I removed a working mSATA hard drive from a Dell Latitude E7450. It appears to have an SATA connector, and I can replace it with a full SATA drive and the computer can see that new drive.

But when I try to plug this drive (still in its frame, with the SATA adapter, which I think is a SATA to mSATA Adapter Caddy model FCN4M) into an external USB adapter and/or an external USB hard drive case to copy files (both are externally powered), the drive is not seen at all by the other computer (just the adapters are seen, and the adapters work fine with the full SATA drive).

Why doesn't this drive + it's mSATA to SATA adapter work with any of my SATA to USB adapters?

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  • Hello there. Is it possible your drive was encrypted or password protected on your Dell? If yes, then you need to remove it... If there is no such protection, the simplest way is to buy a third-party mSATA to USB adapter. ex. amazon.com/Aluminum-External-Enclosure-Interface-Internal/dp/… – Natsu Kage Jan 26 '20 at 0:45
  • As far as I can tell, the drive is not encrypted. BitLocker was not enabled in Windows. – simpleuser Jan 26 '20 at 0:46
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    Have you checked with another PC in case? There is a chance that the FCN4M can only work with the E7450 for security reasons. I think only a second mSATA adapter will prove this at this point. – Natsu Kage Jan 26 '20 at 0:50
  • It already has msata to sata adapter, unscrew it from the metal frame, all you need is a 3.5" hard drive usb dock, this is the one I use, I prefer it to the vertical docks>>>>>>ebay.com/itm/… – Moab Jan 26 '20 at 15:35
  • I tried with a 3.5" hard drive USB case, and with a SATA1/2/3 to USB adapter, and neither would work with the drive, regardless of whether it was in or out of the plastic cage. (Although the cage is needed to keep the drive in proper contact with the adapter pins, so I had to use a plastic weight.) I eventually broke down and bought an mSATA to USB case, and it is working fine. STILL, I am interested in WHY the SATA adapters would not talk to the drive thru the adapter. – simpleuser Jan 26 '20 at 22:02

The reason for this is that msata drives require 3.3V. Dell's motherboards make the 3.3V rail available to the sata connector, but most motherboards (and drive enclosures) don't, since plain old 2.5" sata drives don't require that voltage, only the 5V.

In turn, the dell msata caddy assumes that the 3.3V is present and simply jumps the appropriate pins from the sata connector to the msata connector. If you're plugging the caddy into a sata port on anything other than a dell, you're not powering your msata card and the PC doesn't see it.

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