GPT HDD Cannot modify partitions/read data after enclosure change.

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  1. Posts : 141
    Windows 10
       #1

    GPT HDD Cannot modify partitions/read data after enclosure change.


    Windows ver. 10 20H2 19042.685

    I have a Sabrent external enclosure I have been using for years as a storage device. It contains a WD Red 4TB drive. It was formatted in GPT because of the MBR's 2 TB limit. When I place the drive into a different branded external enclosure, it only shows a 2TB partition with the remaining 1.7TB as unallocated. I cannot change the drive in any form or fashion using Windows built-in disk manager as it's all grayed out. I've had this happen in the past and I know I can use diskpart to wipe the drive and start over, which requires me to backup my data, and then format GPT using the new enclosure then copy the data back over. Or I can use 3rd party disk management software but the outcome is the same. Windows is some how making this GPT partition GPT Protected and I don't format it that way. I don't get what causes GPT Protective to activate and I really don't need it.

    So my question is why does this GPT Protective kick in?

    Can I convert GPT Protective to GPT non protective without formatting?

    Thanks!

    - - - Updated - - -

    I went ahead and performed a clean on the disk using disk part which removed the GPT Protective header. But here is a new problem I am bumping into. When I format it with the brand Fideco HDD enclosure and then move it to the Sabrent HDD enclosure, the drive becomes GPT Protective. But then I move the drive back to Fideco the drive is only GPT. And when I format it using the Sabrent drive and then move the drive over to the Fideco drive, it is now GPT Protective. If I format the HDD in the Sabrent enclosure then move it over to my backup Sabrent enclosure which is the same model, it works fine. So physically moving a drive that is formatted in GPT becomes GPT Protective when moved to another branded enclosure. Is that right? Why would this happen? If the enclosure fails I need to be able to take the drive out and place it into another enclosure without losing data. But that doesn't seem to be the case if the drive just locks up into GPT Protective mode when it gets moved to another enclosure. Am I missing something?
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  2. Posts : 1,602
    11, 10, 8.1 and 7 all Professional versions, and Linux Mint
       #2

    1. It is a somewhat complicated issue but the answer is basically how the firmware enclosure is set to read the sector size of the drive

    2. If you use this cmd in an admin cmd prompt

    fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo c:
    or whichever letter it is
    you would see the difference between the two enclosures.
    However I do not of course recommend you try it, just in case there are problems getting back to access in the original enclosure. At least not with any data on the drive that is not backed up.

    3. and the full explanation is here
    Experiment: USB to SATA bridge chips and >2Tb drives | Gough's Tech Zone


    4. It is perhaps easier to understand here
    USB adapters silently change sector size

    5. In summary the enclosure does not of course actually - physically change sector size it misreads it so it makes the GPT partitioning scheme initiate the protected aspect. - or unallocated for part of the capacity.

    I do not have the knowledge to know what changes unallocated to protected.
    Last edited by Macboatmaster; 01 Mar 2021 at 17:02.
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  3. Posts : 1,602
    11, 10, 8.1 and 7 all Professional versions, and Linux Mint
       #3

    JDubbedN

    Hi
    Having seen my reply
    Is this of assistance to you please. Do you require additional help please.
    A response is always appreciated .
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  4. Posts : 11,600
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.2861
       #4

    I totally agree with Macboatmaster. Your Fideco HDD enclosure silently writes/reads the drive as 4096 bytes sector size. So if you format your HDD from within that enclosure, you cannot use it on your Sabrent enclosure which reads from 512 sector size and vice versa.

    If you ever come here with a data recovery problem saying "I was using a HDD in a Sabrent enclosure. The bridge circuit in it has failed. So I put the HDD in a
    Fideco HDD enclosure but it reads GPT Protected partition and I am unable to see any of my data. How do I recover the data?" I would say "Use Test Disk to change the sector size to 512 bytes and you will be able to see all data. Copy to another drive" There will be no other go.

    If your HDD is out of Fedeco enclosure and into Sabrent enclosure , I will ask you to change the sector size in TestDisk to 4096 to be able to recover the data.

    ( The Fideco enclosure is compatible with Windows XP. Windows XP does not recognise GPT. For drives exceeding 2TB, to be used as an MBR drive in Windows XP, one has to necessarily write and read into 4096 bytes sector size , in which case drives upto 16TB can be handled with XP)

    Advice: Buy enclosures that are compatible with Vista and onwards, you will not get into this problem.
    Last edited by jumanji; 01 Mar 2021 at 01:31.
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  5. Posts : 141
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Thank you @jumanji and @macbostmaster for this great detailed information. Sorry for my late response.

    To my understanding these enclosures are compatible with Windows 10 as well as previous OS's. Here is the Amazon link to the Fideco product. Amazon.com

    Here is the link to the Sabrent product. Amazon.com

    I guess I'll have to be more careful about selecting my enclosures. I had no idea new enclosures that are designed to work with Windows 10 can change the sector size which flags the GPT Protection. That being said, is there a way to verify how the enclosure will change the sector size? I do not see it on their product page.
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  6. Posts : 11,600
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.2861
       #6

    It is the bridge electronics and the firmware in it that sets the physical sector size whether it is 512 or 4096.

    It will be interesting to see what cooks inside these two enclosures.

    Format your HDD in Sabrent enclosure.

    CAUTION: Formatting will make any data in the HDD inaccessible and unrecoverable. Make sure you have no data in the HDD when you carryout this exercise.

