Which Hard Drive Enclosure

By aznn3rd ยท 14 replies
Jun 27, 2009
  1. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    External USB Hard drive enclosures like you show, can either be SATA or IDE, it doesn't matter. All the computer knows is that it is a USB external drive
  2. aznn3rd

    aznn3rd TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 112

    So then is a SATA enclosure compatible with my hard drive?
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    It sounds like you have the external drive you linked too, but the hard drive inside no longer works? If so, how did you come to that conclusion? You might want to make sure it isn't the enclosure itself before you buy a HDD.

    As for what it is, I can't say for sure. Since the marketing crap doesn't stress SATA, it's probably IDE... But since you *know* the hard drive itself is bad, you must have taken it out the enclosure, right? :)
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    More SATA USB Enclosures are now sold, than are ATA enclosures...

    One nice thing is that you can usually recover old data, email, etc (except AOL email) using the USB enclosure even when the hard drive is bad... Not always, but usually....
  5. aznn3rd

    aznn3rd TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 112

    well my laptop doesn't recognize anything at all when I plug the HD in and I tried multiple AC adapters, USB cables, and computers so the only issue must be either a faulty hard drive or a broken enclosure.
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    We have great success, but not perfect success, when we place the laptop hard drives into a Vantec Nextar 3 external enclosure with its own power plug, then plug it into a USB port of a desktop computer.
    IF THE DRIVE WILL TURN AT ALL, we keep it running. (Too often if you stop, it never turns again) than it is detected by the computer as a new drive such as F: or E: We can then use software that recovers data, or we simply drag and drop files from Quicken, My Documents, Palm files, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, or whatever... You have to use special software to recover AOL and other proprietary email programs...

    One thing that is important is that if the drive is turning, keep it turning. Do not turn off the external drive, or wait for later, and to save the files as quickly as you can.

    Most laptop hard drive enclosures do not come with a power adapter, but they are available for a few dollars. When they derive their power from the USB cable into the desktop, that is simply not enough or reliable power to do the job on a defective drive.

    But this does work MUCH better than plugging in the HD, AC Adapter, or USB cable alone.

    If the bearings are gone, or if the drive chip on the hard drive is gone, there is nothing you can do, unless you are good at electronics, then install the chips, or the entire chip section on the back of the hard drive from an identical hard drive.

    Whatever you do, do not open the case that exposes the three plates with the magnetic media, as that is the end of the drive and any chance of rescue.
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I really like the quality of those enclosures, especially for the price.

    Replacing the electronics is very easy even for a novice -- it just requires a micro screw driver and the removal of a few surface screws. Finding the exact same PCB though, is the challenging part. eBay is a good place to look.

    If Windows doesn't even give you the 'new device detected' sound, then your enclosure is almost certainly bad. That could be good news, since your data should be safe on the drive. You'll just need to remove the hard drive from the enclosure and buy a new enclosure. As raybay pointed out, the Vantec Nextstars are good quality, nice looking enclosures that aren't too expensive. www.newegg.com is a good place to look.

    If your enclosure IS being detected (you hear the Windows device connection sound), but still doesn't show up under My Computer... then you probably have yourself a hard drive failure. That means the enclosure is probably still fine, but the drive itself is bad.
  8. aznn3rd

    aznn3rd TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 112

    I was looking around, but I'm a little bit confused about the difference between the Vantec Nexstar 3 and the Nexstar CX. Is the only difference the quality of the materials with no effect on the interior product?

    Also, I'm still not sure if my current hard drive is IDE or SATA. Is there a way to confirm ?

  9. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Your best confirmation will be opening it. You'll have to do this anyway, so might as well take a look before you invest in a new HDD or enclosure. :)

    Unfortunately, there is no way to tell for sure since the manufacturer doesn't provide that info (didn't see it online). However, I *do* see that the Prestige is available with an eSATA port option -- That's probably a good indication that there is a SATA drive inside... But open it and check first. You'd be surprised at how many manufacturers have actually been using 500GB IDE drives.

    The CX has a different look, but there's no reason to believe its much different otherwise. Just buy whatever looks best to you and works with your hard drive (SATA? IDE? 3.5" HDD? USB? Firewire? eSATA? etc..). It doesn't have to the Vantec Nextstar either, although Raybay and I can vouch for their decent enclosure products.
  10. aznn3rd

    aznn3rd TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 112

    I checked the Iomega site, and it is indeed eSATA. After research various enclosures, three come close: Vantec Nexstar 3, Macally g-s350sua, and Antec MX-100. My only concern is that as none of these have active fans, would the drives be too hot and die quickly?
  11. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    No, the enclosure is the heatsink for the drive. Just don't leave it on 24/7
  12. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Not enough heat to worry about... if you can run it as an active drive at all, it is going to run slowly on the end of a USB cable.
    We run them for as long as 12 hours straight while recovering data and repairing corrupted drives... with no real worry about heat...
    Some other brands get very hot... if there is not adequate room inside the enclosure.
  13. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Size, ruggedness, reliability.
    The NextStar 3 is the most universally usable, unless you need a smaller device that doesn't require long use cooling.
  14. aznn3rd

    aznn3rd TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 112

    Bad news: I got a new enclosure, but it seems like all was in vain as it was still not detected by my computer. An interesting thing: when I opened the case of my Iomega, I found that the HDD was a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500gb, a model known for bricking due to a firmware issue. Yet because I had bought it from an OEM and not from Seagate, itself, I was not qualified for free data recovery. What should I do? It's rather strange that I seem to be one of a small handful to encounter this specific issue :(
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