Screwdriver for 5-Point Star Screw
I bought my wife a Seagate 80 GB External Hard Drive at Walmart today. It's shaped somewhat like a purse, so I thought I'd take it apart and paint the metal case pink with flower patterns on it. It would make my wife's desk livelier than with its boring gray case. Plus, eventually, I would like to upgrade the internal drive with a new one when the current drive crashes, or to put a bigger one in there.
However, Seagate uses specialty screws on the bottom of the case to keep people out of it. Rather than drilling the screws out, I'd prefer to find the right screwdriver and replace the screws with generic Phillips ones. The screw has a 5-point star (or flower-petal) shape with raised circle middle. A picture of the screw is shown below. Anyone know where I can get a screwdriver for these screws?
Thanks to the helpful folks on Newsgroups (see "Strange Screws" in Related Links), this screw has been identified as the Security (Temper-Proof) Torx Plus.
I ordered the "SK Hand Tool (SK 84231) 11 Pc. Tamper-Proof TORX Plus Bits Socket Set" through Amazon. It actually supplied by ToolTopia, an Amazon affiliate. After waiting patiently for a week, the bits finally arrived. I had the fingers crossed that the bits won't be a set of regular TORX bits. They weren't.
The tamper-proof TORX Plus bits came on a socket rail. I've always wondered why bits would be installed in sockets. But after some thought, I realized the bigger TORX bits won't fit a regular screw driver bit socket. If you know a better reason, please share it with us. Luckily I had a 1/4" drive socket adapter that I could use with my screw driver.
In a few minutes of having the new bits, I had taken the Seagate 80 GB External Hard Drive case apart. The case is quite well made, with a lot of metal heat sinks. I would have no hesitation of putting any new hard drive in such a case. The gray cover that looks like a metal cover turned out to be plastic.
Since I had the external drive case apart, I figured I might as well test the case and see if it would accept other hard drives. A brand new Seagate Barracuda 250 GB IDE hard drive happened to show up at my door on the same day. It was a replacement for a warranted drive (see my "Hard Disk Crash" article elsewhere on this site). Of course, this test would kill two birds with one stone, because it would also test whether this replacement drive works or not.
I removed the internal hard drive and the internal metal bracket from the external case. The internal hard drive was securely with various mounting screws and rubber dampers. After removing the drive from the metal bracket, the bracket is bare for a new drive (see picture below).
Installing the new hard disk was rather easy. The case readily accepted the new 2.5" hard disk. And the computer recognized the hard disk immediately. I went through the process of partitioning the drive and formatting it. The USB external case and the new internal hard drive worked flawlessly.
I finally painted the case fluorescent pink, a color picked out by my wife. After installing the original drive and bracket back into the case, I put it back together. With the new tampering-proof TORX Plus bits in my tool chest, I am no longer so anxious to replace the screws with standard Phillips screws. I screwed the original screws back. But I should find some time to source the regular screws for convenience.
The new color is amazing. It made the original boring gray computer peripheral into a flamboyant, eye-catching gadget. It looks much better even behind my--a man's--eyes.
Great article. I live in the caribbean, and getting those bits were impossible to get down here. What a friend and I did was use two small flat precision screwdrivers, and wedge them between the grooves, and turn. It worked like a charm, better than we had expected actually.
Did you find the screwdriver?
I have the same problem
yah, I bought this set:
Thanks for answering. Do you remember the size of the bid? Was it T15 or T25?
Thanks a lot!
I got a computer from work after they upgraded and want to beef it up a bit and install linux but they used some 5 Point Security torx Plus Bits. Holy cow that set is EXPENSIVE for the amount of gear you get. I'm surprised it's even on Amazon though since other sites like Wiha Tools says they're only available if you're licensed. Wikipedia says they're mainly used in prisons and schools. I guess they're expensive cause they're still under patent control. From Wikipedia: variants: Drivers for the tamper-resistant version are tightly controlled by Camcar, and are sold only to OEMs (along with the fasteners), or OEM-authorized repair facilities.
