HomeTechnicalHow to take apart a Maxtor Basics external 3.5″ USB drive


How to take apart a Maxtor Basics external 3.5″ USB drive — 45 Comments

  1. thanks for sharing how to break into those things. Is it not interesting how they hide screws? I am sure you were frustrated but the end result is joy.

  2. πŸ™‚

    I’ve noticed Maxtor hard disks last less time than any other, i first started my dislike when my wife had a Maxtor hard disk in her pc.

  3. i hate seagates cheap & nasty paper wieghts

    this helped me back up the customers data off his seagate

    thing is since he agreed to having the drive opened will void warrenty

    so he said back up my data & i told him to get a WD mybook


  4. Hey thanks!

    This just helped me out freeing my 1TB USB drive from its case and adding in internal. I just broke one latch, so it might still work with another disk, but for the moment i have no use for case.

    Thanks again for this hint!

  5. First of, thank you so much for the guide, would of taken hours without it.. I dropped my drive like 20cm freefall (not that much compared too the other external drives I have that I’ve dropped from much higher hights and survived perfectly) and since then it hasnt been working just making weird noises, so I’m gonna try putting it in my pc, see if it works.. by the way, i got 3years warranty (Maxtor basics 1000gb)

  6. I just took my (probably faulty) 500 GB Maxtor apart, following the steps you provided. Thanks!

    The internal drive happens to be a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 SATA.

    Now I hope te retrieve the (carefully collected ‘data’…)

  7. Thank you for this invaluable guide! I wanted to put the HDD from my Basics 1.5GB inside my PC as it was much cheaper than buying a new HDD. Worked a charm!

  8. Just a quickie:
    My maxtor 500GB external basics drive vanished from windows and linux with an error like: unable to write MFT$. something or other file is lost. Or similar. now will not load at all. I feel that the drive is spinning up inside the enclosure (you can feel that odd floating sensation if you tilt the drive as it boots up) but windows does not recognise it, saying that an unknown device is connected and the usb device has failed.

    Would the data on the drive still be intact and accessible if i mounted it inside my PC>

  9. Hi Hipokondriak,

    Its worth a try, but if mounting the raw drive inside your PC doesn’t work, then the only solution is to use a professional data recovery firm (which can be very expensive).

    Also: if the drive is about to fail, then try to minimise the amount of time its on and spinning… the more it spins, the more damage that can happen to your data.

  10. I dismantled my Maxtor Basics 2.5″ 160Gb and installed the drive in my laptop to see how I would go upgrading from the measly 80Gb drive int. Worked well.
    I then installed the Hitachi 80Gb drive from the laptop in the Maxtor case but XP wants me to find and instll drivers so I can’t access it.
    This was a temporary thing but I find it interesting.
    Any solutions?

  11. Hi,

    Before all, thanks for your superb guide. But I’m stuck at this point: I’ve removed the side part with the gloss finish and I don’t get what you mean by “tabs” (- because I’m from Turkey). My disk is a 1TB Maxtor Basics.

    Thanks in advance

  12. Thanks, my hard disk could not boot up. After calling Maxtor, they insist that the only way is to replace the entire unit. I did not want to lose my data and decided to give it a shot to remove the hard disk and try out. I suspected its the enclosure electronics that is damaged. After removing it, I plugged it with another power adaptor meant for hdd enclosure and it worked! Its the enclosure that was spoiled. Thanks for your article on how to remove the casing.

  13. Hi, I have that external HDD and mine is spoiled (Can’t be found in My Computer/hardware manager, but it’s still working ( everything looks like it should, except the light doesn’t blink anymore.) So I think I’ll follow your instruction to open the case.

    Inside is a normal internal HDD which i can plug into the sata port right on my motherboard right?

  14. Thanks for the advice on “liberating” it from the case.
    Mine stopped working, so I wanted to mount it directly in a PC for checking. Still no dice unfortunately.

    @Mincher – The drive is eSATA.

  15. i have a maxtor 1 tb hardrive and when i try to turn it on the power light is blinking but not burning continously and the same is not being read thru my laptop when plugged in through the usb port..am hence not able to access my files on my hd

  16. Hi everyone! πŸ™‚
    Just came across this page whilst searching for info on what was inside my Maxtor Basics 500GB 3.5″ external drive. (A Seagate Barracuda 7200 – Thanks, MickTheNick! πŸ™‚
    Anyhow…Just making a few comments in passing, although I apologise if some are after the fact… πŸ™‚

    @Hipokondriak (And others who get the “Unable to write MFT$” error)
    I had this same problem recently on a different external drive (A 40GB Quantum 7200 IDE inside an old Iomega case) whilst recovering data from a friends old Win95 laptop, and it turned out that all that had happened was that the NTFS master file table had become corrupted.
    To fix this, open a command prompt and type CHKDSK X: /F /X, where X: is the letter of your external HDD. If the drive isn’t showing in Windows, try; Use the “Safely remove hardware” window, disconnect the drive, turn it off, wait one minute, turn it on and let it spin-up, THEN reconnect it to the computer. πŸ™‚

