Knowledge Base

PCMCIA Cards Do Not Fit in the ExpressCard Slot on a Dell Laptop Computer

What Is an ExpressCard?

ExpressCard, a new PCMCIA format, does not fit in traditional PCMCIA card slots. ExpressCard is a new technology that replaces older and more limited PCMCIA technology. Unlike the larger PCMCIA slots that until recently were commonly found in almost all laptops, the new ExpressCard slots are more compact and accommodate the smaller ExpressCards (Figure 1).

Figure 1: PCMCIA Card (left) and Smaller ExpressCards

For more information about ExpressCards, refer to the ExpressCard FAQ Page.

Benefits of ExpressCards

The benefits of ExpressCards over PCMCIA cards include:

  • A smaller and faster PC card solution
  • Suitable for portable and desktop systems
  • Supports USB 2.0 and new PCI Express devices
  • Less system and card complexity

Using Caddies to Adapt ExpressCards to Fit PCMCIA Slots

For those wanting to use an ExpressCard with the older PCMCIA card slots, adapters do exist. Simply insert the ExpressCard into the caddie as directed in the caddie manual, and then insert the caddie into the PCMCIA slot of your computer (Figure 2).

These adapters are not meant to be used alone in the traditional PCMCIA slots, nor can PCMCIA cards be used in the new ExpressCard slots. Attempting to do so can cause damage to the card and the computer.

One example adapter is SIIG's Active ExpressCard/34 Card Adapter. Note that it does not work with all ExpressCards. Follow all manufacturer instructions with regard to using these adapters and be careful to only use them with supported ExpressCards.

Figure 2: ExpressCard Caddie

Dell Laptop Expansion Slot Configurations

Refer to the following chart to see which slot comes with your particular Dell laptop computer (Table 1).

Dell Computer
ExpressCard Slot

All currently shipping models

  • XT Tablet



  • D420
  • D430
With caddie
  • D520
  • D530
  • D531
With caddie
  • D620
  • D630
  • D631
With caddie
  • D820
  • D830
  • M90
  • M2300
With caddie
  • M4300
With caddie
  • M6300

All currently shipping models


Table 1: Dell Laptops

*Depending on factory configuration

Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN49444

Last Date Modified: 04/15/2016 03:45 PM

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