Be careful when using docking stations

Published on 2013-02-04.

Many docking stations has bad controllers which can result in ruined partition tables and data corruption. If you plan on using any kind of docking station with a large hard drive (larger than 2TB) you need to verify that the docking station can handle large drives properly. You should also verify that the driver doesn't contain any unfixed bugs that might result in that the drive isn't handled properly.

Mounting and un-mounting drives using a docking station, even when done safely, can result in data corruption.

On Linux such hard drive problems usually reveal themselves when you suddenly can't mount the drive resulting in a "unknown partition table" message in /var/log/messages

If this happens it might still be possible to save a large part of the data. Don't mount the drive using the docking station. Mount the drive using a normal SATA port and take a look at the drive. If the partition table is still ruined the utility TestDisk might help.