Problem: Windows 10 Disk Management does not correctly detect drives over 2TB connected via USB 3.0 to SATA adapter. Instead of the correct size, it shows 16380GB (aka 16TB) no matter what drive I connect. No drive letter can be assigned and all partition options are gray.

I am using the following setup:

  • Windows 10 x64 Home on an Acer Predator notebook

  • LogiLink Adapter USB 3.0 to SATA (AU0013)

  • Larger than 2TB drives, formatted previously GPT on Windows 7

  • All drivers up to date, all drivers re-scanned for force-update

Other details:

  • I have 2 adapters that I tested and they behave the same (simultaneously too).

  • I have tested with 3TB Seagate older HDD and 8TB WD Pro HDD. Same size is incorrectly shown: 16384GB.

  • I have tested smaller than 2TB drives and they are detected correctly.

  • I have checked diskpart and it shows the correct size for each drive.

  • Disk Management lists the partitions as "GPT protective partition"

  • I assume the problem is with the bridge translation, but how do I fix it ?

  • Sounds like a problem with the adapters controller and nothing to do with GPt – Ramhound Jul 21 '17 at 22:49
  • Hope it's that easy. I'll do some more testing and update on the situation. – Overmind Jul 25 '17 at 18:23

This was a much more complex issue than I anticipated. I will explain what is wrong here, so others will know what to do in case the problem is encountered.

The actual root cause of this issue is that the SATA controllers on the USB-SATA adapters are not hardware controllers but software emulators of SATA controllers.

This causes the following behavior:

  • A HDD over 2TB initialized and formatted on a normal PC/Server SATA controller will not be correctly detected by the SATA-USB adapter fake software controller.

  • A HDD over 2TB initialized and formatted on the adapter's fake software controller will not be correctly detected by any standard SATA ports.

The actual solution to the problem is to use a SATA-USB adapter that has a hardware SATA controller. For example, the adapter made by Anker has a hardware controller and will correctly function with SATA drives over 2TB initialized on a normal SATA port.

Technically, this problem has to do with how the software controller interprets the drive's sectors. Somehow the controller ignores the fact that the drive has 4k sectors and assumes it's based on 512b sectors, causing the software to over-count the physical sectors of the HDD.

Practically, all adapters with software controllers are incompatible with the actual SATA spec and miss-translate the sector information.

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