Sandberg USB All-In-1 Hard Disk Link 

This is an interesting piece of kit if like me you have a couple of redundant internal IDE drives lying around. It can also work with SATA drives as well so for less than £20 these can now spring back to a useful life.

click image to enlarge

It is 7.5x4x1cm yes less than the size of a credit card. It has a 70cm USB lead hard wired into its end this has a black plug and a red plug on it. There is a small information sheet and a fairly substantial power supply ending with a four hole power socket as fitted to IDE internal drives.

In theory providing you have a spare IDE cable and a power lead you can open your PC case and do everything this little wonder does – and indeed on some occasions this has worked – however I have two hard discs that no matter what jumper settings I choose the reaction on the PC is nothing or a lock up requiring power removal and then a longer than normal restart.

Using this device once you have found the correct setting all should be well as it uses the plug and play interface that is USB.

I have tried this using both Vista and XP. It also works using notebooks that insertion and removal of hard discs were shall we say at least problematic.

The two hard disks that I have restored to life were 60GB and 10GB. The latter stopped working during a format when I was trying to install a new operating system on it. The 60GB was gift from a friend who assured me it worked fine, Windows disagreed using my normal methods but going back to basics with this Sandberg unit has produced a very useful piece of kit that now responds correctly when used externally on the Sandberg cable and indeed internally on an IDE cable. It now does backups on a USB 1.1 system and of course using the IDE cable means all actions are a great deal faster.

This piece of kit works for either USB 1.1 or USB2 drives, of course it works a lot faster with the latter.

When you first attach the cable the PC reads it as a USB device but puts it correctly under hard drives, until the jumpers are right the hard disc will not respond. It should be set as a master when on the USB link. AS neither of my drives had usable data I do not know if any data on the drive would be readable but if the drive worked correctly when attached normally I see no reason why not.

The 10GB drive just needed a format and then I was able to transfer data to it and read it back with no problem. I could then attach it to an IDE cable and once the jumpers had been changed to the correct positions Windows was then able to read it just like any other internal drive.

The 60GB drive was a longer problem and it took longer possibly because I was using this attached to a Vista system and almost any task needs you to give permission. I had to start lower but once it agreed there was a drive I was then able to format it and then it worked like the 10GB unit above.

I then swapped the drives round using the 10GB drive in the Vista system and the 60GB drive in the XP system and both worked correctly and allowed data to be written and read. Remember both these drives were just door stops before the Sandberg device came along.

I have not tried SATA drives but the two sides in English in the small User Guide explain that the extra red USB is to provide power for the SATA drive while of course IDE drives use the power brick supplied and connect the four hole lead to the drive to provide power.

One drive it would not get anything out of was the one I had crash last summer but I did not expect that to work, this gadget is good it however is not a miracle worker that drive crashed as is just a permanent doorstop.

Doing my Internet searches found the Sandberg USB All-in-1 Hard Disc Link at a best price of £16.99 including free delivery

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