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Reusing the Maxtor OneTouch III Mini Edition Portable Hard Drive

Recently, I wanted to put a new hard drive into my Averatec 3120V notebook computer. But the older drive that's already in the notebook isn't dead yet. I'd like to use the older drive in an USB enclosure. So when I bought the new replacement drive, I decided to get an external USB hard drive so that I can swap the drive between the two. I got the 80 GB version of the Maxtor OneTouch III Mini Edition Portable Hard Drive.

The USB enclosure for the Maxtor OneTouch III Mini Edition Portable Hard Drive wasn't meant to be reused. Perhaps Maxtor didn't want anyone to take the USB enclosure apart. But I found that it isn't so difficult to reuse this case.

To disassemble the USB enclosure, insert a small flat head screw driver between the case and its rubber sides (see photo below). Pry slowly until the rubber side comes off.

Attached Image:

Insert Flat Head Screwdriver.jpg

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 10 May 2007 18:27:09 -0700

After prying off the two sides, you'll see a small Phillips screw on each side of the case (see photo below). Unscrew these screws.

Attached Image:

Small Phillips Screw Holds the Case Together.JPG

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 10 May 2007 18:29:57 -0700

Once the screws are removed, you have to pry the case open by releasing the four locking tabs as shown in the photo below. There are two on each side.

Attached Image:

Pry the Locking Tabs.JPG

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 10 May 2007 18:32:18 -0700

Separate the case and reveal the hard drive (see photo below).

Attached Image:

Inside the Maxtor OneTouch III Mini Edition Portable Hard Drive.JPG

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 10 May 2007 18:34:32 -0700

Now, take the hard drive and the surrounding circuitry out of the case. You'll need to remove the rubber foam surrounding (see photo below). But don't destroy the rubber foam; we'll need it later to turn the USB enclosure into a reusable one.

Attached Image:

Rubber Foam Removed.JPG

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 10 May 2007 18:38:24 -0700

With the rubber foams removed, unscrew two more Phillips screws under the hard drive and metal casing. Then slowly peel off the button and wires around the hard drive. The hard drive and circuit board will separate (see photo below). But don't pull, because the wire is still connected to the circuit board.

Attached Image:

Circuit Board.JPG

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 10 May 2007 18:41:58 -0700

Separate the hard drive from the circuit board. The photo below shows the circuit board in the metal bracket. You can separate the circuit board and wires from the metal bracket. I decided that the metal bracket is not very useful, so I removed it completely.

Attached Image:

Circuit Board and Metal Bracket.JPG

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 10 May 2007 18:44:43 -0700

We are almost ready to reuse the USB enclosure. But before we do, we will reuse the rubber foam so that the hard drive will align correctly in the case. Line the rubber foam up in the enclosure as shown in the photo below.

After doing so, you can connect any notebook hard drive to the circuit board, wrap the wires and button around it, and place it into the USB enclosure. Assembling the case is basically reverse of disassembling.

Attached Image:

Foam Lining Around the USB Enclosure.JPG

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 10 May 2007 18:50:21 -0700

is the maxtor mini 2.5 sata ? cuz my ibook hd went and for 49 bucks... i would def do the labor to get that sob out and put it in my ibook..

Wed, 10 Sep 2008 15:34:58 +0000

No, the version I have is IDE. But with the entire industry going toward SATA, I wouldn't be surprised if the newer versions contain SATA drives.

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 11 Sep 2008 01:31:11 +0000

iBooks uses ATA hard drives, not SATA.

Sat, 08 Nov 2008 22:43:07 +0000

Excelent Data!!!..Just want I'need. Congratulation!

Mon, 22 Dec 2008 20:40:16 +0000

Thank you!

I just bought two of these as spare hard drives for my two older laptops that still use PATA hard drives instead of SATA.

Sat, 24 Jan 2009 03:39:16 +0000


Just used that tip to recover data from a dying drive!

Tue, 26 May 2009 00:29:29 +0000

Mine was bought in 2007 July it's OneTouch III mini 120 GB. I opened it, coz my drive is not accessible. It says Ultra ATA (PATA) on it. I wonder how to recover the access to this device and recover my files...

P.S. and thanks to the author for providing this info - It was helpful!

Mon, 15 Feb 2010 00:24:16 +0000

Great article on taking this thing apart. Thanks!

Thu, 23 Sep 2010 18:00:42 +0000

Thanks, exactly what I was searching for!
I will also build it into an ibook

Wed, 27 Oct 2010 18:10:29 +0000

This was perfect! It told me exactly what I need and wasn't confusing at all. It is also one of the ONLY ones that tells you how to disassemble a mini. THANKS!!!

Tue, 30 Oct 2012 18:16:23 +0300

Still a useful post after all these years! Thank you!

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:18:10 +0400

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