Question USB adapters or enclosures that support much older HDDs ?

cheezwizz

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I've had an ongoing problem where I need to back up dozens of older hard drives (just think anywhere from when 2GB was brand new and even all the way back to when auto detection wasn't even a thing) and the main issue is that where a PC, even a "modern" one, will recognize and display the contents of one of these drives connected directly to the machine, none are recognized in my external enclosures.

I don't necessarily need an enclosure specifically, but being able to hot plug/swap these drives is incredibly important. "Why not just plug them directly into the computer like you said?" Well, aside from the fact this requires starting up and shutting down multiple times, which takes a long time, I've run into an issue where the larger drives can't be imaged due to lack of RAM, and the latest PC I own that I can do this with will neither be quick about it or have enough RAM to begin with. I also can't connect my storage for the drive images and will have to juggle even more machines.

There are dozens upon dozens of devices to connect an HDD to a newer PC by USB, so... Is there something I missed?
 

Lutfij

Titan
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none are recognized in my enclosures.
Which one do you have? A link to said enclosure would help.

You could look into an HDD dock though please keep in mind that they also tend to fail or are nitpicky with what sort of drives you can drop into them. I've had drives that seemed to look dead but were functioning when directly plugged into a PC's SATA data and power ports. I've had the inverse happen as well.
 

dwd999

Honorable
I've had an ongoing problem where I need to back up dozens of older hard drives (just think anywhere from when 2GB was brand new and even all the way back to when auto detection wasn't a thing) and the main issue is that where a PC, even a "modern" one, will recognize and display the contents of one of these drives connected directly to the machine, none are recognized in my enclosures.

I don't necessarily need an enclosure specifically, but being able to hot plug/swap these drives is incredibly important. "Why not just plug them directly into the computer like you said?" Well, aside from the fact this requires starting up and shutting down multiple times, which takes a long time, I've run into an issue where the larger drives can't be imaged due to lack of RAM, and the latest PC I own that I can do this with will neither be quick about it or have enough RAM to begin with. I also can't connect my storage for the drive images and will have to juggle even more machines.

There are dozens upon dozens of devices to connect an HDD to a newer PC by USB, so... Is there something I missed?
The primary issue with external hdds is power; most usb ports won't provide enough power for a motorized drive so the external enclosure or dock needs to have a really good power supply of its own.
 
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cheezwizz

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Starting with "what kind of enclosure", I'm afraid I don't have much information about that anymore. One of them was an old bulky enclosure meant for both 3.5 and 5.25 size drives that has since been tossed out. There was another but I don't have it readily available at the moment. The last one I own presently is probably this one, or something visually identical.
Edit: I realize now that this isn't the same model as it claims to be SATA, but the one I own is for both types. Including this edit for clarity.

I don't know why everyone is assuming I need power, when I very clearly stated my problem only happens specifically with much older HDDs. My enclosures work perfectly with any drive made within the past 25-ish years and they are definitely already powered. It's the older drives that simply don't get recognized. They even power on and spin up, there's just something missing in how they work that, depending on the situation, either causes them to completely fail to be recognized, or just show as "uninitialized" even when they work just fine on their own in a computer.

By coincidence or otherwise, pretty much any drives under 1GB tend to simply be unreadable externally, though a few above that threshold still selectively fail like this. I'm providing a picture of the label of one of them as an example. This one is an 85MB model, I think.

 
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USAFRet

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We were (at least I was) assuming the power issue, because:
"There are dozens upon dozens of devices to connect an HDD to a newer PC by USB, so "

3.5" drives, old or new, can't run on USB alone.

Moving on...
An 85MB drive may have simply failed completely. It is, after all 30 something years old.

You've verified this is an IDE drive, not SCSI?
And you have a viable IDE adapter with wall power?
 

cheezwizz

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IDE. Works directly in a computer as I said, too. I can throw a regular 2TB 7200RPM drive in that enclosure with the same connector and it'll work just as well as it ever did in a PC.
 

cheezwizz

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I guess that changes my question to "does anything exist that will allow me to hot swap these CHS mode drives", or will I be spending a very long time getting intimate with the least ideal setup?
 

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