I am just trying some hdparm magic with my new ssd (samsung 840 pro). However I don't want to change my drive over and over so it would be great if I could connect it externally to my laptop.

I have a cheap sata-usb adapter, but I feel it doesn't support the ATA commands send by hdparm.

So what's the best way to do this? Are there sata-usb Adapters which fully support the hdparm things? Would it be a good idea to buy a sata-esata adapter to get full control over the drive?

Edit: This question was also motivated by the warning on https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_Secure_Erase:

WARNING: Do not attempt to do this through a USB interface! This procedure worked fine when I tried it on my X-25M through the SATA interface. When I tried it again later on the same drive through a USB adapter, it let me password protect the drive, but would not accept the SECURITY-ERASE command.

So my idea was that using just an sata-esata adapter may be equivalent to using the internal sata port and that it may also work with specific usb-adapters if they support some specs (but I don't know what to look for).

2 Answers 2


From the manual page for hdparm:

hdparm provides a command line interface to various kernel interfaces supported by the Linux SATA/PATA/SAS "libata" subsystem and the older IDE driver subsystem. Many newer (2008 and later) USB drive enclosures now also support "SAT" (SCSI-ATA Command Translation) and therefore may also work with hdparm. Eg. recent WD "Passport" models and recent NexStar-3 enclosures. Some options may work correctly only with the latest kernels.

You should be Ok with all new models.

  • So I should get an usb adapter which supports "SAT"? However what has this to do with SCSI? Is it automatically supported if I go with an sata to esata adapter?
    – student
    Oct 31, 2013 at 11:59

It's mainly about PROPER support on ATA PASS-THROUGH, which is apparently provided by the SAT standard:


Unlike simple read/write commands, there are no corresponding SCSI commands to ATA commands defined in its security feature set. So there is no way for SAT to simply "translate" it.

But yes, if you have a decent SATA/USB adapter it is safe to perform all kinds of hdparm commands including those of the security feature set. I myself have done that repeatedly for many times on an X25-M G1.

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