Win 10: reading old hard drive w/USB to SATA cable

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Isaac Hill
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Win 10: reading old hard drive w/USB to SATA cable

Postby Isaac Hill » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:14 pm UTC

I'm trying to get data off of a Samsung HD160JJ/P (formerly) internal hard drive to a Windows 10 PC. I bought a Lumsing USB to SATA adapter cable, which connects to both flat parts of the SATA connector. I plugged the cable into the drive, then the PCs USB port. There was a brief message about a new USB device then nothing. The HD does not show up as a drive letter like other USB drives do. I tried rebooting with the HD already connected, but I still can't access the drive.

A red light on the cable turns on when I have it connected. The drive does show up in Device Manager as "USB Mass Storage Device"; that entry disappears when I unplug the cable, and reappears when I plug it back in. I tried to update the drivers, but got a message that the best drivers are already installed. However, these drivers are dated 21 Jun 2006.

Any thoughts? My best guesses are:
1) The HD draws more current than the USB ports can provide. The HD says 0.5A and 0.7A, so I don't know which is correct.
2) I need to find a driver that Windows 10 can't find.
3) Windows 10 can't do this at all.
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Re: Win 10: reading old hard drive w/USB to SATA cable

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:21 pm UTC

#1 is the most likely, particularly with a spinning-rust drive. If you have a means to apply a separate power supply, definitely do so. #2 is also quite plausible; I've seen Win10 do all manner of kooky horseshit with drivers for equipment that isn't from a big-name shelled-out-for-MS-certification manufacturer, including just straight-up deleting drivers that were already installed. Does the adapter itself appear as a hard disk controller or removable disk in Device Manager?
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Isaac Hill
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Re: Win 10: reading old hard drive w/USB to SATA cable

Postby Isaac Hill » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:33 pm UTC

Thanks for responding. Upon further inspection, the cable/drive show up (at least) 3 times in Device Manager:
1) under "Universal Serial Bus controllers" as "USB Mass Storage Device"
2) under "Disk drives" as "ASMT 2115 USB Device"
3) under "Portable Drives" as "F:\"

All three of these entries disappear when I disconnect the drive, and the timestamps line up with when I've been fiddling with this thing.

However, there is no F:\ in "This PC", which lists the C:\, D:\, and E:\ drives, none of which are the one I'm hooking up. Entering "F:\" in the address bar produces the error, "Please insert a disk into USB Drive (F:\)." Entering "cd F:\" into the command line produces "cd : Cannot find path 'F:\' because it does not exist."


The USB to SATA cable covers all the pins on the hard drive except for the jumper pins, so I don't know if I can apply external power. It looks like the drive's getting enough power to identify itself as a hard drive, so maybe that's not the problem. Maybe the problem is I need to put a jumper on the hard drive. I don't have one handy, though, as I'm visiting my parents for the holidays, and trying to get their photos off their old hard drive so they can get more use out of the digital picture frame I bought them.


I tried diskmgmt.msc, which saw the drive and allowed me to assign it drive letter G. However, when I checked the properties, Capacity, Unallocated space, and Reserved space were all 0 MB.
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Re: Win 10: reading old hard drive w/USB to SATA cable

Postby Tub » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:22 pm UTC

That's a 3.5" drive. An USB port provides enough power for many 2.5" drives, but most 3.5" drives exceed 4.5W during load, and IIRC they often require 10-25W for spin up. What you're seeing on windows is probably some fake hardware information provided by the converter cable, not data from the actual drive.

SATA drives should not have jumpers. If they do, don't touch them.

There are external 3.5" drive bays with separate USB connector + power supply, but they cost more than your simple cable. If you have access to a desktop, then that's the best place for a desktop hard drive to go.


Another possibility is that your drive is broken. That thing is 10 years old, and you shouldn't trust HDDs past 5. (Actually, you shouldn't trust HDDs past 0. If it's important, make backups.)

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Re: Win 10: reading old hard drive w/USB to SATA cable

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:49 pm UTC

Yeah, I'd bet that the drive is getting enough power for the electronics to respond, but not for the drive itself to function correctly. See if you can hook a separate power source to it.
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Re: Win 10: reading old hard drive w/USB to SATA cable

Postby cphite » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:49 pm UTC

USB isn't going to provide enough power to spin up a 3.5" drive. In fact, you could damage an older drive if you continue.

The cheapest option is find someone with a desktop with room for your drive; mount it and get what you want. Barring that, there are enclosures you can buy for around $20 that'll power the drive. Or, you could take the drive to a PC repair shop and they can transfer the files to some other media for you - but the enclosure will probably be cheaper.

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Re: Win 10: reading old hard drive w/USB to SATA cable

Postby Isaac Hill » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:17 pm UTC

Thanks for the help, everyone. I'd seen one of those enclosures for IDE, and was looking for the SATA equivalent when I found the cable.

I wanted to read the old drive to get my mom's photos off of it to fill the digital picture frame I got her for Christmas. We found a way to have Facebook send her all her account info, which included over 1,800 pictures, so I don't need to read the drive, anymore.
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Re: Win 10: reading old hard drive w/USB to SATA cable

Postby commodorejohn » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:54 pm UTC

You do want to be cautious with those enclosures, as some of them will leave the disk constantly spinning at full throttle whether the drive's being accessed or not, and I had one hard disk die the death on me as a result of that. But for a one-time rescue operation they should be fine.
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Re: Win 10: reading old hard drive w/USB to SATA cable

Postby Thesh » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:53 am UTC

You don't need an enclosure. I've got a USB adapter with a power cable, and adapters for SATA, IDE, and SCSI that I've used to recover data and wipe old drives (both IDE) before disposal. Mine's a Sabrent, but it's a few years old and I'm not sure the exact model. Costs about $20 on Amazon.
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