How Do I Connect Disks To Import Data/Backups To Azure?

How do you connect your disks if USB is out of the question? I recently had some experience on a customer site and learned a few things.

The first thing to note is that you always use a naked 3.5” SATA II/III disk, and never a NAS or USB disk.

You use a disk dock/duplicator. You connect this device to the machine running the import drive prep tool, and then you plug the SATA disk(s) into the dock. Microsoft lists (under “Hard Disk Drives”) 4 supported models from 3 vendors:

  • Anker 68UPSATAA-02BU
  • Anker 68UPSHHDS-BU
  • Startech SATADOCK22UE
  • Sharkoon QuickPort XT HC

The Anker and Startech models (these precise models) are:

  • Old USB 2.0 devices
  • Not distributed outside of the USA

I got my Startech SATADOCK22UE via Ebay from the USA, which cost around $100 after purchase, shipping, and import duties. The USB 3.0 Sharkoon appears to be available outside the USA via the likes of Amazon. I wouldn’t describe it as widely distributed, but it might be the best of the 4 options.

My advice: don’t take chances and get 1 of the above. I worked with a customer that bought a newer USB 3.0 European Startech dock model and the Azure drive prep tool refused to work with it:

[Error] Command failed with exception: AzImportDll.AzImportException: Could not read serial number or signature for the drive. This is a critical error an the command cannot run. This may be due to certain USB adapter or disk drivers that are not fully compatible with the operating system.


This was despite the fact that Device Manager has no issues with the disk which we were able to initialize and format. So keep it predictable, and make the effort to get one of the supported disk docks.

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