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Q: detecting an external hard drive ( No Answer,   1 Comment )
Subject: detecting an external hard drive
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: gnossie-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 28 Jul 2006 22:42 PDT
Expires: 27 Aug 2006 22:42 PDT
Question ID: 750576
I have by now three or four external hard drives that have
mysteriously grown useless to me because Windows stopped being able to
detect them.  So I replace them.  But the same thing keeps happening.

Is there a trick you can do on Windows (or is there some sort of
program out there) that will allow you to force Windows to detect when
an external hard drive has been connected?

It's the weirdest thing.  Time was when the drives would quickly pop
up as icons in "My Computer," but no more.  Even after a restart with
the thing connected.  Even with the "add hardware" wizard in the
Control Panel.

This is not just on one computer either:  the problem regularly
happens between three separate computers.  And there's nothing wrong
with the data on the hard drives:  everything passes a Norton check
when I can get Windows to recognize that it's there.

That's another thing:  the problem is intermittent.  Occasionally
Windows will detect my external hard drives like nothing is wrong.

So, my question:  how can I force Windows to detect what is supposed
to be a plug-and-play external storage device?

Request for Question Clarification by keystroke-ga on 29 Jul 2006 05:09 PDT
I feel you have two options here.

I hope that the first one will be the answer.

If you plug in your USB device and it is not detected go to here

START -> (settings or control panel depending on which you can see) ->
control panel (if you have not gone into it already) -> system ->
hardware TAB -> Device manager

you should now see EVERY single device that is connected to your computer.

Check the Disk Drives section for your USB devices, if you see them
try to right click and delete. If they are not there (as I suspect
they won't be) we will need to find them in the USB section.

Scroll down until you see the "Universal Serial Bus Controllers". See
if you can find the devices listed there.

If they are not listed check for an ICON showing a YELLOW warning sign
with ! in the middle of it, if you see those delete those and reboot

When Windows is rebooted insert your hard drive again and it should be detected.

If this condition does not exist then try the following.

right click MY COMPUTER and choose MANAGE
You should now see a new window with REMOVABLE MEDIA and DISK MANAGER.

Check REMOVABLE MEDIA for problems (although I don't expect you to see any).

If this does not work you may need to go to disk manager and it should
list all your disks, if you see the disk you require it may be listed
without a harddrive letter.

If this is the case right click it and choose "change drive letter and
paths" click ADD and assign a spare hard drive letter.

This hopefully should fix the problems, (you may need to do this on
all the computers).

Let me know if this fixes and I will post this as the answer.


Clarification of Question by gnossie-ga on 30 Jul 2006 01:05 PDT
Actually, that didn't work.  I can see my external hard drive as a
"USB Storage Device" under "Universal Serial Bus Controllers", but I
can do nothing with it there (such as dragging the icon into "My
Computer").  When I check the driver it says it's up to date.

Nevertheless, I can't open the drive, and it won't even display as
being there under "My Computer."

Also, I went into My Computer > Manage . . . etc.  It's simply not
listed.  The only drives listed there are the C drive, and the two
CD-ROM drives.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: detecting an external hard drive
From: zer0skill-ga on 30 Aug 2006 07:16 PDT
If this is your error:

USB Drive displays in your device manager, but not in your My Computer lists...
and it doesn't displaying in your (Manage/My Computer) Screen, its
because the partition information is lost, If you would like to try
and recover the data, I can give it a shot for you. What I'm looking
to do, is solve the current issue at hand.

This is how you fix it:

The partition infomation is lost on the drive, so you can reset the
partition on Windows XP(etc) as such...

Connect the drive so it appears in your Device manager
Goto My Computer, Right click, goto Manage
Expand Storage and click Disk Management
Your drive will be displayed  in the lower right portion of the screen
It should be named somthing like DISK# and the data portion will be a black bar, 
and it should say "Unalloted" right click the bar and click create partition.

Make it a primary partition...
For all USB Drives, I suggest using FAT32. 

Fill in any other boxes that seem neccessary, "Volume Name" and such,
and allow it to partition and format.

Voila, it works.

Contact me on IRC: Channel:#help NickName:Matt/zer0skill
IRC: Channel:zer0skill NickName:MattThomas/zer0skill

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