Question Cloning - USB External Enclosures

Mantrid-Drone

Senior member
Mar 15, 2014
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A few months ago I bought a 500GB Crucial MX500 SSD which I intended to use to clone the Crucial 128GB SSD on my most used PC which is getting too close to its maximum capacity for my liking.

Anyway I hadn't got around to doing it until yesterday and I've run into a problem I'm sure is again something to do with the SATA/IDE external USB enclosures I have.


When the MX500 is installed in the enclosure and the PC booted, it actually stalls the PC. Switch the housing off and it boots perfectly.

Turn the housing back on again and its not recognised as even an attached USB device. Nothing recognised in device manager or disk management either and when I tried to reboot to see if that helped it stalled the reboot.

Tried another similar housing, same thing.

Finally tried a simple SATA > USB adapter with SATA power from a Molex to SATA power adapter cable.

This time no boot problems and a driver download was provoked which took ages but said it had completed. However afterwards yet again the device was not found anywhere not even in the system tray as Atapi Bridge which is how external HDD's are reported.

Retried with one of the USB external housings and this time it didn't stall and when I got into disk management there it was and I could initialise and format SSD. I did a test copy to check it was working, it was, deleted the test saves and shutdown the PC ready to do the cloning in the next session.

Come that time - boot stalled again. On reboot and then turning it on same problems. Nothing detected, the MX500 nowhere to be found, no Atapi Bridge adapter reported.

Tested the same housings with two different HDDs - worked perfectly so definitely not a hardware problem. The SDD just seems to hate the housing/cables I'm using to attach it to the PC.

I really don't want to go into the PC and fiddle about attaching it direct, simply because it would mean disconnecting one of my HDDs. I also cannot (easily) use the other alternative eSATA USB housing I have because it is a tray-less designed for 3.5".

I went to the Crucial web site for help and it really didn't tell me anything I didn't know but I noticed in their guides they showed the SSD connect just by a basic USB housing ie. not otherwise powered. I thought this was a no no but apparently not.

What I'm wondering is if this does work are there any specifically recommended, reasonably priced USB enclosures for SSDs, perhaps with a Win7 64bit driver that are worth trying?

BTW Crucial provided a time limited free Acronis True Image version for Crucial SSD cloning download. Does this offer any particular advantage over other cloning tools? I have EaseUS and was intending to use that when/if I can get this MX500 up and running properly.
 
Last edited:

VirtualLarry

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Aug 25, 2001
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Honestly, if you want the least amount of hassle, grab a StarTech USB-to-laptop-SATA bridge cable (around $12.99 on Newegg regular price, cheaper on sale), and use Macrium Reflect Free or another decent cloning / image backup solution to clone the disk.
 

Jimminy

Member
May 19, 2020
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Check the cables!
I have 5 or 6 external enclosures (USB 3). All of them are cheap chinese no-name devices (ranging from $2.50 to $7), but they work perfectly.

However, all the cables that came with them were either bad right out of the box, or failed not long afterwards. I replaced them with thicker (and stiffer) cables. Also, I try to leave the cable attached to the enclosure if possible to avoid wearing the cheap connectors.

Here is one type I've found that works well for me:

The other thing I'd add is that macrium reflect free works great. You'll have less chance of problems if you don't clone, but image the old disk onto a working external drive, swap in your new drive, then do a restore from the external disk onto the new drive. Especially if you want to keep the old drive as a general storage drive. If you clone, both disks will have the same disk ID, so you'll have to fiddle in disk management to resolve the conflict.

If you use macrium, drag each partition, kept in order, from left to right, then adjust the properties to enlarge or reduce the size (only for the large C: partition), and only if the new drive is larger or smaller than the old. Finally, re-install the old drive if you want to keep it also. Done, button up the case.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,205
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The other thing I'd add is that macrium reflect free works great. You'll have less chance of problems if you don't clone, but image the old disk onto a working external drive, swap in your new drive, then do a restore from the external disk onto the new drive.
This is how I do it too.
 
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Mantrid-Drone

Senior member
Mar 15, 2014
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Its getting the PC to recognise the SSD that is the main problem but the other advice is also very useful. I intended to remove the old SDD and replace it with the clone, keeping the original as backup.

The reason I linked to the other thread was because the two similar dual SATA/IDE 3.5" external enclosures (I actually have four) I used with the SSD, installed with a simple 2.5" to 3.5" caddy, all provoked the same sector size error when I tried to clone a 3.5" HDD with a Windows OS on it but primarily a backup HDD.

I was expecting a problem with that this time too but the problem is getting the PC to even recognise the SSD is attached. As said, with 3.5" HDDs the same enclosures work perfectly. Why is the SSD behaving differently, why did it format OK once then go missing again on reboot and often badly interfere with the working of the PC?

Is there anything in this to suggest the SSD is faulty? Its was brand new bought about 4 months ago from a well known UK seller. How do you tell if a SSD is faulty? There's nothing to indicate correct connection unlike a HDD which you can hear spinning up or even a USB flash drive which almost all have LEDs to indicate activity.

Looks like I'm going to have to try a basic USB 2.5" enclosure or the Startech adapter suggested and if I can't get it recognised go back to the seller and ask to get it replaced.
 

Mantrid-Drone

Senior member
Mar 15, 2014
264
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Just a conclusion to this:-

I bought one of those StarTech USB 3.0 SATA to USB adapter cables VirtualLarry recommended and it worked perfectly. Crucial MX500 SSD recognised immediately and formatted correctly.

Not done the clone yet but I thought I'd post to thank him for directing me to a suitable adapter cable and the others here for their helpful replies too.
 
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Jimminy

Member
May 19, 2020
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Can one restore to a larger or smaller drive from the image or does one have to clone and manually adjust the partitions? Automatic changing of disk IDs is an attractive feature.
Yes. With older versions of reflect, you'll have to manually adjust the size when you restore, as outlined above.

With the latest version (V8), I believe it will do it automatically, but I've not tried that new feature yet.
 

unmesh59

Junior Member
Feb 27, 2012
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Tried V8 and it has a couple of different auto-resizing options. You can either get the last resizable partition to absorb the difference in drive sizes or all resizable partions to scale proportionally.
 

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