I was instructed to replace the hard drive in an old laptop, a Dell Latitude D505. I'm suspecting that there was a head crash when someone moved the laptop while it was turned on. In the specifications, I found this about the hard drive:

30GB ATA-100; (4200RPM); 40GB ATA-100 (5400RPM); 60GB ATA-100 (4200RPM)

*Optional 40GB (5400) 2nd HDD Module for media bay

I'm familiar with SATA and IDE, but ATA-100 doesn't ring a bell. What do I have to take into account when I go look for a replacement hard drive?


TL:DR version. Other answers wrong. D505 bios seems to only access disks up to 120GB.

Every ATA100/66 capable disk can be connected. Even most older drives over say 20GB should work. Might try spare if available. Otherwise: Take sub 120 GB drive or try bigger drive with capacity limit capability (Most drives can, ask vendor, also for remaining capacity) I would try big drive as support info on old computers is often outdated. If big disk is not recognized by bios, jumper for cap limit. The benefit of better performance in contemporary hdds remains.

long version: ATA100 is an IDE flavour with improved speed. The capability has been in general use a long time before Your laptop.

According to Dell the other answers are wrong. Dell says that the system takes only disks up to 120 GB.

This is also wrong technically. The system will only access disks which announce a capacity of up to 120 GB to the bios. It will take any ata100 disk.

Modern drives can be limited in capacity for such cases. This is done by jumper and affects the identification of the drive against the bios as well as actually accessible storage space. You effectively loose storage space as long as the drive is used in that laptop.

The amount of remaining storage differs from disk and manufacturer wise, sometimes it's 32GB, sometimes 64 GB or 80GB.

  • 1
    The latest D505 BIOS (A11) doesn't support INT13 functionality, meaning that older OS's (i.e. XP SP2 and below) can't boot from >120GB disks - however newer OS's (i.e. XP SP3, Vista, W7, newer *nix's) WILL support >120GB disks in this machine. Dell even sell their own 160GB drive for this machine (accessories.euro.dell.com/sna/… & techstore.co.uk/browse.php?a=p&prodLineID=154341). So the other answers aren't wrong. – Chopper3 May 19 '10 at 12:53
  • I researched but didn't find that specific information, but not pointing that out still was an error. Technically and from an admin point of view I support Your view, and I don't want to be picky, but in this case i'd maintain my view: According to specs (dell.com/downloads/us/products/latit/d505_spec.pdf) laptop comes with XP SP1 so if the restore media were created upon purchase or if the OP didn't have a slipstreamed install cd / sp3 recovery image the OS wouldn't boot AFAIK. The question was replace disk and not upgrade the os. Well at least the 120GB problem needs mentioning. – deploymonkey May 19 '10 at 13:48
  • What about EIDE disks? Are they okay? besteprijzen.be/componenten-intern/harddisk/… – Pieter May 19 '10 at 16:55
  • I wrote a new answer because I prepared some links for You..... – deploymonkey May 20 '10 at 2:52
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    At one point during that model's life Dell were shipping them with 160GB disks and XP SP3, given we weren't told the OS then an upgrade may be needed. – Chopper3 May 20 '10 at 5:45

ATA is at the end equal to IDE.
So just search for an ide 2,5 drive...probably not to easy to find now.
About ATA and IDE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_ATA


EIDE will work AFAIK. EIDE, PATA, ATA, UATA, UltraAta, ATA100, ATA66 are all denominations of IDE flavours. The year of Your laptop (2004 or newer AFAIK) is pretty recent for IDE, I don't see a reason for it not to support any mode.

If You want to, You can post the model of the dead drive and I will look it up for You.

The drive You listed is ok. If You are a corporate IT technician and should repair a corporate Laptop (You wrote "ordered", which only bosses usually do) then I would go with that drive as it should be bigger than the original drive and is the cheapest in the list. Accountants look at every penny and I would assume that this laptop currently has a role that is matched to its former capabilities. (In Corporate I usually go with KISS philosophy {keep it simple, stupid} whereever I can if it doesn't hurt processes, because changes usually disrupt users/staff)

(As long as none of the others have any issues with the drive. I don't know of any issues with the model.)

Which OS will go on the laptop? If it is not for corporate but consumer they might be happy to pay a premium for a bigger drive.

  • Alrighty. I think I'll try an EIDE <120GB hard disk then, since they seem to be the easiest to get where I live. If I find a mom and pop shop, I'll ask if they can take the drive and test it before I buy it. It's not a corporate job by the way, it's just a favor I'm doing someone. Perhaps "I was instructed" was not the best way to put it but I'm not a native speaker of English so weird stuff like that happens... ;-) – Pieter May 20 '10 at 19:02
  • Never mind, I'm happy to help ;) – deploymonkey May 20 '10 at 20:12

Pieter, you don't state where you are but I'll assume by your name you're in Europe - as such have a look at THIS link to a pan-European computer supplier's 2.5~ ATA/IDE drives page - I'm pretty sure any of these drives will work just fine for you.

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