Some are on sale on ebay under this title:
for $19.99 + $7 shipping.
I have a Seagate 500 GB USB Disk model# ST30000CB. The torx head is in a crevice that is almost a inch deep and 1/4 inch in width.
The Torx bits (sold at Amazon.com or currently on Ebay) very likely will not fit into the small crevice since it has a large base.
Does anybody managed to open one before?
Yah . . . I had thought maybe the recess was too deep at first, but luckily the bits from Amazon were just right (see "ever find those 5-point torx drivers?" thread in the Trackback section below).
When I get home, I can post more precise measurements.
Yes, please post the measurements of the thickest part of the T20 bit.
A 1/4 socket adapter barely fits into the recess. This means the base of the bit would have to be bigger than 1/4 inch to hold the socket adapter. So I highly doubt the recommended set of bits from Amazon will work ... but still hoping.
The thickest part (socket) doesn't need to go into the recess. The security Torx bit part fits into the recess with about 1/8" left over. The bit part doesn't even touch the base of the plastic. I shot a photo last night for you, but didn't get a chance to respond because I had some baby problems. Will attach the photo tonight.
Thanks for the info and your time!
Can you tell me how deep is your recess and how long the T20 bit is? The recess on my Seagate is 3/4 inch.
I will avoid buying Seagate stuff in the future. The frustration is not worth it.
I've attached the photo below. My external hard drive is ST380203U2-RK. I don't know if your enclosure is the same one as the one I painted pink above.
I want to shoot a photo with the ruler beside the bit. But I can't right now, because the baby is sleeping in my left arm ... so maybe later.
Ok, baby is quietly asleep . . . attach is the photo showing the measurement of the T20 bit in inches.
Around 6pm today when I checked the Amazon website, it was no longer being sold by Tooltopia but by Toolsurge. The price was raised from ~$84 to ~97. The 'used' dealers (1 of them being Toolsurge) similarly raised their price as well.
As I'm placing my order around 2:30am, the seller/supplier is now 'Automotive Specialty Tools, Inc.'.
Yikes! The bits don't work for my drive. They are not long enough. Just for the record, my model # st3500641cbrk (not ST30000CB as I has metioned earlier). If anybody has any luck with this drive, lemme know.
btw, those same torx plus bits made by SK are also available at Sears.
What does your Seagate enclosure look like? Got a pic? It'll help others identify drive that will and won't work.
googling the model # i found the pics
I have the same Seagate as the pink one, & am also trying to open it as the electrics are shot. Want to try the hard drive on my PC to see if I can recover my precious photos. (I'll never buy Seagate again - fan stopped after 3 months)
Anyway I have the T20 but can't seem to get a turn on it. I dont want to lose the threads on the screw. Are you sure its the T20 size ?
Leslie, regarding the Seagate ST30000CB. If it is a T20 screwdriver that we need(I have the same drive and want to change the hard drive), maybe that screwdriver would work:
It's a T20 on my drive.
T20 Torx Klein will not work because it's a 6 Star Torx. I think you need a 5 star torx, otherwise known as tamper proof torx or torx plus.
Just to be clear - where is the cheapest place I can buy this 5 point Torx to open this pink box above ?
The cheapest place is Amazon @ $97. Sears also appears to be selling them at their stores and it is $134 for the equivalent item. If you are in the South San Francisco Bay Area and are willing to pick it up, I will sell you mine for $91. Reply back in the post if you are interested and I will email you (or anybody that is interested).
I've checked backup recovery prices and Seagate charges between $700 to $2400 to recover the data. Computer stores easily charge from $700 upwards. I will probably avoid Seagate usb external disks in the future. Their customer service is also not very good. I'm getting mixed answers each time I call in regarding backup price and authorized service dealers.
there is a company called Eazypower who manufactures a 3-point security tip that works with 3,5,7,9 point screws. along with other specialty products. They make several great problem solver products. www.eazypower.com
It is not a Torx T20 on a Seagate ST30000CB, it is smaller.
