USB but no SATA

I just got a nice 1TB SATA drive and I plugged it into my USB 2.0 adapter (its awesome, Rosewill RCW-608, makes my life so much easier).

I formatted it on my WinXP computer over USB, copied 300 gigs of stuff onto it, and then put together a winXP computer (I only have one copy of Win7, but several left over winXP).

Now I put the nice 1TB SATA drive in as a 2nd harddrive on the fresh instal of WinXP, and it shows the 2 partitions but they show as not formatted, I got scared I lost the 300gig of data I already had put on.
I took the 1TB out, plugged it into the USB adapter, and plugged it back into the old WinXP computers USB and all the data showed up and the partitions were good.

Why does it show as not formatted when plugged into SATA ports on the mobo, but show up fine on USB2.0? They should be the same, right?
Is something missing when I format when plugged in USB? I am sure its MBR both ways.

Did I provide enough information (I assume exact motherboard is irrelevant)?
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  1. The motherboad is a M4A785-M.
    Both computers have SP3.
    USB shows up fine in linux and Win7.
    Just dont know why, if it was formatted on a USB adapter why it wont show up as formatted when plugged into the SATA ports. (tried AHCI and IDE mode.)
  2. Using Windows XP, could we see the partition table and boot sector with Microsoft's Sector Inspector?

    If you extract the above archive to the one folder and execute the SIrun.bat file, then this will generate a report file named SIout.txt.
  3. The URL at the bottom should have the text log output.

    One problem I notice is it says "BytesPerSector : 4096". I think this is supposed to say 512, as every harddrive I have owned is a 512k sector size. I dont even think windows or the bios can boot to non-512 sector harddrives, and possibly not even see them.

    I also did not format the first, smaller partition on the 1TB drive, only the 2nd ~815GB partition.

    I hope this link works, I havnt used googles version of dropbox yet.

    also, any problems with my 500g MonumusXT, 120g muchskin SSD, or 640g WD drive?
    I have a 74g raptor size boot partition on the monumusXT which makes for fast boots (and I cloned off the raptor). SSD is for steam and I tried to set it to 1mb alignment.
    Since your poking around at my MBRs anyway.
  4. Best answer
    PHYSICALDRIVE3 is your 1TB drive.

    Its capacity is ,,,

    15200 Cylinders x 255 Heads x 63 Sectors Per Track x 4096 BytesPerSector = 1 000 194 048 000

    It has two partitions, a FAT32 partition with a size of 30459177 sectors, and an NTFS partition with a size of 213728760 sectors.

    30459177 x 4096 = 124 760 788 992 bytes
    213728760 x 4096 = 875 433 000 960 bytes

    Therefore it is clear that your Rosewill enclosure is configured with a sector size of 4096 bytes rather than 512 bytes. To understand how this is possible, you need to understand the difference between a HDD and a USB mass storage device.

    A USB mass storage device consists of a USB-SATA bridge controller plus a regular SATA HDD behind the bridge.

    USB host <-- 4096 --> USB-SATA bridge <-- 512 --> SATA HDD

    The OS sees the bridge IC but not the HDD behind the bridge. The bridge firmware tells the OS that the sector size is 4096 bytes, but it communicates with the HDD using 512-byte sectors. So, for example, if the OS asks for sector 63, the bridge fetches sectors 504-511 (504 = 63 x 8) and then assembles them into a single 4096-byte sector.

    If you now take this HDD out of the enclosure and connect it directly to a SATA port on your computer's motherboard, you will be exposing the drive's 512-byte sectors. This means that when the OS asks for sector 63, the drive will actually return the contents of sector 63, not sectors 504-511. Obviously this will make a mess of the file system.

    The reason that the bridge is configured with a 4096-byte sector size is that this allows for a maximum MBR partition size of 16TiB. If the sector size were 512 bytes, then the limit would be 2TiB. This means that you could install a 3TB drive inside the enclosure and Windows XP would be able to see its full capacity. Western Digital and Seagate use this same approach for their 3TB My Book and GoFlex drives.
  5. Man, I would not have figured that one out. Its great news, means my 1TB drive is all backwards compatable. I just need to spend 2 hours moving the 300 gigs off of it, plug it in to the sata, and reformat.

    I will also have to make sure to not use that USB adapter to format drives anymore. Head aces avoided! :)
  6. Best answer selected by ilikehwy40.
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