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Windows 7: Seagate External Desktop Hard Drive Access After Enclosure Failure

2 Weeks Ago   #1
santas helper

Nil
 
 
Seagate External Desktop Hard Drive Access After Enclosure Failure

Hi All,



I use a lot of external USB hard drives, and always make sure they are the type where the enclosed HDD has SATA connectors (rather than proprietary), so that if the enclosure fails, the data can still be retrieved from the drive located inside the original enclosure.


I have a Seagate Expansion Desktop USB 3TB Drive (model SRD00F2). This failed, and I was able to ascertain that the controller failed, and the internal HDD was fine.


Easy fix, so I thought. I tried putting the internal drive from faulty Seagate enclosure into an Orico External enclosure (model 3139u3). This enclosure supports SATA hdds up to 10Gb capacity.


The internal HDD from the faulty Seagate enclosure (a SATA Barracuda ST3000DM001) was installed in the Orico enclosure, but this is not accessible, with the only option being to format the installed drive.


There are plenty of in-depth articles about hard drive size limitations, as well as GPT etc etc, so no need to discuss these here.


I was able to come to the conclusion that the internal Seagate drive was OK, by carefully cracking open another Seagate external drive that I had, and putting the drive (from the faulty enclosure) into this known working controller. The drive was fully accessible – all data intact.


So, I have a workaround – just use the temp Seagate controller to transfer all data from the HDD to another location.


What is really bugging me, is that if I did not happen to have a spare Seagate enclosure, I would not have had any way to access the data from this drive. (I made contact with Seagate first and second level support, and they advised they did not know of a way to access this data. They also do not provide replacement enclosures. They told me that the controller inside this enclosure is not proprietary.


So what I need to know, should this happen again in the future, how do I access the internal hdd if I don’t have a spare working Seagate enclosure?
I have no doubt that if I select to format the Seagate HDD in the Orico enclosure, that the drive will be fine. What would not have been fine, was if the 3TB of data on this drive was not able to be retrieved.


I am hoping someone will be able to assist with a solution. Perhaps there is a brand of third party enclosure that is compatible with the Seagate ones? Surely there must be a workaround.
(Seagate did get me to connect the internal drive directly to a motherboard via SATA cable, but this did not work).


There must be a workable solution.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
2 Weeks Ago   #2
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

From what you have written I guess:

Your 3TB Seagate external drive is most probably an advance formatted 4096 Bytes per sector size MBR drive. The electronics ( SATA to USB bridge) inside the enclosure has a special drive translation circuitry that converts the data stream from 4096 sectors to 512 Bytes data stream and presents it to the OS. If you take it out of the enclosure that drive translation is lost. If you put it in another enclosure - the Orico enclosure in your case - the SATA to USB bridge circuit in that enclosure may not have the drive translation circuitry and hence you won't be able to access the data. Put it in another Seagate enclosure - which I presume is another >2TB external - bought at the same period, its SATA to USB bridge circuit has that drive translation circuit and you are able to access the data. You may run MiniTool Partition Wizard and check that it is an MBR drive.

"....... Perhaps there is a brand of third party enclosure that is compatible with the Seagate ones?"


These 512bytes/sector to 4096 bytes per sector translation advance formatted larger than 2TB MBR drives belong to the Windows XP era and were so done to make those compatible with XP, which does not recognise GPT. With Windows XP gone, the current breed of external drives do not resort to this MBR trick and all current >2TB drives come factory formatted as GPT drives. No more Drive Translation to make it an MBR drive.You won't get a third party enclosure with drive translation built-in.

"I am hoping someone will be able to assist with a solution......(Seagate did get me to connect the internal drive directly to a motherboard via SATA cable, but this did not work).Surely there must be a workaround.There must be a workable solution."


That someone is none else than jumanji ....... and this his workable solution:

If you want to recover the data, the right course would be to connect it as an internal drive, use TestDisk, check what sector size is shown and if it shows 512 bytes change it to 4096 bytes per sector and ask it to read the data. ( This is software drive translation to make up for the missing hardware drive translation).TestDisk will successfully read the data as coming from the 4096 byte stream and list all the files/folders. Copy all data to another drive. After recovering the data, you can initialise and format it as a GPT drive. Use it as an internal drive or put it in any currently available external enclosure as you please.

A successful case history here Hard Drive seems corrupt. 1 Partition now showing as 3 Partitions? Solved - Windows 10 Forums

( You did a good job and you were lucky to have another Seagate external with drive translation built-in - old tech )
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #3
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Jumanji, I'm a little confused.

Please correct if I'm wrong.
- As I understood, to overcome the 2.2 G limitation on a MBR disk, the disk was formatted (by Seagate) with 4096 Bytes per sector instead or regular 512 Bytes per sector. Bigger 4096 Bytes per sector = less sectors.
- The Seagate electronics (translator) splits the 4096 Bytes sector in eight 512 bytes and presents it to the OS.

I didn't understand the solution.
"If you want to recover the data the right course would be to connect it as an internal drive, use TestDisk, check what sector size is shown and if it is 512 bytes change it to 4096 bytes per sector and ask it to read the data."

As an internal drive, it doesn't have the translator, wouldn't it be shown as 4096 bytes per sector?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

2 Weeks Ago   #4
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

@Megahertz07, dinner time now. Will devour my dinner and return .
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #5
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Hi @Megahertz07,

"As an internal drive, it doesn't have the translator, wouldn't it be shown as 4096 bytes per sector?"

No and that is the problem. Windows 7 will see it as a legacy 512 bytes/sector drive and that is the reason why it won't read the drive. It will look for the synchronising/clock pulses at the beginning and end of the 512 bytes. Unable to find those in the designated place, it will ask you to format the drive. (When this logical sector size is transformed into 4096 byte/sector physical sector size, the drive translation circuit rearranges this synchronising/clock pulses and puts those synchronising/clock pulses at the beginning and end of the 4096 byte stream)

TestDisk also will see it as a 512bytes/sector drive. We shall tell TestDisk " No sir, look into it as a 4096 bytes per sector drive and read the data. It takes that command and seeing the synchronising/clock pulses at the beginning and end of the 4096byte stream, will read the data correctly.This software drive translation carried out by TestDisk is valid for that session only - meaning that it does not make any changes in the drive.

You may also read my post # 2 here 4TB external disk is shown as MBR formatted. How is this possible? Solved - Windows 10 Forums

It may all sound confusing but don't worry. If the OP follows the TestDisk procedure outlined in the thread Hard Drive seems corrupt. 1 Partition now showing as 3 Partitions? Solved - Page 4 - Windows 10 Forums he can recover all data without the need of putting it into another like enclsoure having the Drive Translation circuitry.

If you want to get more confused just google search "Physical and logical sector size in an advance formatted MBR drive"
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #6
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

@jumanji, your explanation on 4TB external disk is shown as MBR formatted. How is this possible? Solved - Windows 10 Forums is excellent.
Thank you very much for the explanation!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Seagate External Desktop Hard Drive Access After Enclosure Failure




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