5TB portable USB drive - possible, safe?

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wombathood

New member
Jun 17, 2024
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I just bought Spinrite 6.1 since I have a mysteriously failing 5TB portable USB drive (WD 5TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive - WDBU6Y0050BBK-WESN). I didn't realize the problems with scanning USB drives. It is NTFS formatted. The drive shows up red in SpinRite. I even popped open the enclosure but it does not have a SATA connection, the USB 3 port is part of the board.
-Is it safe to scan it anyway?
-Is it worth it?
-Is there a different scanning tool that folks here use for USB drives?
Thanks!
 
The NTFS format doesn't pose any issue, because SpinRite 6.1 doesn't care about the partitioning nor the formatting in the partitions... it works on the device as a raw collection of LBAs. SpinRite has had its difficulties with USB drives over bad BIOS drivers and even tried to work around some of those. I think there is still some issue with a 2TB limit and USB, but don't quote me on that, as it's outside of my experience.
 
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thanks for the heads up on this type of drive. building the usb controller directly into the board is just wrong. at least with an adapter you could bypass the usb and connect it directly to sata to see if the issue was the board.

you may have to wait to sr7 to get the usb connected drives recognized. i'm sure others here will prolly have a solution.
 
thanks for the heads up on this type of drive. building the usb controller directly into the board is just wrong. at least with an adapter you could bypass the usb and connect it directly to sata to see if the issue was the board.

I first encountered that about 10 or 12 yrs ago. A client had his WD Elements drive tethered to his desktop when his dog ran through the room and yanked the cord sideways, partially ripping the connector off the board. He needed his data retrieved, so I thought I could just crack the case and connect the drive to a normal SATA port. Not so. I ended up using a magnifying glass and soldering iron with a needle tip to solder the connections back together just long enough to retrieve his data, then the drive was tossed.

Ever since, I've treated the WD Elements series and the like to be no more trustworthy than a USB flash stick. For my own use, I prefer to assemble units from standard SATA drives and separate external USB enclosures so that I know I have repair options should the need arise.
 
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-Is it safe to scan it anyway?
Your BIOS will very likely limit you to scanning only the first 2.2 TB of that drive. That can be done safely with SpinRite 6.1.

-Is it worth it?
That's a judgement call. if there is any issue in the remaining 2.8 TB, you will never know. If the BIOS cannot see that area of the drive, then neither can SpinRite 6.1