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Old 07-29-2008, 12:55 AM   #1
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Default Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini 320GB

Rory has posted an in-depth look at Maxtor's latest external enclosure, the 320GB OneTouch 4 Mini:

Maxtor's diminutive OneTouch 4 Mini pushes the capacity envelope again, packing a positively huge 320 gigabytes of storage into a tiny enclosure. It's also one of the sexiest mini external drives we've seen. Is the OneTouch 4 Mini 320GB a portable storage slam-dunk?

You can read the full article here and then discuss it here.
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:09 AM   #2
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Default Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini Disassembly

As I mentioned in my review, the first test sample of the OneTouch 4 Mini 320GB that I received had USB connectivity issues, so I had to request a replacement from Maxtor. Thankfully, they were kind enough not to ask for the dead drive back, so I had a chance to check out my suspicion that the problem was simply a failure of the controller card inside the drive enclosure, not the drive itself. If that was the case, I still had a perfectly-functioning 320GB 2.5" hard drive on my hands. I simply needed to extract it from its enclosure.



This is what I was up against. The Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini enclosure has no visible screw holes, though around the bottom edge, there is a seam that suggests that the two halves of the drive come apart. A bit of experimental prying with my fingernails confirmed that this was the case, and I only needed to stick a flat object into the seam to get the enclosure apart. It didn't put up much of a fight.



The Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini enclosure has a clamshell-style internal design that cradles the drive itself inside, with no fasteners whatsoever anchoring the drive to the casing. The drive is simply suspended in the middle of the enclosure by several foam rubber pads, which helps prevent the transmission of vibration, and was likely what contributed to the drive's almost imperceptible noise level -- I had to hold the drive right up to my ear to hear any noise at all. All the control circuitry for the drive and the USB port is hidden beneath a small RFI shield at the end of the drive where its SATA port is located.



The 2.5" hard drive in the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini isn't a Maxtor drive at all. It's a Seagate Momentus 5400.5, based on Seagate's popular Momentus 2.5" drive platform. The drive itself should have many more years of reliable service on it. Also, the drive is fully SATA 2.0 compliant. The appearance of a Seagate drive here isn't a surprise, since Seagate acquired Maxtor a couple of years ago, positioning the Maxtor brand in the lucrative lower end of the hard drive market.





Removing the metal shield from the bottom of the drive reveals a small PCB that plugs directly into the drive's SATA and power connections. This PCB doesn't even have a physical connection to the RFI shield -- it just hangs off the back of the drive itself. The SATA connections to the drive are soldered to the PCB itself.

Let me state that we don't advocate taking your hard drive apart on some idle Sunday, because you'll most assuredly void the drive's warranty. I just happened to have one that I couldn't use, and decided to attempt the experiment. Of course, the internal drive was in perfect shape, and it's now spinning happily away in my Gateway laptop, where it replaced an 80GB Fujitsu. Depending on how much Maxtor wants to charge you to recover data from the drive if you encounter a similar problem to mine, it may make more sense simply to take out the internal drive and buy an external 2.5" HDD enclosure.
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Last edited by Rory Buszka; 07-29-2008 at 11:22 AM. Reason: Adding more detail.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:18 PM   #3
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I have had too much trouble with the external ( one touch ) drives.
The two I had, I took apart also to use the drives.
If the price is right, it would be a great notebook drive

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Old 07-30-2008, 08:19 AM   #4
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Interesting, thanks for the informative post Rory.
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Old 08-06-2008, 12:18 PM   #5
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Default Cool Post

Yeah, thanks for sharing your experiment. It answered all my remaining questions about the drive (after all, who cares what software it ships with??). Mine is on order.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:27 PM   #6
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Default as far as photo storage goes

I know this may be small of me, but if I want to use this drive simply to backup photos, then wouldnt I get many more photos on by deleting the sofware?
Any thoughts on this?
Thanks!
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Old 11-17-2008, 11:25 AM   #7
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Default Thanks, Rory Buszka

I'm going to go try that - they want $1700 to recover data from this thing. DIY sounds pretty good right about now. Yeesh.
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Old 11-17-2008, 11:41 AM   #8
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Who wants the $1,700? Seagate, or someone else? That's a HIGH quote for something that might be so simple.
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:54 PM   #9
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Hey thanks for the info. My One Touch Mini was accidently dropped on the floor and was not working. I followed your instructions on taking it apart, put the HD in a 2.5 SATA HD enclosure and everything is back to normal.
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:07 PM   #10
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Hello, Chris.

