I have 2 fake external hard drives that claim to have a storage capacity of 2TB. I pulled the enclosure apart and the hard drives seems to be refurbished ones with their labels replaced as Barracuda LP 2000 GB labels (the serial numbers on both labels are the same).

Interestingly, one of the drives have 160G written on it with pencil. However, the counterfeiters seem to have done something to the firmware, because CrystalDiskInfo reports them as 2TB ST2000DL003 drives.

I then delete the 1.81 TB partition in Windows disk management and tried to create a new one and format it. Once I get to this point, the drives would make some noise that is common to dying drives.

I am not interested in using these drives for production, but I am interested in finding the true identity (manufacturer/serial number/model number, etc) and restoring it to their factory defaults with the right capacity.

Can this be done without any special equipment? This would be an interesting learning exercise.

Some pictures of the drives in question: enter image description here enter image description here

Here are the screens from CrystalDiskInfo: enter image description here

enter image description here

Note the serial numbers are the same (these are 2 different drives!). How is this done? Did they have to tamper with the controller board? I would assume that changing the firmware doesn't change the serial number at all.

More digging.

I googled the number on the largest chip on the PCB. The one marked as 160G has the number 100367028 which lead me to this page on onepcbsolution. So, the one on the right is a ST3160812AS. The PCB also looked exactly the same.

For the one on the left, the number is 100367024. Searching for that leads to this page on HDDZone. However, my PCB does not look like the one on their site at all. The PCB actually looks like this one. However, the chip number was suppose to be 100367025, which is slightly different.

However, I have good reason to believe the one on the left is a 7200.9 Seagate drive. The only problem is that it is not apparent how much capacity it has.

Anyhow, is there anyway I can change the firmware (I think that's what the counterfeiters changed) back to the originals? This page does not list any firmware for 7200.9 drives. That is unless they were able to modify the PCB and add their own firmware, but given that the main chips are ball-grid-arrays and the components look machine soldered, it doesn't seem like they would bother.

  • Does this question belong on another forum, programmers perhaps? – Xavierjazz Dec 6 '12 at 1:08
  • @Xavierjazz: No, it's seems fine here at SuperUser. – Viral Jain Dec 6 '12 at 4:02
  • just curious - how do you know its fake? – Journeyman Geek Dec 6 '12 at 6:20
  • @JourneymanGeek: 1. The source of the hard drives believe them to be fakes. 2. Packaging was substandard. 3. Fit and finish of the enclosure was substandard. 4. Hard drives inside look quite used and there were sticker marks of when they removed old labels. 5. New label is of bad quality. 6. When the drive is placed in one of my own enclosures and connected, I see 132 1Gb files. 7. The 2TB drive was formatted as FAT32. :) – F21 Dec 6 '12 at 7:55

Any drive may be identified via the serial number and also by the model version, in case of different model versions.

In Linux

use hdparm -i

# cat `which hdd-models `
hdparm -i `ls -1 /dev/sd? `     |\
        grep '^/dev' -A2        |\
        grep -Ev -e '--|^$'     |\
        tr -d \\n               |\
        sed 's/\/dev/\n\/dev/g' |\
        sort -k2 |column -t -s,

# hdd-models

/dev/sda: Model=ST2000DL003-9VT166   FwRev=CC32   SerialNo=5YD3K6K0
/dev/sdb: Model=ST2000DL003-9VT166   FwRev=CC32   SerialNo=6YD0GRWY
/dev/sdf: Model=ST3500418AS          FwRev=CC34   SerialNo=9VM0NN09
/dev/sde: Model=ST3500418AS          FwRev=CC34   SerialNo=9VM0PP0R
/dev/sdd: Model=ST3500418AS          FwRev=CC38   SerialNo=5VM6BX4L
/dev/sdc: Model=ST3500418AS          FwRev=CC38   SerialNo=5VM6JCKY

In Windows

Use the "properties" of a drive or the "device manager" (c.p. -> system).


dev manager

To be honest, I think that only lists the models of the drives and not the serial numbers.
Try diskid32.exe instead.

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • I have attached screens of the serial numbers + info in my question. The 2 drives display the same serial number :) – F21 Dec 6 '12 at 4:46
  • I had a short paragraph in there where I said that the drives are counterfeit if the serial numbers are the same, but you have already figured that out. – Ярослав Рахматуллин Dec 6 '12 at 6:23

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