    On an elevated command prompt type: fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo C: [Enter]
    Note: Replace C with the actual drive letter

    Check what is the Bytes Per Sector and Bytes Per Physical Sector.

    Format your HDD in the Fideco enclosure and run that command.

    CAUTION: Formatting will make any data in the HDD inaccessible and unrecoverable.. Make sure you have no data in the HDD when you carryout this exercise.

    Check what is the Bytes Per Sector and Bytes Per Physical Sector.

    Below is the screenshot of my HDD in an Orico dock

    GPT HDD Cannot modify partitions/read data after enclosure change.-02-03-2021-10-23-32.jpg

    A thread where Sector size change was used to recover data Hard Drive seems corrupt. 1 Partition now showing as 3 Partitions?
    Last edited by jumanji; 02 Mar 2021 at 04:27.
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  7. Posts : 1,602
    11, 10, 8.1 and 7 all Professional versions, and Linux Mint
       #7

    The only comment I would make is that according to how I read your post
    I have a Sabrent external enclosure I have been using for years as a storage device. It contains a WD Red 4TB drive. It was formatted in GPT because of the MBR's 2 TB limit. When I place the drive into a different branded external enclosure, it only shows a 2TB partition with the remaining 1.7TB as unallocated.
    the drive was NOT formatted after its use in the Sabrent enclosure - before it was placed in the different enclosure.
    In other words I read that it was formatted in the Sabrent enclosure AND then taken out of there and placed in the different enclosure but NOT formatted

    I therefore suggest as I mentioned that you replicate the same procedure and use the cmd that I mentioned in my reply post 2 - which is the same cmd as now posted in post 6.

    I think you will find that the mere placing of the drive in the different enclosure will result in the problem you had before

    As I provided on the link
    USB adapters silently change sector size
    USB adapters silently change sector size

    formatting is not involved - the USB enclosure itself changes sector size
    IMHO not in real terms but in what is seen by the system.
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  8. Posts : 11,600
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.2861
       #8

    Macboatmaster said:
    .........I think you will find that the mere placing of the drive in the different enclosure will result in the problem you had before .........
    No need to think. It is so. The OP himself has confirmed it


    JDubbedN said:
    .........I went ahead and performed a clean on the disk using disk part which removed the GPT Protective header. But here is a new problem I am bumping into. When I format it with the brand Fideco HDD enclosure and then move it to the Sabrent HDD enclosure, the drive becomes GPT Protective. But then I move the drive back to Fideco the drive is only GPT. And when I format it using the Sabrent drive and then move the drive over to the Fideco drive, it is now GPT Protective. If I format the HDD in the Sabrent enclosure then move it over to my backup Sabrent enclosure which is the same model, it works fine. So physically moving a drive that is formatted in GPT becomes GPT Protective when moved to another branded enclosure. Is that right? Why would this happen? If the enclosure fails I need to be able to take the drive out and place it into another enclosure without losing data. But that doesn't seem to be the case if the drive just locks up into GPT Protective mode when it gets moved to another enclosure. Am I missing something?
    As stated in my post #6, I repeat "It is the bridge electronics and the firmware in it that sets the physical sector size whether it is 512 or 4096."

    Now if you diskpart clean the HDD (meaning that all sectors are written zeros and are zeros) and put it into either of the enclosures you cannot run fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo C:

    Only when you format it to NTFS in each enclosure and run fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo C: in it, it will find what physical sector size is set by the enclosure electronics and the firmware in it. Not otherwise.

    When the OP performs the exercise as stated in my post #6, I expect the one formatted in the Sabrent enclosure to show Bytes Per Sector 512 and Bytes Per Physical Sector 512 when fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo C: command is given and the one formatted in the Fideco enclosure and the command run it to show Bytes Per Sector 512 and Bytes Per Physical Sector 4096.

    I am just curious because this is the first time I have come to know of this possibility of changing enclosures creating a "GPT Protected" problem. Seeing is believing.. Only that will validate the postulates posted here.
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  9. Posts : 1,602
    11, 10, 8.1 and 7 all Professional versions, and Linux Mint
       #9

    jumanji
    Macboatmaster said:
    .........I think you will find that the mere placing of the drive in the different enclosure will result in the problem you had before .........
    and you responded
    No need to think. It is so. The OP himself has confirmed it
    I was trying to make the point that - if that is correct, your suggestion of formatting it in one enclosure - for instance the Sabrent and checking the byte sector size
    THEN formatting the same drive in the Fideco enclosure and checking the size - does NOT prove this point.
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  10. Posts : 11,600
    Windows11 Home 64bit v:23H2 b:22631.2861
       #10

    You see the HDD formatted in the Sabrent enclosure will have a physical sector size of 512 Bytes. When placed in the Fideco Enclosure the drive will show as GPT protected since Fideco will not recognise 512 byte Physical sector size..It can recognise only drives with physical sector size 4096.

    In a similar fashion the HDD formatted in Fideco will not be recognised in the Sabrent enclosure since it will recognise only drives formatted with 512 bytes physical sector size.

    I wish the OP carries out the exercise to show that when formatted inside the Fideco the physical sector size is 4096 bytes and the same HDD when formatted in the Sabrent enclosure will have a 512 bytes per physical sector. And that makes the transplant GPT protected either way.

    ( I don't have a Sabrent and a Fideco enclosure to prove that point. Neither do you have . So you can stick to your theory and perception and I can to mine !)
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