How To Disassemble Seagate 3TB GoFlex Drive and Use it Internally

Seagate does not sell a 3TB external drive (as of December 2010) but I needed one.

The only other drive today is Western Digitals 3TB but it is slower, and I am not a fan of Western Digital… oh ya, and the Seagate 3TB EXTERNAL was $40 LESS expensive that the 3TB WD INTERNAL.  This made my decision to rip appart a brand new Seagate 3TB GoFlex drive an easy one.

Check out our video


The following is a response I sent in April of 2014 to a reader who asked, what should he do if the disk makes no noise when it is plugged in and specifically asked about replacing the base:

There are several items here I will address separately:

  1. We sell a lot of these devices and have had ONE bad base and ONE bad external power supply so those are definite possibilities, but unlikely
  2. If the disk is bad, I would do one of the following:
    1. Remove the disk from its plastic prison (as per the video) and connect it to a PC as an internal disk, if it spins up

i.      See if it shows in your MY COMPUTER as a disk… if it does, copy all the data off immediately

  1. If the disk shows but you can not copy the data, try GET DATA BACK FOR NTFS ( ) and install it on your primary drive (NOT the defective one)
    1. The software is just $80 and it works VERY well on dieing disks
  2. If the disk does not spin up I would CONSIDER sending the disk out to a physical recovery company in your town

i.      These companies will remove the platters from your disk and then copy the data to a new disk for you

  1. I have had to do this twice in 20 years and at about $2500 each, I thought long and hard about it
  2. Try changing the search city to your city after you click this link
  3. Note that MOST of the companies that say they do repairs, just ship them out to someone else, so I would call and ask if they have a clean room and do the work themselves.

I hope this information helps.


If you have troubles or want more information, you may find THIS article to be useful but here are some useful snippets:

…The ability to use the full capacity of these drives is dependent on the factors listed below –
· BIOS capability
· Storage Controller firmware
· Operating System
All three play a part in being able to fully utilize >2TB drives.

BIOS can now be characterized as either BIOS Mode (commonly called “legacy” BIOS – uses MBR) or UEFI Mode (GPT partitioning).

Primary Boot Drive – Boot to a drive:
· Legacy BIOS mode = MBR partition required
· UEFI BIOS mode = GPT partition required for Windows (some Linux versions support GPT boot under legacy BIOS with hybrid MBR)

Secondary drive
If BIOS is in Legacy or UEFI mode – a secondary hard drive can be either MBR or GPT formatted, depending on the OS version.

UEFI is the successor to the legacy BIOS, with more robust features and capabilities and for storage devices, some important differentiators and enhancements via GPT partitioning.

GPT uses 64-bit values to describe partitions. In theory, this means a maximum partition size of 2^64 (2 to power 64), though there are limitations within various OS that may constrain this (Windows limits the maximum raw partition to 18 Exabytes and Windows file systems currently are limited to 256 Terabytes each. Also, in theory, GPT has no limit on the number of partitions, but this is practically limited at the OS level. For example, Windows caps this at 128 partitions.

In UEFI mode, Microsoft Windows 2008 and 2008R2 will simply install normally, with no difference to the end user, except that it will create a new partition during install (ESP – EFI System Partition) and will automatically use GPT for partitioning.

MBR – Microsoft OS are all limited to a maximum capacity of ~2 TB when the BIOS is set to legacy BIOS boot mode and MBR is used to partition the drive. There may be some errors unless the partition is smaller than 2 TB in size. The best way to use the entire drive under MBR mode is to partition the hard drive using the storage/raid controller firmware.

UEFI – Windows Server 2008 X64 was the first Windows OS to offer UEFI support. This also means, by extension, GPT boot support. Drives over 2 TB can only be used as a boot drive (UEFI/GPT) under Windows Server 2008 X64 and newer (2008R2).

Installation note: In Windows Server 2008, if you try to explicitly create partitions once the drive is selected, vs clicking “next”, you will get an error. Simply click “next” and the hard drive will be partitioned and formatted correctly – this is an error in the installer for Windows Server 2008. See – for more information.

GPT – You can use a large capacity drive with a GPT partition as a DATA drive in Windows Server 2003 SP1 and newer operating systems. BOOT drive support is in Windows Server 2008 X64 and newer operating systems (that support UEFI mode) as noted above.

Windows support for GPT is covered in the following FAQ –


  1. Avatar
    jason December 10, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    I tried this, but on all of my internal sata connections it shows up as a 750 GB, but if i put it in a different enclosure and connect it to an esata conector it shows up as 3TB. Crossing the 2TB barrier is hit and miss for sure.

    • Ian Matthews
      Ian Matthews December 13, 2010 at 8:14 pm

      You need to make sure you use GPT and are running 64 Bit windows!

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