Sorry I did not read your earlier post. Can you tell me where you got your Torx and what Torx size you used? Thanks.
" there is a company called Eazypower who manufactures a 3-point security tip that works with 3,5,7,9 point screws. along with other specialty products. They make several great problem solver products. www.eazypower.com "
I went to their website but cannot find this 3 point tip - can you help me find it with a more precise description, or link ? Thanks
My question is that once you opened the external hard drive case, was the drive IDE or what? Mine is a Seagate ST30000CB and will not power up anymore (no blue light) and I have 5 years worth of pictures on it that I want to recover. Can I put into a PC with IDE conrollers and power it up that way?
To recover data from a hard drive. If it is an external USB or Firewire drive it may be a bad USB/EIDE adapter so try it as a bare drive in a PC. It will either be EIDE or SATA...you can tell easily by the connectors and you can mount it in a PC. If it is SATA, you can get a SATA adapter or find a newer PC with SATA. If it is a 2.5"drive from a notebook, you can get an adapter to plug into regular EIDE or SATA.
Hopefully you will see the file system and can copy things off. Do it immediately as the drive may malfunction when it warms up or the filesystem may "unravel". The next thing is to buy a used or new working drive of EXACTLY the same make and model and take the analog board (the green electronics board) off the new one and put it on the old one and see if you can read the drive then. If not, then the only hope we know of is to send the drive to a drive recovery service for hundreds of dollars. Always have a backup...drives are mechanical and they will die. Good Luck!
The nail file tool on my Swiss Army Knife worked excellent on my Seagate drive.
Did your Seagate have the 5 point security screws covered above here ?
I got this screwdriver ACE 2167054 PRECISION SLOTTED SCREWDRIVER (PACK OF 2) at my local ACE hardware for $4.50 and it worked like a charm on my Seagate ST30000CB 750 Gb external. Turned out the drive was IDE :-(. Was hoping for a SATA. Guess I'll give a converter a try. Recommandations anyone?
Are you going to put the IDE drive into your desktop computer, where you have SATA interface? If so, here are two converters that could help you do that:
Found your article while searching for this magical 5 point screwdriver for the exact same Seagate external drive. Fortunately, there is a easier and cheaper way to beat this problem. Simply take a standard T-20 torx bit and carefully grind all but one of the 6 "flukes" away. The remaining fluke will align in any notch and remove the security screw. Total cost: $2.49 at your local OSH hardware store. That pink paint sure looks good, wonder how you kept Seagate logo visible?
Hey, that's a good tip, Tony. I didn't think of that. What kind of tool do you need to grind the tip? Would a high-speed rotary tool work?
The pink spray paint I got wasn't very opaque. The transparentness was a side-effect that I thought was nice. You can probably cover the logo up with a base paint, a sealer paint, or sand it away first.
I used a regular bench grinder. I marked off in red on both sides of the one fluke I needed. I put the bit in my regular magnetic bit handle and held it sideways on the grinder. I adjusted the holder plate for a tight clearance against the grinder wheel and rested the bit handle on it and slowly rotated with light pressure. The grinder I used has a light on it so visibility is good. The grinder will go through the bit like a hot knife through butter, so you have to take you time and check often or you might find you've ground off ALL the flukes. You could probably use a Dremel tool to grind off the fluke, but I didn't have one of those at work.
I found just the Torx Plus 20 socket driver listed on Snap-On Tools' online store for just $24.01.
They also sell the bit only (without the socket) for just $13.55.
Oops! Please ignore the above... these are not the Tamper Resistant ones (they don't have the recess for the bump in center). Snap-On has those listed, but they don't show the price, so you can't order them online.
Sorry about that. Be aware that you must get Torx Plus Tamper Resistant or Torx Plus TR.
Now... anybody out there with a lathe who wants to mod some regular Torx Plus tips? :)
I took a Seagate 40GB external hard drive to our machinist. It took him a couple minutes on a grinder to make a tool with a trangular tip which would remove the 5-point Torx Security screws(metric size 2x12).
