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Thread: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

  1. #1

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    The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    Picked up one of these:

    Name:  Portable HDD.jpg
Views: 107
Size:  8.2 KB

    Measures roughly 3 1/2" long x 1 5/8" wide x 1/4" thick. Tiny!

    A USB-C port, one dim LED. Cable USB-C plug to full sized USB 3 plug.

    2TB, yes, two terabytes!

    Was $20 shipped from eBay, Amazon has them for $40.


    No idea how rugged it may be. Still don't know if it is spoofing its actual size, but even a full format would take a while over USB 3 and I have no fast USB C ports to try with. Might get warm, really warm, so I'd probably use a USB 3 port for that test. No idea how a real write/read test would take to run.

    If I had to guess (and if it is real) I'd think it contains a 0.85" drive, but searches online suggest those never exceeded 8GB and that all tiny HDDs are long obsolete.

    Windows sees it as "VendorCo ProductCode USB Device." Came formatted as a single NTFS partition, volume name "Portable HDD."

    I have copied a couple of large MP4 files to it and they play just fine, but it could still be 32GB of flash drive in there or something.

  2. #2

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    The picture makes it look bigger than it is, like a 2000mAh power bank or something.

    No, it is only about 2 fingers wide. Case seems to be aluminum.

  3. #3
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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    whaaaaat? at 2TB? that smol? Got an SKU for that puppy? or something to look it up?

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    Caveats:

    After I warmed it in my pocket for an hour after bringing it in from the mail, I first made sure that my desktop PC had autoplay disabled. Then I plugged it into a USB 2 port and immediately began a full format. I let that run for an hour watching via the performance tab in Task Manager to make sure writing was going on, while I used Device Manager to look for potential hidden USB devices.

    I canceled the format, since it would take eons but at least was a stab at overwriting a possible malware payload. Restarted Disk Management, then did a quick format.

    Didn't find any hidden Mass Storage Devices, partitions, or other weird stuff.

    Copied over two MP4 files, then took it to my Roku TV. Watched one of the files, a movie a bit over 1 hour 47 minutes. Worked fine.


    Also, consider this video:


  5. #5

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    whaaaaat? at 2TB? that smol? Got an SKU for that puppy? or something to look it up?
    The eBay listing was sold out. There may be others though.

    I see this $40US Amazon link:

    https://www.amazon.com/External-Driv...8JYMCPXF&psc=1
    2TB External Hard Drive, Portable Hard Drive External Type-C/USB 2.0 HDD for Mac Laptop PC (2TB, Black)

    Perhaps that description might get you close to another listing? Comes in Silver, Blue, and Black as far as I can tell.

    Edit: I see some Gold and Red now as well.
    Last edited by dilettante; Mar 4th, 2021 at 07:21 PM.

  6. #6

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    Note that I saw a blue USB connector and assumed USB 3.0 but I now remember that I never saw anyone claim it is other than USB 2. Don't expect USB 3.0 performance. It might not even exceed USB 1.1 performance.

    But it's still tiny.

  7. #7

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    I can't hear any whirring/whizzing or feel any vibration. I wonder if it really contains 2TB (or far less?) of flash memory?

    Buyer beware!

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    Yeah, a lot of the comments on Amazon there are... less than ideal... lost data, empty folders.

    -tg
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  9. #9

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    I had no problems with any of the vaguely stated issues of those Amazon reviewers. Can't tell what their game was. Competing vendors?

    I didn't expect high performance and so far it delivers on those low expectations.

    However it hasn't failed any of the tests I threw at it yet, despite how clunky the available testing tools seem to be. When you see user interfaces from Hell like these (weird fonts, randomly-sized buttons, bozo colors, text boxes misaligned) you have to wonder about the quality of the underlying code.

    So I haven't given up yet, but my expectations remain low. I'll do more testing.

  10. #10

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    Starting to find the bounds of failure now.

    I am almost sure this has something like a flash memory of maybe 32GB with a USB interface chip rigged to lie and call it a 2TB HDD. Just glad I haven't picked up a malware infection (yet).

    But at least this fits with everything I can find on tiny HDDs.

  11. #11

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    Similar product, hilarious teardown:


  12. #12
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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    In computer hardware category is usually, you get what you pay for (with the exception of Apple, that is pay and shut the fk up!), so a 40$ 2TB HDD from Amazon wasn't going to cope it.
    Even if all your test did not have an issue, I wouldn't spent a since Euro on that device. Well unless I had money to spend for the heck of it.
    .

