512 byte drive not working properly. Being presented as Advanced Format :(

I have a 4 TB Barracuda XT that was produced before the move to Advanced Format. It’s physical sector size is 512 bytes and windows correctly sees this as an internal drive, but in this external enclosure the drive is being interpreted as a 4k drive. I bought this drive specifically because it said that it supports drives larger than 3 TB, but it won’t see the data created when running it as an internal drive. As far as the drive is concerned it’s blank. Unfortunately, the only other external drive enclosure I used could only see one of the two partitions (only 1.6 TB).

I know I could backup the data and reformat, but I actually need this drive to be interpreted as a as 512 byte sector size hdd because of specific legacy hardware that is hard coded to require 512 bytes that I need to continue using. It’s just that no one ever advertises that they force all 512 byte drives to become 4k drives when they sell products and I am at my wits end trying to figure out what I can do about this.

Before I return this product, is there any way to force it to see a 512 byte drive without presenting it as a 4k drive to the operating system? Or if not, do you sell any enclosures at all that will support 4 TB drives and will also see both the 2 TB partition and the 1.6 TB partition and also present it to the operating system as a 512 byte drive?

Hi Eliander-

Thanks for posting with your issue, I’ll be happy to help.

I’m guessing that you have the USB3-SATA-U3, (another possibility is the USB3-SATA-UASP1). If you do have the U3, the firmware update here should help:

If you don’t have the U3, or if the firmware update at the link above doesn’t help, please send a copy of the output from our support tool, PlugDebug, to support@plugable.com with a link to this thread. The additional details the tool provides will help me recommend the right steps.


Best wishes-

Jeff Everett
Plugable Technologies

Thanks for the information. It is a U3, but the drive isn’t 512e and doesn’t use Advanced Format. Would the firmware update still work? It’s is a real 512 byte sector size SATA hard drive.

FW version originally reported as: 12092681f601

Updated to: 13022081f602

I had to run the update more than once because the categories “Config Update”, FW Update, and ReLink all reported as failed. After the second time the first time showed as pass, but ReLink still says Fail. Is that important?

Anyway, with this firmware update I made some progress in that at the very least windows is allowing me to format partitions with 512 bytes - which is a very good sign! I have to run a few tests just to be sure it’s being seen as a 512 byte drive though.