Hey, my External Seagate(exactly like the pink one) just gave out on me but I believe it can be fixed. What I did was go and drop it about 1 1/2 feet to the ground right onto the connected USB port. This tweeked the USB b shaped plug and the inside shaft of the plug is most likely broken cause it kinda wobbles around in there. So since I think I have enough info to take the cover off from this web page, does anyone with computer knowledge know what I can do to replace this USB b port or just plan access my data and back it up without sending it in and spending hundreds? I have 4 years of pictures and movies from my time in remote Alaska which are very valuable to me. This will be a life leason and from now on everything will be backed up. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Like I said its just the USB b port on the back of the unit that is damage. thanks
Buying a T20 Temper Proof Torx bit at Napa Auto parts for $1.99 and grinding down 5 of the points worked great. I used a Dremel rotory tool. I already had one but if one must it is actually cheaper to go buy a rotary tool and the bit than buy the real deal 5 point star bits off amazon.com. I am going to buy a used Seagate 160GB drive and swap out the bad/broken control board. Pretty easy to do and cheap since the local computer store wouldnt touch it for less that $150 and Seagate data recovery for $500.
You can pull the drive out and stick it into another USB case to retrieve the data. Or you can stick it into your computer. Just be careful that you don't format the drive or anything.
I was having trouble locating these bits and I bought a big kit some of which above were quoted as being able to work but they did not. I then searched on ebay and amazon but didn't want to drop around 90 dollars to get into my seagate casing. So I kept searching and sure enough an ebay seller named zdmak is selling an item called 5 Point Star TORX Tools BMW VW Audi Mercedes air bag, for 20 dollars and shipping. This is reasonable considering the other places, it appears to be the real deal and I'm hoping I can figure a way to rescue the drive myself since I was quoted about 1200 dollars to restore the 120gb drive.....
Rick - did zdmak's tools work? I've found bits and ordered them from Wiha - but just like others here have mentioned - the Seagate external drive has a very deep recess and the 1/4" bits just don't cut it. So I'm still looking...
Techbridge - Mike
Problem solved. - OK - out of frustration here's how I decided to delicately resolve this problem. Having ordered the 6,7,8,10 and 20 Torx Plus Tamper Resistant bits from WiHa and searching and waiting weeks before that for the right tools to crack the Seagate case - I then decided I needed to make the case fit the tool.
My case (320GB external) had a long, narrow recess - and to boot it was slightly under 1/4" round. Nothing wrong with the case - but the hard drive was shot. And the bits from Wiha did not fit the hole circumference. IO also had doubts about the depth. So - I decided I would drill out the hole another 1/16th. Using a nice sharp 5/16 bit on slow speed - I carefully drilled out the hole - voila - as you can see in picture - you can't even tell it was drilled out. (The outer shell covers these holes anyway) Then I needed T-10 Security Plus bit. Dropped into the hole - there was JUST enough reveal on the bit to get a bite with the holder and with the hole drilled out - enough room to spin it. Problem solved! To keep the bit from recessing to0 far into the holder - I wadded up some solder wire and out it inside the holder.
Techbridge - Mike
The tools here are perfect because they are screwdrivers with 250mm blades and various 5 star sizes, more than enough to reach into that damn Seagate orifice and unscrew that 5 star. They are for side mirrors of Mercs. Sold from the UK and about US$30 plus another 15 or so for shipping.
There is a single t-handle 5 star size T20 here that will do the job.
My external hard drive crashed (literally, to the ground) recently. Ironically, I had tripped on the wire when I moved it to my main computer to back up some files. There was nothing too important on it (thankfully, I back up regularly), though there were a few files that I didn't have a chance to back up. I figured I'd open it up and see if the drive was salvageable. Imagine my surprise when confronted by the 5-point HELL screws! Thankfully, I managed to find this site.
