[SOLVED] I have several hard drives that work in one PC but show as uninitialized in another PC.

bbrehm6525

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They might have originally been internal hard drives, I forget. Now I use a docking port on the two PCs. One is Win7 64 bit and the other is Win 10 32 bit. Interestingly, some of the hard drives only work in the one PC and other hard drives only work in the other PC. These are mostly 3TB drives but also some smaller ones as low as 500GB. I've search and searched but all questions were not identical and most answers have been the hard drive is bad, go to a professional recovery service or initialize but you will lose your data. Not useful for my case. How can I make these hard drives work in both PCs or any other PC? Thanks...
 

Colif

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Do the drives that only work with one pc happen to only work in win 10?

its possibly how they are formatted. If they formatted as GPT then the Win 7 PC may not be able to read the contents and just see 1 big partition. this is a protective method used to stop the installers just writing over GPT format because they don't recognise it.
 

bbrehm6525

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Do the drives that only work with one pc happen to only work in win 10?

its possibly how they are formatted. If they formatted as GPT then the Win 7 PC may not be able to read the contents and just see 1 big partition. this is a protective method used to stop the installers just writing over GPT format because they don't recognise it.
No. I have close to 20 hard drives. Some work on the Win 10 PC and some on the Win 7. It's like MS didn't care about compatibility between the two OSs. But I know that's not realistic. Sorry I didn't check which are GPT and which are MBR. If I did that what would I learn? I can still do that. Is GPT for more than 2TB and MBR for only up to 2TB? That might be the reason I did it that way. In fact my Win7 PC used to be Win 10 until the SSD went back after the free upgrade period and I had to backtrack. Maybe it is due to that. Now I have a new SSD I can test that too, although troublesome.
 

bbrehm6525

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One of the drives shows up as GPT protected partition on Win 10 32 bit and shows up as uninitialized on Win 7 64 bit. I read that I should be able access the drive on Win 10 64 bit but I don't have that readily available. I think the other SSD I mentioned might be Win 10 64 bit so I'll try later today and I'll also check the others for MBR / GPT.
 

bbrehm6525

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Can you show us the Partitions windows in DMDE?

https://dmde.com/
Below is a table of 12 drives and MBR / GPT read from the DMDE program and size and what the drives do on each of the two PCs. Disk 009 is probably just bad. It seems all the MBR drives can be read on both PCs.

I took screenshots of the Partitions windows in DMDE for each of the drives. But I can't see how to upload them here. The insert images needs a web address, not an address on my PC. Meanwhile I uploaded them to my Dropbox and here's a link to see them. I hope it's okay to do it this way. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/j03y5uw45jj34zb/AACZjKU8TEyol7MehujzUinsa?dl=0

NumberMBR / GPTCapacityWin7 64 bitWin 10 32 bit
001​
GPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedGPT protective partition
002​
GPT [4K]3TBT:GPT protective partition
003​
MBR2TBI:D:
004​
GPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedF:
005​
GPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedD:
006​
GPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedD:
007​
MBR1.5TBI:D:
008​
MBR2TBI:D:
009​
Undetected1TBUndetectedUndetected
010​
GPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedD:
011​
GPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedD:
012​
MBR500GBI:D:
 
The problem appears to be that you have switched between environments that are configured with 4KB and 512B sector sizes.

For example, in the 005b.png screenshot there is an NTFS Data partition which was created when the drive was in a 512e environment (eg connected to a SATA port inside your PC). Its 512e sector range is 264192 - 5860532223, which corresponds to a capacity of 3TB when the sector size is 512B. However, if you now place this drive in a 4KB enclosure, the capacity of this partition will be seen as 24TB (= 8 x 3TB).

Seagate's external drives are configured with MBR partitions in order to be compatible with Windows XP. The USB-SATA bridge firmware inside the enclosure is configured for a sector size of 4KB.

Western Digital does similar things, although it supplies a WDformatter tool which enables the user to configure the enclosure for 512B or 4KB (4KB = "Windows XP compatibility mode").
 
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bbrehm6525

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I hadn't noticed that it said 24TB. Thanks for pointing that out.

The first nine drives in my table are Seagate and the last three are WD. The first two are newer ones that I bought within the last two years. The rest are probably five years old and older.

I can't recall for sure, but the two newer ones I probably would have formatted in one of my two docking stations. The rest of them were probably formatted in a workstation PC as internal drives. I can remember having to figure out how to get a 3TB partition on at least some of them when they only wanted to be formatted 2TB maximum but I don't remember how I solved that.

By 4KB enclosure do you mean the docking station? I have three and I'm not sure which one I used to format those two drives. I have a Sabrent DS-UBLK like this https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-External-Docking-Station-DS-UBLK/dp/B00IKAQ538, a Neo dual dock like this https://www.hachi.tech/storage-terminal/memory-cards-blank-media/blank-media/neo-usb30-hdd-docking-station--0633090059131 and an "All=in 1 HDD Docking" station model 875 like this http://www.onsite-computers.co.uk/all-in-1-docking-station-drivers.html. Definitely the latter one was not use to format the two drives as I only got it recently, but I could use it for any testing.