I wouldn't go simply deleting the drive's packaged software, since it isn't always easy to get it back, but you'd probably be fine with copying all the files preloaded onto the drive onto a CD-R and then deleting them from the drive.

Sadly, I can't say I'm surprised to see all the interest in my disassembly of the OneTouch 4 Mini. It would appear that Seagate/Maxtor's external storage solutions haven't exactly had the best track record of reliability lately, since it seems like they're pairing their usually excellent internal drives with the very cheapest SATA/USB bridge chips available, and it's often the internal circuitry, not the drive, that fails. Here's hoping that they'll notice the problem and do what's necessary to reverse the trend before their reputation suffers.
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:36 PM   #11
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Default Maxtor One Touch 4 Mini doesn't sync

Hi folks

I am using this product, and I am able to see files and transfer them back and forth manually. But I am unable to get the sync feature to work. There isn't much there in the Maxtor Manager that comes with it, but I have tried every combination and I am very computer literate. When I configure the One touch button to sync on press ("Sync now") , it launches the Sync Progress bar, which goes to 100% quickly and then tells me "no file operation needed." Well, I am looking at the two directories I am trying to sync, and the one on the Maxtor is clearly not synced with my main hard drive.

Yes, I have that directory and all its subdirectories checked in the Sync Settings. It misses entire new subdirectories within the main directory I asked it to sync.

Any clues?

Thanks
Lisa
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:47 PM   #12
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...and I am running XP, so this is not the Vista problem. Sorry for leaving that out. I also let it auto upgrade to v4.7.0.7 hoping that would fix it, but it didn't. I have a Dell Inspiron 700m, 70G HD NTFS. The Maxtor is an 111GB NTFS with only 70GB used. I am not syncing more than 10GB so no capacity issues.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:16 PM   #13
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Hi Lisa:

I am not familiar with the software, but is there an option in there somewhere that tells is to recursively sync the folders? Without that option selected, it wouldn't grab the subfolders. I guess I should ask, are the files in the root section of the local folder the same as the OneTouch folder?

You might want to put a blank text file in the source folder, then hit Sync and see if it copies that. That would tell us if it is copying just the "root" section, or nothing at all.

eg:

C:\Documents and Settings\Lisa\Documents\textfile.txt
F:\OneTouch\foldersync\textfile.txt
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rory Buszka View Post
Removing the metal shield from the bottom of the drive reveals a small PCB that plugs directly into the drive's SATA and power connections. This PCB doesn't even have a physical connection to the RFI shield -- it just hangs off the back of the drive itself. The SATA connections to the drive are soldered to the PCB itself.

Let me state that we don't advocate taking your hard drive apart on some idle Sunday, because you'll most assuredly void the drive's warranty. I just happened to have one that I couldn't use, and decided to attempt the experiment. Of course, the internal drive was in perfect shape, and it's now spinning happily away in my Gateway laptop, where it replaced an 80GB Fujitsu. Depending on how much Maxtor wants to charge you to recover data from the drive if you encounter a similar problem to mine, it may make more sense simply to take out the internal drive and buy an external 2.5" HDD enclosure.
Hi Rory,
Thanks very much for your useful information. I purchased an enclosure and the drive appears to function. Problem is I had it password protected and now my system (XP) only sees it as a 'generic security locked drive' in Device Manager (no drive letter). The Maxtor software does not see it either.
I image this is a dead end. My question is - have you heard of any aftermarket PCB's available anywhere?
Thanks, Ralf
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:09 AM   #15
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Hi...I can say I am a little tech savoy, but after pulling this apart, I really dont know what a HD looks like and I am not sure what those two pieces are that you have pulled apart. If I want to get a new enclosure, what pieces am I putting in to the new enclosure? I know this probably sounds stupid of me, but I need to get my music and pictures back and I am willing to do anything, well minus paying Seagate 1,700.
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