Accessing an old Smartdisk Firelite drive?
July 12, 2017 1:54 PM   Subscribe

I have a closet full of old disks and laptops from ancient work and personal use. I'm overdue to stop harboring a junkyard and want to make sure there's nothing important on them before giving stuff the heave ho. Today's self-assigned challenge is a SmartDisk Firelite FLFW60. Yes, I know it's like trying to speak to an ancient civilization... but can you help?

I am trying to boot it up with a brand new iMac running Sierra. I have the drive plugged in to the wall, I've got the right 400 to 800 adapter, and it's plugged in to my computer... the drive's light is on and I can definitely feel it reading the information, but when I look on the screen or call up Disk Utility there's nobody home.

Suggestions? Someone told me maybe this drive is so old that it requires a driver...?

Is there ANY way to get these things to communicate so I can copy stuff over to my archive? I'd rather not give up, to be honest... this is becoming a bit like buried treasure... I'm hoping to possibly find forgotten old photos of people who aren't in this world anymore.

Thanks in advance for your help.
posted by miss lynnster to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Is it a firewire drive? The name "firelite" suggests that, but current iMacs (you said "brand new" so I assume you mean the ones that just came out) don't have Firewire 800 ports, so I'm a little confused. In any case, you might want to try a new cable, because I've seen all sorts of weirdness with bad cables (more with firewire than USB, though).
posted by primethyme at 2:00 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can almost certainly pop the plastic case open and get the actual drive out, then use an adapter (randomly picked, not a recommendation) to hook the drive up to a computer.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:41 PM on July 12, 2017 [5 favorites]

Seconding NSAIDs answer; that's probably the route most likely to get things going with modern hardware. Otherwise I'd suggest finding a computer with FireWire ports and trying to read it from there instead of relying on an adapter that may or may not work.
posted by Aleyn at 4:20 PM on July 12, 2017

Response by poster: Figured it out! Yay! Aleyn, you made me think that maybe I just was plugging something wrong (even though it was fitting)... so I unplugged it all and went through all of my zillions of adapters until I figured out the combination finally worked with connecting it to the Thunderbolt 3 cable! YAY!

Thank you guys! Now I just have to go through it all...
posted by miss lynnster at 5:52 PM on July 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

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