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USB backup drive enclosure fails, new adaptor shows drive not initialized

Posted on 2013-06-13
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Last Modified: 2014-06-04
Hi - on my backup USB drive the female insert snapped off, so I bought a SATA/IDE to USB adapter. I removed the backup SATA drive from the enclosure attached to the new adapter and now my Windows 7 (64 bit) OS tells me the drive is not initialized. On first insert a window popped up asking if I wanted to initialize, and I hit "cancel".
I have data on the drive that I need. What can I do?
thx
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Question by:Trevor Local
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by:dlethe
ID: 39246255
A fair number of USB to SATA/IDE adapters have embedded RAID capability, even if it is a single disk.  So if either the OLD or the new one had such capability then that would explain this.

Unfortunately, another explanation is that you fried the drive.  So I suggest attaching that HDD to a SATA port and making sure IF it has RAID to disable it, and then booting the PC to a LINUX CD or USB drive.  Then see if LINUX sees data on it.  This is safe because unless you specifically tell LINUX to install on the device then it will do a READ-ONLY mount.

Search for documentation on the USB devices and see if either mention RAID capability. That would be a major red flag.
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Author Comment

by:Trevor Local
ID: 39246382
When I would attach the USB backup drive it would give two partitions. One small partition with some kind of WD software, the other one was the usable data partition. I don't see anything related to RAID for either the drive or adapter.

I attached the drive to an onboard SATA and booted Hirens into PartedMagic and it lists the drive as "unallocated" and "unrecognized Disk Label", though "health" passed.

Not sure how I would have fried the drive but I guess anything is possible. It spins up at least. Any other ideas?
thx
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by:dlethe
ID: 39246403
maybe you don't really have a backup drive enclosure as much as a low-end appliance.  Find a link to the "enclosure" the HDD was in and post it.
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Author Comment

by:Trevor Local
ID: 39246499
Found a link to the product but haven't found a link to the enclosure adapter.
USB drive

would a photo of it help?
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by:dlethe
ID: 39246503
This device has built-in encryption, so if you enabled this feature you are screwed as far as I know.
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by:Trevor Local
ID: 39246566
Pretty sure I didn't enable that feature. I've used the drive on many devices.
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 39246572
I expect the encryption is internal to the device and the NVRAM on the controller chip inside of it.  It would be a poor design and not portable otherwise.

I'd call WDC support and ask them just in case.  They might have a utility you can run or ability to just repair/replace your enclosure under warranty or for a nominal fee.  

If I had the disk in my lab I could tell you with about 5 minutes work, but let's just see if WDC can give you a definitive ruling on the encryption and save us all time and effort of going down the wrong path.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39246763
the reason can also be a lack of power.
i suggest to test  your setup connected to the usb port on the back of the PC
or use a Powered USB hub like this : http://www.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=158910
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Expert Comment

by:marsilies
ID: 39247886
The product page for the WD My Book Essential 2TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive (WDBAAF0020HBK-NESN) mentions this in the details tab:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136397
Password protection and 256-bit encryption

So it looks like the enclosure has encryption built in. The PCB in the enclosure stores the encryption key, so you can't simply swap enclosures:
http://computersciencelabs.blogspot.com/2010/11/256-bit-based-hardware-encryption-on-wd.html

This user was able to get the enclosure working again by soldering the mini USB port back onto the PCB.
http://forum.hddguru.com/viewtopic.php?t=17398&f=1&start=0&sid=aa7423318a49e88cb1f7ada72291cb8c#p117982


As a final note, if you only have one copy of a file, that's not a backup. Always make sure to have at least two copies of any data you want to keep. So, all data on your internal drive, with a backup on the external, or store the data on two externals, each a copy of the other.
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Author Comment

by:Trevor Local
ID: 39248912
On close inspection it looks like two of the four metal pads that sit on the pc board are still attached to the female USB connector that popped off. Not a welding guru-  does that mean that welding is not even an option?

From the HDguru site it seems like I need an exact enclosure replacement or at least a revision that is close (one use claims it worked with a different rev).
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dlethe earned 500 total points
ID: 39248921
It is called soldering.  You can probably find dozens of youtube videos on how to do this, and pick up a soldering iron and solder for $25 at a hardware store, radio shack, or any electronics retailer.  

Watch a video and see if you are up to it.  Practice by soldering some pieces of wire or junked electronic gear you probably have around the house.

Maybe 25 watt iron, and be sure to get solder for electronics, not fixing pipes or heavy duty equipment, so be wary of buying at a hardware store.  Radio shack or a PC repair shop would be a safer choice to make sure you get what you need.   Maybe just offer them $20 to do it for you and you could get lucky if they're not busy.
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by:nobus
ID: 39249632
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Author Closing Comment

by:Trevor Local
ID: 40112743
thanks
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