    @Roger: Try disconnecting the drive from the laptop and turning it off as above, but when you re-connect it (AFTER powering the drive and letting it spin-up!) use a different USB port to the usual if possible. This should coax Windows (XP) into loading a fresh set of drivers for that device on that port, and might solve the problem. πŸ™‚

    Farewell for now, and hope this helps some of ye! >:-)
    +++ DieselDragon +++

  17. Just cracked mine apart, to find a nice 7200 500gb Seagate sitting in it? Not a maxtor…

  18. Thanks very much for this. Very helpful guide which helped me rescue my sister’s data after the drive enclosure failed.

  19. Thanks.

    Excellent article.

    Easy to get it apart. I expect internal electronics will be the problem.

    Putting in PC now.


  20. I have a Maxtor Basic 500gb.It had a mild drop, table to floor, and now it “hunts”. Everything looks ok. No sign of damage, but the pick up arm hunts for a few minutes, then the unit shuts down. Any suggestions ?

  21. @Bob: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if your drive has suffered a drop like that and it’s giving what’s commonly called the “Click of Death” (Does it make a noise like the hard drive in this video?) then it’s likely that the drive is a goner. πŸ™

    99% of hard drives aren’t that good at taking knocks and bashes as a rule, and with the gap between head and disk being mere thousandths of a millimetre, the shock of a drop like that is more than enough to crash the heads. Sadly, this is a common vulnerability in all HDDs that I know of. 😐

    The only drive I’ve ever seen take a fall like that and still work was an old 420MB Connor that I had several years ago. That thing however still worked no matter what I threw at it…I even had a bus driver friend of mine try driving a 14 ton double-decker over the thing, and it still kept on going even after that! >:-)

    If you can still coax the drive into life and access the files upon it, then my advice would be to back everything up immediately as the remaining lifespan in that drive (If any) might be measurable in minutes rather than hours. In any case, I wouldn’t advise trying to use that drive for further data storage…Even if it does come back to life, it could (And may well) fail at any time and without further warning. πŸ™
    +++ DieselDragon +++

  22. It worked for me. Thanks for the step-by-step. I broke one tab but other was able to take it out, and that was the main goal.

  23. Hahaha, i got 2 units of Maxtor 1.5 TB drives, and i started very good at first, but, breaking the tabs one by one made me so sad πŸ™‚

    a very very nice article here, thanks for detailed information. that was my first time here, but i will keep following you…
    thanks again.

  24. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Today, 29 Apr 2011, my 2 y.o. external Maxtor (same model than yours) decided to stop working. As a desperate move and last hope, I decided to follow your instructions. Now the external drive has become an internal drive and started to work again! It’s clear that the problem is in the external case and/or power interface etc. That sucks man, I’m seeing a lot of posts around of people who lost a whole lot of stuffs when the HD stopped working. I seriously hope that they will find your post like me. Maxtor, get real you bastards! (you figure if they mentioned this on their support forum)

  25. Brilliant! Fair play to you for taking the time to do this, saved me hours and possibly wrecking the enclosure- worked a treat. Modest paypal donation on the way to keep this site going.

  26. Hi i Unscrew mine maxtor and inside there was a seagate hdd 1tb!! when i try to put it internal in my computer the pc does not recognize him at all…not even in the bios… i there a solution about that?

  27. Times like this I just think the Internet – and people like yourself who post tips like this – are just tee-riffic.
    My Maxtor basics 500GB went missing from Windows – I think it’s the enclosure and not the drive – but I could not get it open. Found the side panel trick but not the screw under label – till I read this. Magic. Thanks a million.

  28. Thank you very much!

    Interesting.. The internal drive is a Seagate Barracuda SATA

  29. Thanks worked nicely. Too bad one of the screws didn’t come out so I had to bend the thin sheet metal cover, but the drive came out fine. Thanks for this guide.

  30. Hi everybody,
    I own a 1Tb Maxtor Basics Desktop Storage drive
    but I have lost his power supply. I want to buy a generic power adaptor but there is no information about Voltage and Amper. I did find anything about this on the seagate website.
    Is there anyone who could help me by telling me about these informations ?

  31. Hi everybody,
    I fhave found out on ebay a power supply with 12v 1,2 A which workds perfectly for my 1Tb Maxtor Basics Desktop Storage drive

  32. Hey outstanding blog! Does running a blog like this take a
    lot of work? I have very little understanding of coding but I was hoping to start my own blog
    soon. Anyways, should you have any recommendations or techniques for new blog owners please share.

    I know this is off topic however I just had to ask. Thanks!

  33. Wow, amazing weblog layout! How long have you been running a
    blog for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your
    web site is fantastic, as well as the content material!