thanks guys for clearing that up all i needed was the first line at the top really External Serial ATA. I tought it was another kind of SATA port. One of these days we’re goint to have a DRNAESATA (Direct Response Neuro Active External Serial ATA) it seems everything looks more techy when you just say the first letters these days… Mixes the hell out of the regular guy looking for a faster response with an external hard drive, but hey… it looks cool :/

  105. If the industry doesn’t keep coming up with new stuff, then they won’t be able to give us an excuse to keep upgrading 🙂

    Thanks for dropping by Kobalt!

  106. Hi,

    I want to connect my laptop to a tv monitor, I’m presuming I connect via the eSata port with some kind of HDMI cable?


  107. Hi,
    I have Dell Latitude E4200, which does not have an inbuilt CD-ROM/DVD. It has an eSATA port however. Can I format the whole hard drive and install Windows XP by connecting an external DVD ROM? I am worried whether or not the external DVD will be supported when the laptop does not have operating systems installed.

    Many thanks!!

  108. Hi Prem!
    I’m not sure if that would work with an eSATA external CDROM, as a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve heard of one.

    A External USB CDRom should work. If you can boot off the XP CD to start the install (not from within windows), then you should be good to go.

  109. Hello,
    I was just wondering if i could use my internal SATA HDD to connect to my laptop which has a eSATA port?I mean is this possible.
    Thanks in advance.

  110. Thanks a lot for ur quick reply mike.But actually you didn’t get me, it is obviously my fault i should have framed the question more briefly.The real part is that I actually having sold my desktop have just the internal HDD of my desktop with me which is a SATA drive now i wanted to extract the data from the internal HDD so was curious if i could just connect HDD to the eSATA port on my laptop.
    Thanks in advance.

  111. No problem Jojo. Yes, you can connect it to your laptop, using a eSATA carrier (there’s some links in the comments) and you’ll be able to access it using your laptop.

    Good luck!

  112. I must show appreciation to you just for bailing me out of this particular situation. After checking through the the web and obtaining tips that were not powerful, I was thinking my entire life was gone. Being alive minus the solutions to the problems you have sorted out all through your site is a serious case, and the ones that would have negatively affected my career if I hadn’t come across your web blog. The training and kindness in touching a lot of stuff was invaluable. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come across such a point like this. It’s possible to at this point relish my future. Thank you very much for this expert and sensible help. I will not be reluctant to refer your web sites to anybody who should receive guide about this subject.

  113. Hello sir..
    I wanna connect my old sata harddrive with with the esata port ..
    Can i do this??

  114. Dzien,
    Sorry I didn’t see your comment earlier, I’m not sure how I missed it. I’m glad you found some useful information here.

    Thank for dropping by!

  115. Hi Subho,
    I think the article is talking about the combo port that some of the people who have left comments mention. I haven’t seen one yet, so I couldn’t tell you.

    I believe that with those combo ports, if are using a USB cable to connect to a USB drive, then you’re on the USB bus. If you’re using a eSATA cable to connect to a eSATA drive, then you’re on a hard drive controller.

    The connectors between USB and eSATA drives are pretty different, and they don’t fit each other.

  116. Mike,
    Thanks for all your great info. If I understood correctly in earlier comments, If I have an esata port on my computer I should be able to boot from an external HD with that particular computers OS loaded on the external HD. I have an Acer Revo nettop w/ Win7 64 bit OS. It has an esata port. I would like to be able to boot from the internal or external HD at my choosing. One for web surfing, streaming, ect. The other for my more secure online stuff. Banking, taxes, business, ect. Should I somehow load my Revo recovery disk onto the external HD and choose which to boot from at start up? Would I have to change anything in the BIOS? Any procedural info would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance, Tom

  117. Thanks for stopping by Tom!

    Yes, you should be able to boot from it. I would think that you could just install windows again, and tell it to install on the eSATA drive. It should modify the boot menu, so all you have to do is choose which OS to load.

    Of course, I would make sure you have a good backup before you try it. 🙂

    However, it may be easier for you to create a virtual machine using Virtualbox of some other free Virtualization software. You could run whichever OS you would use the least frequently, and then you only have to start the virtual machine when you need to do that sort of work.

  118. Thanks for such a quick response. I’ll look into both suggestions and see what happens.

    Thanks again, Tom

  119. I’m really loving the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility issues? A small number of my blog readers have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any solutions to help fix this issue?

  120. I just got a new desktop Acer AX3200 SFF Desktop AMD Phenom-X3 4GB DDR2 640GB Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Vista 32 bit it has a esata port on the back next to the HDMI
    port.Want to know if there is any way i could hook up my old internal hard drive to it
    so i can get info off it.

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