I brought two Vantec IDE SATA to USB 2 Adapters, as shown below:

enter image description here

It comes with the following items inside:

enter image description here

However, I notice a strange situations as follows:

I use the 1st set and format a hard disk 500GB with a single partition using Windows 7. I was able to use and view the partition.

Then I use the 2nd set to see if I can use and view the partition on the hard disk. I expected that I would be able to use and view the partition with no problem. However, the 2nd set showed me 2 partitions with the 1st partition marked as RAW and 2nd partition as empty.

I found it strange and thus repeated the process by creating a single partition on the hard disk 500 GB and formatting it using Windows 7 via the 2nd set.

Then I used the 1st set to see if I could use and view the partition on the hard disk. This time, I was able to see a single partition, but it was in the RAW format. (Windows will prompt for format the hard disk if the partition is in the RAW format.)

This is driving me crazy. I brought 2 sets of IDE SATA to USB 2 adapter and they give me two different results.

So, I would like to ask which is causing the problem - the 500 GB hard disk, the 1st set or the 2nd set? (What I suspect is that one of the controller is damaged but I was thinking if there are better and faster way to troubleshoot such problem because I also worry if both the hard disk and the 2nd set of adapter are damaged ones or flaky.)

  • So you're saying that each one can only properly see the one that it formatted?!?!?! – barlop Jan 3 '14 at 8:51
  • they're not too expensive. I'd consider buying a different make, as part of the troubleshooting. I've seen a case where with a simple USB-Ps2 adaptor, some worked in all my computers. Some worked in only one of them. So I concluded the ones that worked in all computers were more lenient and better. And I had others that only worked in some computers and not another. I concluded that the computers they worked in were more lenient and thus had better functioning usb ports. I kept the not so lenient computers 'cos i'm not going to chuck those. But I chucked the not so lenient usb-ps2 adaptors. – barlop Jan 3 '14 at 8:57
  • and that's as weird as i've seen. With USB-IDE. I have had a flaky one. And I have had one that just plugged into one USB port and was recognized in one computer and not another. If I were you I would at least get a USB-SATA adaptor that plugs into TWO usb ports and works on a 1.8" or 2.5" SATA hard disk. Those adaptor cables are very cheap. So if you have such a hard disk it's something to try. – barlop Jan 3 '14 at 8:58
  • @barlop Yes, each set of adapter can only properly see the one that it formatted. That's is why I am having a headache on how to troubleshoot this problem. I hope that it is not the hard disk that is the actual problem. – user275517 Jan 3 '14 at 9:24
  • it could be both adapters are an issue. Maybe another make of adapter will see the hard drives formatted by the other two – barlop Jan 3 '14 at 9:56

This may be a sector size issue. Newer HDs use 4096-byte sectors, not 512 - and employ a translation layer so the OS sees the HD as having 512-byte sectors (for compatibility).

Problem is some USB adapters ignore the translation and report the drive as having 4096-byte sectors. Other USB adapters use the translation and report the drive as having 512-byte sectors.

So the issue may be: one of your adapters is reporting 4096-byte sectors, the other is reporting 512-byte. As the partition table is sector-based, when you transfer the HD from one to the other, it can't find the partitions.

Try using a GPT partition table on the disk instead of MBR - AFAIK GPT will take care of the sector size issues.

  • So, based on your answer, it means that one of the adapter is flaky... (sednacomputer.com/photo/se-usb-ide-sata.jpg), right? – user275517 Jan 3 '14 at 9:28
  • No, I wouldn't say flaky, just "different". It seems both are working OK. You could check the sector-size with fdisk on Linux to confirm the sector-size issue. – NothingsImpossible Jan 3 '14 at 9:55
  • @user275517 - One thing you can do is verify from the manufacture itself. You can also verify both have the exact same lables. One could be the same product but a different revision, which could have been released years apart, and your vendor sent you old stock. – Ramhound Jan 3 '14 at 12:53

In my opinion, the approach to this issue is - if possible/available, connect the drive to the port (ide or sata, depending on the hdd) on a pc with an OS, format it from there. If everything's goes well, issue with hdd is cleared. Disconnect the hdd from the pc and try it on both IDE/SATA to USB bridge and see what comes up.

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