  13. #13

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    You can even get counterfeit hardware if you stick to a name brands though. It's all a roll of the dice.

    This one was attractive because it was so tiny. I never expected it to work even as well as it does, which is ok until you try to write too much data to it.

    I actually bought a name brand 2TB USB hard drive for $40 on sale and it seems to be genuine and works just fine. The normal price is $65, which isn't a whole lot more. It just isn't nearly as small as this bogus one.

  14. #14

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    Not being awash in large capacity hard drives myself, I got a little curious about limits. This looked interesting:


    Windows support for hard disks that are larger than 2 TB

    In order for an operating system to fully support storage devices that have capacities that exceed 2 terabytes (2 TB, or 2 trillion bytes), the device must be initialized by using the GUID Partition Table (GPT) partitioning scheme. This scheme supports addressing of the full range of storage capacity. If the user intends to start the computer from one of these large disks, the system's base firmware interface must use the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and not BIOS.

    This article outlines Microsoft support across all Windows versions since Windows XP. It also describes the requirements to address the full storage capability of these devices.
    Overall requirements for a non-bootable data volume

    ...

    The Windows version must be one of the following (32-bit or 64-bit, unless otherwise noted, but including all SKU editions):

    Windows Server 2008 R2 (only 64-bit version available)
    Windows Server 2008
    Windows 7
    Windows Vista

    ...
    I presume Windows 10 is also in that group, but it sounds like XP and earlier are not.

    There are further caveats, so read the article.

  15. #15

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    More info from Seagate:

    Support for Disk Drives Beyond 2.2 TeraBytes (TB) and 4K Advanced Format Sectors

    Quick facts about Windows and 3TB drives:

    • Windows 10/8/8.1/7 and Vista support GPT 3TB single partitions
    • Windows 10/8/8.1/7 and Vista can only boot GPT on systems with UEFI BIOS
    • Windows 10/8/8.1/7 and Vista can mount a GPT non-booting data drive
    • Intel RST device drivers before v10.1 do not support 3TB disk drives
    • Windows systems with Legacy BIOS and MBR boot drives are limited to 2.2TB partitions
    • Windows XP does not support GPT
    • Windows XP sees a 3TB drive as 800GB on boot or data drives
    • DiscWizard software can install a device driver which opens the full capacity of a 3TB. You can use it to create a second partition for the capacity above 2.2TB

  16. #16

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    Interesting.

    Plugged in a new WD My Passport 4TB USB drive. Windows 10 32-bit on a BIOS machine, no Unified Extensible Firmware Interface.

    Detected fine. Auto-configured fine. Showed up as a single ~4TB partition without installing any WD utilities or drivers manually.

    So unless one is crazy enough to try to use it as a boot drive (USB? Really?) it looks pretty trivial to use as a basic drive even in a difficult scenario.

    Support for WD Backup has ended. Users should download Acronis True Image for Western Digital to back up their drives.
    So I am downloading that from the link on the WD Support page along with the other tools there. I may not install any of them though unless I decide to use the Acronis backup tool.

    However that seems to contain additional anti-malware, smart-screening, etc. etc. and I'm not sure I want any of that stuff. Sounds like you have to register to establish an account to complete installation as well. Because... marketing? User harvesting for a revenue stream?

    Ahh, it offers 1TB of cloud backup (or pay for more). Probably in addition to the other reasons for registration.
    Last edited by dilettante; Mar 6th, 2021 at 08:32 PM.

  17. #17

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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    Found this absurdity in a manual:

    Mac users can simply drag the drive icon to the trash before disconnecting it.
    Er, better to drag the Mac to the trash instead. This is far more hilarious a UI/operation gaffe than "Click the Start button to shut down" ever was.

    Sounds more like a graphical metaphor for deleting the drive's contents than ejecting the external drive.

    "Apple: We don't think."

  18. #18
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    Re: The Amazing Shrinking HDD

    If we talking about WD My Passport then most of the tools are decorational.
    The only really useful is the one that is not included in newer WD drives software (good job id!ots) called DLDIAG.
    There is also a folder for apple utilities, no clue what it is not interested to find out.
    .

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