I'm a bit confused about the 4K sector size. Shouldn't the docking station recognize from the hard drive itself what the sector size is and adapt appropriately? Is there any way to get it to do so? There is a firmware upgrade for the Sabrent to allow it to handle up to 8 TB drives. Would upgrading that help my issue?

Is there any way to get these drives to work in both of my PCs or is the only way to reformat? Then if so, how should I format to get them to work everywhere? I Do still use XP on one laptop but I don't really need these drives to be connected to that laptop. If I need anything from them it would be rare and I could transfer over the network.

Btw, I don't think I said it that all the DMDE screenshots were taken on the Win 7 64 bit PC with the Sabrent doc. Would it show anything useful to grab the screenshots on the Win 10 32 bit PC with the Neo?

Thanks!
 
By "4KB enclosure" I mean any dock or enclosure which incorporates a USB-SATA bridge whose firmware is configured to report a 4KB sector size to the USB host. The host PC sees a 4Kn USB mass storage device, even though the actual HDD behind the bridge is a 512e device. When the host OS writes a 4KB sector to the bridge, the bridge firmware splits it into eight 512-byte logical sectors (LBAs), and these 8 sectors are then written to the 512e drive. All this happens transparently to the OS.

The reason for this approach is in order to circumvent the 2TiB capacity limit of MBR partitions. Each partition record in the partition table in sector 0 has 4 bytes allocated to the partition size. These 4 bytes represent the number of sectors in the partition. The largest number than can be stored in 4 bytes is 2^32, ie approximately 4 billion. So this means that the maximum capacity of an MBR partition is 4 billion sectors, which for 512e sectors amounts to 2TiB (= 512 x 2^32 bytes). One way to increase the capacity limit beyond 2TiB is to increase the sector size. Seagate chose 4KB which then means that the new limit becomes 16TiB.

So now when the OS examines the partition records in sector 0, it sees the total number of sectors, not the actual capacity in bytes. The total capacity now depends on the sector size which is reported to the host by the drive (internal) or the bridge (external).

The "8TB firmware upgrade" for the Sabrent is ambiguous. Early enclosures were limited to 32-bit LBAs, which meant that any drive larger than 2TiB would be truncated. For example, a 3TB drive has 5,860,533,168 sectors.

In hexadecimal notation this is …
  • 5860533168 = 0x15D50A3B0
This number consists of 33 bits. If the bridge firmware has a 32-bit LBA limitation, then it will see only 0x5D50A3B0 sectors, ie the leading "1" will be ignored.

The reported capacity will then be ...
  • 0x5D50A3B0 sectors x 512 bytes per sector = 801GB or 746GiB
The ATA standard supports 48-bit LBAs, as do all modern drives. It could be that the Sabrent upgrade involves the addition of 48-bit LBA support. However, this means that capacities would not be limited to 8TB, as the marketing statement would imply.

As for your question regarding DMDE screenshots, it does not matter which OS DMDE runs under -- the output will be the same.
 
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ISTM that you should first determine the sector size used by each of your docks. To this end I would select one of your 2TB or smaller HDDs and see how DMDE displays the partition info for each dock. A totally vacant drive may be better for this test. Similarly, I would take a vacant 3TB drive or larger and perform the same test. I'm wondering whether the dock's firmware autoconfigures the sector size depending on the detected capacity. ?!
 

bbrehm6525

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Hi fzabkar. Thanks for the very detailed explanation. I am in the process of doing just that. I'm going to check all 12 drives on all three docking ports and update the folder with the screen shots. Already on the All-in-1 unit on Win7, I am able to read more drives than I could with the Sabrent on which I did the original testing on Win 7. And I could see the All-in-1 shows many more sectors than the Sabrent shows, so I guess that indicates 48 bit vs 32 bit. I'll update later today after I test with the Neo dock.
 

bbrehm6525

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I've updated the set of screenshots of the Partitions window from DMDE. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/j03y5uw45jj34zb/AACZjKU8TEyol7MehujzUinsa?dl=0 Those starting with N are on Win 7 with the Neo dock. Those starting with A are Win 7 on the All-in-1 dock. Those starting without a letter are from the Sabrent dock.

The new table of results is below.

It seems pretty clear that the Sabrent is not able to handle most drives above 2TB and that are GPT instead of MBR. Perhaps I will try updating it since I don't have much to lose.

1. But why is it able to read drive 002 as a 3TB drive with GPT4K? Is there something different with this drive as compared to the other 3TB drives that can't be read? I see differences like the partition is GUID but not really sure yet what a GUID partition is. (I do know what a GUID is.)

2. Is there anything that I can do to recover drive 001? I'm pretty sure this used to have a 2TB partition on it. I've read that GPT protective partition can be read with Win 10 64 bit but I don't have that working on any PC I have easy access to. Can something be done with DMDE to fix it?

3. Is there anything that can be dome with DMDE or any other program to be able to read the rest of the 3TB drives on the Sabrent?