I was hesitant to order the $90 tools, as the data wasn't *that* important to me. However, I looked for the zdmak tools that Rick mentioned and figured 26 bucks would be what a new enclosure would cost me anyway, so I dove in. I ordered the bits (which came with a mini-ratchet) on Sunday and received them five days later.
I can confirm that the zdmak tools worked like a charm on my ST3160203U2-RK (which is the same enclosure pictured in the first picture on the top of this page). When I first tried to turn the ratchet the screw wouldn't budge, and then I realized I was turning the wrong way. >_< After realizing my bone-headed mistake, I remembered "lefty loosey" and the screw came out easy as pie.
The bit that I used was labeled TS20, and not T20. I'm not sure if it will work with other enclosures, but on the model I had the bit & ratchet were just long enough to reach the screw.
For those wondering, I wasn't able to salvage the HD, but I was planning to upgrade anyway, and at least now I have an enclosure to put the new HD in. Thanks to Chieh Cheng and everyone else for the help!
Situation: I accidentally plug my External drive with my laptop adapter and probably fried some capacitor inside the console or the HD controller board.
Tried opening the case but I have no tool's to remove the 5 star screw.
One week afer the accident I finally opened the case of my 500G SEAGATE External HD after looking for this 5 point star tools and failed to find it.
While looking for any closer tools to use I found this very small flat driver that fits the 5 start screw. It's good enough to bite 2 of the points of the 5 star screw. Well I kinda bend the middle security stud but who care's it's out of the warranty anyway most important is to open the case without destroying the whole case.
After opening the case I found out that the console board don't have any fried circuit's in there. then I looked at the HD controller board and found one of the capacitor fried.
I hope my post help's guys.
I read this board and saw the suggestion about filing down a six-point tamper-proof torx bit -- I can tell you it worked a treat! It took a little while to file down the points enough, but with a bit of patience the screws came out easily, and best of all, the set only cost me �2 (that's less than $5). Just a tip - get the cheapest set. They won't last as long, but the cheaper ones are made of softer metal, and are therefore easier to file. I'm going to replace the screws with more normal ones, but for the moment I've used two of the screws found on the inside of the case to secure the cover in place.
Thanks a lot, Chieh and Tony!
P.S. My drive looks exactly like the one pictured, but the T20 was too small - I filed down and used the T25 in the end.
Check out Harbor Freight. They have various size sets for security bits for under $10. I ended up getting this one. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnu . . .
They have a smaller 33 piece set for $5 and the same set with 1" long bits for a similar price. I also had to drill out the holse on my seagate just a little bit to ensure I could get the driver to even reach the screw. After that, it all came out like a dream.
I had the same drive as pictured in the first post, and instead of buying any expensive bits I'm probably never going to use again I just grabbed a drill with a bit that was smaller than the t20 and drilled out the center of all 4 safety Torque screws.
Since the drill bit rounded out a bit of the points besides the center i easily was able to unscrew them with a regular torqx bit.
After I removed the cover i noticed the hard drive is held in place with the exact same size screw, only Phillips, so I only used two to hold the drive in place and used the other two to re-secure the cover.
Hi Tim which bit did you use because i have the same set of bits and the same enclosure as the first guy
any help would be greatly appreciated
I used the "two precision screwdriver" solution described by compubear. Once I got the knack I had all four screws unscrewed in 5 mins. So much for "anti-tamper".
I just found a set of the 5 sided TS bits for approximately $25 including shipping in the US. Link below:
Hey there. I was just trying to get my Seagate drive apart and stumbled across this site. Stupid Seagate.
Rather than spend $$$ on some stupid driver I'm never going to use again, I did what banchang did (at least I think). I used a small, flat precision driver to torque out the screw. You can't just "twist" the driver, you have to torque the driver and push around the outside of the screw. Imagine taking a spatula and running it around the side of a mixing bowl. Once I set the screw, I torque it, then turn the unit beneath to force out the screw.
I don't plan on reusing the screws, but I guess I could just take a dremel and cut a notch in the top to create a standard flathead screw.
