Possible to just swap External HDDs to another enclosure?

jman995x

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 8, 2007
178
1
Hello,

I bought a LaCie 2Big 6TB external HDD from Apple a few years ago, and put about 5TB on it.
For some reason, the Thunderbolt (2.0) ports on my Late 2012 iMac stopped working (ie: they won't recognize the drive anymore. I took the drive to a Mac store and plugged it in and it booted right up and THEIR computer saw it, so the problem is definitely the ports on MY iMac).

Having said that, I need that information off the LaCie External HDD, but don't want to have to replace my iMac's motherboard (because the Thunderbolt ports are integrated), to be able to do it.

Sooo...is it possible to just get another generic external HDD enclosure that will accept 2 HDD's, and swap the LaCie's drives into that...then, connect that new enclosure to my current iMac (via USB 2.0, or whatever)? In other words, is there anything proprietary about one company's enclosure/interface, etc. that would prevent me from just yanking the 2x3TB drives out of the LaCie enclosure, putting them both in a enclosure, most likely NOT LaCie-made, and being able to have instant access to the info on those drives (in the new enclosure)?

Please let me know as I want to have access to that data again, asap.

Thanks,

Justin
 

jman995x

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 8, 2007
178
1
Are they set up for RAID? If not, you should be ok. Does your 2big not have USB?
Stupid me, I can't remember if I set them up RAID style or not, and now that you mention that I can see where that'd be a problem. I guess at this point, I'm going to have to find someone with a Mac and a Thunderbolt 2 port and plug it in to find out, correct? Once I plug the drive into a computer that'll recognize it, I should be able to find out its setup, correct?

Unfortunately, I was an early adopter and thought that Thunderbolt was going to be the latest and greatest thing and I wouldn't need another port (on the External HDD), so now that my iMac's Thunderbolt ports are on the fritz, I'm stuck with this inaccessible brick.
 

casperes1996

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Jan 26, 2014
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Horsens, Denmark
Stupid me, I can't remember if I set them up RAID style or not, and now that you mention that I can see where that'd be a problem. I guess at this point, I'm going to have to find someone with a Mac and a Thunderbolt 2 port and plug it in to find out, correct? Once I plug the drive into a computer that'll recognize it, I should be able to find out its setup, correct?

Unfortunately, I was an early adopter and thought that Thunderbolt was going to be the latest and greatest thing and I wouldn't need another port (on the External HDD), so now that my iMac's Thunderbolt ports are on the fritz, I'm stuck with this inaccessible brick.

Yes.

But if you have access to another Mac to connect the drives to you can also retrieve the data out like that - assuming of course you have somewhere else to store it.
 

jman995x

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 8, 2007
178
1
Yes.

But if you have access to another Mac to connect the drives to you can also retrieve the data out like that - assuming of course you have somewhere else to store it.
True, I'd just have to find someone with a Thunderbolt machine that would be willing to let me use it for "X" hours to transfer the info to another drive.

So, I had a couple of other questions while we're on the subject?
  1. IF....my LaCie external is NOT RAID, could I simply take the drives out of it and plug them into this, and my computer would just see the 2x3TB drives as standalone external drives?:
    1. https://www.amazon.com/Aluminum-External-3-5-inch-Duplicator-Function/dp/B0151BDW9S/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1549314699&sr=1-3&keywords=external+dual+bay+enclosure
  2. IF...my LaCie external IS RAID, and I were to buy the unit above and put the LaCie drives into the unit, would I in any way risk losing the data on those drives while the unit was trying to figure out what they were and what was on them, or would they just be unreadable by this dual external bay unit, and all of the information on the drives would remain intact and safe and the drives just wouldn't be readable and/or I'd just get an error message (or they just wouldn't mount on/be seen by my iMac)?
Reason being, there isn't an Apple store (or authorized repair center really close to me, so I'd have to journey to one). However, having said that, if I could just drop the LaCie external drives into this unit and either 1) be able to just transfer the data on both drives through my iMac to another new external drive, or 2) have this dual bay enclosure "look" at the drives, but not damage them if they are in fact RAID, I'd much rather just order this dual bay docking station and save myself the journey to the Apple Repair store, just to find out the status of the drive. Make sense?
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2015
992
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on the land line mr. smith.
I would expect that with the same controller, you can drop your drives in and go. But, variables include exact hardware and/or firmware on the RAID controller.

The safest thing would be to find a friend with a working TB ports to copy the data off, and then reformat drives.

I have used TB 2 to FW adpaters on quite a few external drives, never any issue. If you have FW on any of your Macs, perhaps this is worth a look.
 
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casperes1996

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True, I'd just have to find someone with a Thunderbolt machine that would be willing to let me use it for "X" hours to transfer the info to another drive.
Come over, I'll lend you my iMac or MacBook for a while.

IF....my LaCie external is NOT RAID, could I simply take the drives out of it and plug them into this, and my computer would just see the 2x3TB drives as standalone external drives?:
Yes. Under any reasonable assumption, this should work just fine. For LaCie to prevent this would cost them extra to manufacture the device, for no reason whatsoever aside from ****ing over the customer, and 99% of their customers wouldn't even think to try anyway. They buy drives for their enclosure system - If they were to lock it down they'd need to develop a proprietary interface for internal communication and all sorts which would add unnecessarily to the cost of manufacturing.

Ranting aside, the short answer is just yes.

  1. IF...my LaCie external IS RAID, and I were to buy the unit above and put the LaCie drives into the unit, would I in any way risk losing the data on those drives while the unit was trying to figure out what they were and what was on them, or would they just be unreadable by this dual external bay unit, and all of the information on the drives would remain intact and safe and the drives just wouldn't be readable and/or I'd just get an error message (or they just wouldn't mount on/be seen by my iMac)?
When you'd plug it into macOS, it'd probably just tell you the drives are uninitialised and ask you if you want to format them. If you click cancel, your data will remain intact, but unreadable unless you plug the drives into a chassis that has the same RAID controller as in the LaCie box. Of course if the RAID is Apple Software RAID, it'll just read them.