In an eDiscovery litigation matter, there are instances where data is delivered to a litigation support professional on an internal hard drive. An internal hard drive is one that usually resides inside of a desktop computer or laptop and it connects to the computer via a SATA or IDE connection. This is not the same thing as an external hard drive where the hard drive is inside an enclosure that is designed to connect to a computer via a USB port.
In most instances, we need to be careful with an internal hard drive in terms of forensic concerns and we should enlist the help of a forensic expert to gain access to the data on the hard drive. This is important and it should be the first question you ask yourself. If in doubt, hire a forensic expert.
However, there are other instances where data arrives on an internal hard drive and it was used simply as a means to an end, meaning that there are no forensic concerns and for whatever reason someone decided to copy data onto this type of hard drive instead of an external USB drive.
If that is the case, you can use a SATA/IDE adapter to access the hard drive. I have used these adapters many times in my personal life. I keep one handy in a drawer at the office too, just in case.
One end of the adapter is a USB connection and the other end is either a SATA or IDE connection. I always buy the adapters that include a power cord in case I need it to power the hard drive.
Here is an example of one kind I purchase. These cost under $15.
Here is an example of one kind I purchased. This one costs about $30.