4. If these can't be fixed to be read on all docks, then I might choose to reformat some or all of them. What is your recommendation on how to do that so that they could be read on all my docks and on both Win 7 and 10?

The Sabrent and the Neo are USB 3 but the All-in-1 is only USB 2. So even though the drives can be read on the All-in-1, the slow speed makes using it undesirable. I mainly have because it also supports IDE drives.

Thanks!

PS: I will look at those links you sent me now.



NumberManufacturerModelMBR / GPTCapacityWin7 SabrentWin7 All-in-1Win7 NeoWin10 Neo
001​
SeagateST3000DM001GPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedUnallocatedUnallocatedGPT protective partition
002​
SeagateST3000DM001GPT [4K]3TBT:UnallocatedUnallocatedGPT protective partition
003​
SeagateST2000DM001MBR2TBI:J:I:D:
004​
SeagateST3000DM001GPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedJ:I:F:
005​
SeagateST3000DM001GPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedJ:I:D:
006​
SeagateST3000DM001GPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedJ:I:D:
007​
SeagateST31500341ASMBR1.5TBI:J:I:D:
008​
SeagateST2000NM0011MBR2TBI:J:I:D:
009​
SeagateST1000DM003MBR1TBUndetectedJ:. K:. L:CorruptUndetected
010​
Western DigitalWD30EZRXGPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedJ:I:D:
011​
Western DigitalWD30EZRXGPT [4K]3TBUnallocatedJ:I:D:
012​
Western DigitalWD5000AADSMBR500GBI:J:I:D:
 
Those are some very interesting results (I learned something new). :)

The first thing I'd like to point out is that images 007.png, 008.png and 009.png have disappeared.

The next item is HDD 009. The fact that it is "undetected" in two of your docks but not the third would suggest that some docks timeout if the drive takes too long to spin up and come ready. This may in turn suggest that this particular drive has physical problems. I would examine its SMART report with CrystalDiskInfo. Look for reallocated, pending or uncorrectable sectors.

My next observation is that your Neo and All-in-1 docks report a sector size of 512B to the host PC for all drives. The Sabrent dock, OTOH, configures itself to report a 512B sector size if the drive's capacity is 2TB or less, and a sector size of 4KB if the drive's capacity is greater than 2TB. This was a surprise!

Drives 3, 7, 8 and 12 all have capacities of 2TB or less, and are correctly detected by all docks. Each dock reports a sector size of 512B to the host PC, and each drive has an MBR partition.

Drives 4, 5, 6, 10 and 11 are correctly detected in the All-in-1 and Neo docks, but not in the Sabrent. That's because these 3TB+ drives were set up in a 512e environment, but the Sabrent dock has now autoconfigured itself for 4Kn mode.

Drive 2 is correctly detected in the Sabrent dock, but not in the others. This is because the drive was set up in a 4KB environment, and the Sabrent dock has obligingly autoconfigured itself for 4Kn mode to match the 3TB capacity.

Drive 1 appears to have been partitioned in a 4KB environment, but the original NTFS volume was subsequently reformatted in a 512B environment. That's why the file system is not visible in any dock or any OS. If you double-click "New Volume" and expand the Root, hopefully you will see your file/folder tree.
 
Just FYI, here are two other variations for USB-SATA bridges.

This "Verbatim USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Desktop Hard Drive 3TB" is enumerated as 2 "virtual" physical disks, 2.2TB (= 2TiB) + 0.8TB. BIOS shows 2 USB devices. The enclosure contains a single 3TB HDD.

https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/external-usb3-3tb-drive-shows-2-devices.648875/

This USB-SATA adapter is configured with a fixed sector size of 4KB, irrespective of the HDD capacity:

https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/having-issues-connecting-an-ex-laptop-hdd-to-my-computer-with-a-sata-adapter.3504275/
 
This free Microsoft tool will report the logical and physical sector size:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/administration/windows-commands/fsutil-fsinfo

To query the file system's underlying hardware for sector information, type:

  • fsinfo sectorinfo d:
Output similar to the following displays:

  • D:\>fsutil fsinfo sectorinfo d:
    LogicalBytesPerSector : 4096
    PhysicalBytesPerSectorForAtomicity : 4096
    .
    .
    .
    Trim Not Supported
    DAX capable

Edit: Here is an excellent explanation of the 512e/4Kn problem:

https://goughlui.com/2013/10/02/experiment-usb-to-sata-bridge-chips-and-2tb-drives/
 
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bbrehm6525

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I got sidetracked from this for a while, sorry.

I replaced the missing screenshots that you pointed out. Is there any way to upload them to this site for the benefit of anyone that comes across this post in the future? Right now they are in my dropbox but I may have to move them.

I guess there is nothing that can done to fix these drives now. sounds like it's best if I replace that Sabrent port with one that can handle the 48 bit LBA.

Thanks for your help and explanations!
 

bbrehm6525

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thanks fzabkar. there is a file in that dropbox link now called screenshots.zip. let me know when you got it and please post a new link here. thanks again.
 

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