Accessing Faulty External Hard Drive (Seagate Second Level Support Unable To Resolve)


Feb 4, 2018
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.
"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?"

No important data should be stored in but a single location....on a single drive. Consider yourself VERY lucky that your data was retrievable in the simple workaround... (It's what professional data recovery specialist folks are hoping for when folks are willing to pay $300-$600 for a data recovery!)

Seagate data recovery folks should have KNOWN if /when a given external USB drive is normally accessible when it is removed from it's controller housing and connected via normal SATA cable...or if the housing is/was required.