Tips When Using Early Seagate Portable Hard Drives

When portable laptop (2.5 inch) external hard drives came out about 6 or 7 years ago, I was very kindly sent a complimentary one by Seagate. These first generation Seagate portable drives used a double USB connection as a single USB connection didn’t provide enough power for the drive.

Single to Double USB cable

A double to single USB cable was necessary to correctly power the early portable Seagate hard drives

Inside the external hard drive casing was a Seagate Momentus 5400.6 500GB, model number ST9500325AS. These 5400 RPM drives are by modern standards rather slow, 7200RPM is more the norm is 2015 but the capacity of 500GB is still a popular size. The drive worked fine, it was rather slow as expected but did it’s job. That was until I lost the double USB cable…

I didn’t appreciate that not having the double USB into single USB cable was going to be a big issue but it was. Plugging the drive in with just a single cable resulted in the drive starting to spin but it wouldn’t been detected by the computer for about 15 minutes or so, and during this time the computer constantly kept picking it up and then losing it. This resulted in several worrying errors – particularly when it was connected to my Mac.

A Seagate ST9500325AS hard drive

A Seagate ST9500325AS hard drive

On one occasion the drive was not detected by either my Mac or any windows machine, there was about 300GB of family data on the drive and I began to panic – what if I’d lost the data? With the advice of the friendly staff at Datlabs,, I was able to recover the data from my hard drive, a fortunate outcome for which I am very thankful.

The solution was to remove the ST9500325AS from it’s external case and use it directly as a slave drive. Removing the case meant that I not longer had to connect the drive using the USB cable – instead I could plug the drive in directly using it’s SATA ports. This solved both the power problem and the speed increased significantly too as the USB connection was a slow one.

So if you find yourself using an old external Seagate portable hard drive and you don’t have the double to single USB cable to power it, take it out of it’s case a plug it directly into your computer using the SATA connections – it’ll work a lot better and quicker too.

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