Went to Habor Freight Tools to check out the security set that TIM posted above DOES NOT properly fit the External Seagate that Chieh Cheng started this thread and posted pictures about. There are NO TR-....Torx Plus 5 point with security hole bits in there. Not saying that you couldn't fenagle something out of that set to work, but if you need it to look clean (ie: in the hopes if the drive dies to get it back in there without it looking like you tampered with it....have to buy from the ebay guys, online somewhere else, or pay through the nose through (Amazon, Sears etc)....
RE: Tom Pot suggestion for the Harbor Freight Tools set. This will not work for those that need to be carefull and want to try an keep their warranty in tact. The kit from Harbor Freight ( and I found it and also asked but they have no 5 Point nor 5 Point TS Security bits ) contains only 6 point security bits.
I'm so glad I found this story. I also have the same drive, and am also in the process of pulling it apart. Unfortunate power lead incident (same thing as Alex Pascual)... need to check it's still working. So Alex (or anyone else if they have done the same stupid thing), to save me some trouble, did the HD work after you got the drive fixed?
Hi guys - I'm way behind your posts and hope veryone has sorted this problem now. I just found your posts cos I was having the same problem. Got into a sweat when you were talking about the price of specialist tools. So - my advice is get a cheapo watchmakers set for little money. Use the 2.4mm & 2.0mm flat heads together on each screw with the shafts crossing each other slightly - then twist the drivers counter-clockwise together. The screw should loosen off then twist it out with just one driver. Repeat with the other 3. Sorted!
By the way, the 4 philips-head screws holding the HD casing to the outer body are the same size thread as those nasty 5-pole tamper proof Torx screws. So bin the Torx screws and use just 2 philips on each mounting (or get some more from your hardware store).
ZDMAK: I bought from this guy... I bought a 5PT & 6PT security set $19.99 + $6 s/h
Considering the warranty you may be able to save on these drives (especially if you scavenge them for IDE/PATA systems not a bad price.
THE SEAGATE ENCLOSURE ADAPTER FAILED PERIOD.
thank for this info!
For my Seagate drive, I used a screw extracter bit (looks like a tapered, backward twist drill bit, cheap and available lots of places such as Sears). This bit bites into the screw as you back out the screw. It took about 60 seconds to remove all four screws. I then used a cut-off disk on the Dremel tool to cut a slot in the screw head for a standard screwdriver. Works great. It messes up the screw, but the drive is out of warranty so who cares. OBTW my drive, like that pictured in"SeagateWeb.jpg" contains sn Ultra ATA, 7200 rpm, 16 MB cache.
The link to amazon to buy the 5 point star security key bit is not available for sale anymore.
Here is a new link to a set I am buying to get my Seagate external drive open.
I got this set for $3.99 on Amazon, and was able to open a Seagate HDD. Just posting here, because this is one of the spots where I was looking for guidance on the issue. Silverhill 5 Point Star Screwdrivers (2-Pack)
I was faced with a bit too short and decided to carefully weld it onto another failed standard screw driver. Now I have a five point 6" long.
How did you get the T20 to work when the set you reference does't have the hole in the center for the nipple in the screws? I found a set of security torques at AutoZone today and even the T20 with the hole doesn't fit.
I don't understand what you mean by "the set you reference does't have the hole in the center for the nipple in the screws". The "SK Hand Tool (SK 84231) 11 Pc. Tamper-Proof TORX Plus Bits Socket Set" I bought off Amazon a long time ago (see link and photo in the earlier part of this thread) does have the hold in the center.
You have to be sure that you have the Security (Temper-Proof) Torx Plus, which has the hole, not the standard Torx bits. Both standard and the Security (Temper-Proof) Torx Plus uses the same size specification (e.g. T20). If you have Security (Temper-Proof) Torx Plus bits, but the T20 doesn't fit, then I am guessing Seagate has change the screw head on their drives. Either it is now a different size or it is no longer Security (Temper-Proof) Torx Plus. Show us a photo of the screw head.
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