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External USB Hard drive no longer recognized

Posted on 2005-02-28
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I used an old Sony cdr/rw external (USB) as an enclosure for a 80 Gig HD. It worked fine for a while, and then one day when i tried to access it said: "this drive is not formated, do wish to format the drive now". It appears in my computer as g: (C:) drive just like it used to, and the mass storage device removal icon still appears in the tray. It just won't open the drive. I am not sure, but I may have unplugged it w/o disableing the drive, (by clicking on the removal icon), but I never had a problem before.

This in WIN XP pro. Anyone have any suggestions how to get the sytem to recognize this thing again?

Dan
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Question by:DanWomac
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jltari earned 1000 total points
ID: 13427109
First of, I'd get the drive out of its USB casing and plug it directly on internal IDE.
From there, 2 possibilities :
1. It doesn't work.
This means that for some reason (maybe your casing was just not made to handle HDs) data got corrupted on the disk.
The best thing to do from there is to get a recovery software (I suggest Easy recovery, by Ontrack, but some people here will surely give you a list of sites for you to search through) and get to your damaged partition with it. NEVER WRITE ANYTHING ON THIS DISK. Anything written on it will probably erase data that was there before and that you want to get back.
If you can't get the data back this way and you are rich enough for this, you can contact a company specialized in data recovery (www.ontrack.com). That can cost you over $1500.
2. It works.
It might be a USB problem on your computer.
What if you plug other USB devices on it? Do they work? If not, you've found the source of your trouble.
If they do work, then it's probably your USB case that does'nt work properly. Get a new one. That costs about $15-$20.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13427317
if the data is not important, go in disc management, right click the drive, and look at the options; you schould be able to partition and format it, assign a letter etc..

start>run, now type     diskmgmt.msc    + enter

Another useful tool in winXP is diskpart :
Microsoft DiskPart versie 1.0
Copyright (C) 1999-2001 Microsoft Corporation.
Use the 'diskpart' utility within Windows to do assign drive letter...
1. Enter command prompt (Start => Run... => type 'cmd' and press 'Enter').
2. Winthin command prompt type 'diskpart' and press 'Enter'.
3. Type 'list disk' and press 'Enter'.
4. Type 'select disk <the number of the destined drive>'.
5. Type 'assign [[letter=l]/[mount=path]] [noerr]'.
-----------------------------------------------------
1. Enter the command prompt (Start => Run... => type 'cmd' and press 'Enter').
2. Within the command prompt type 'diskpart' and press 'Enter'.
3. After the 'diskpart' utility initializes; type 'list disk' and press 'Enter' to view the list of drives available on the computer.
4. Type 'select disk <destned drive's number>' and press 'Enter'.
5. Now type 'list partition' and press 'Enter'.
6. Type 'detail disk' and press 'Enter'.
  and if you want recovery companies , here a list :

http://www.runtime.org/                                    GetDataBack
http://www.stellarinfo.com/                                                                                       Stellar
http://www.bitmart.net/                                    Restorer 2000
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/restoration.html                        Restoration
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/activeundelete.html                        Active undelete
http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/UK/welcome.htm                  pc Inspector
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/smartrecovery.html                        flash recovery
http://www.ontrack.com/                                    ontrack
http://www.ontrack.com/easyrecoveryprofessional/                                  Easy Recovery
http://www.cgsecurity.org                                    Test Disk + utils
http://www.z-a-recovery.com/setup.exe                              zero assumption
http://www.gillware.com/                                    data recovery Company
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Expert Comment

by:Tronstek
ID: 13427583
Try this.

Control Panel > Administrator Tools > Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management

This should give you a list of all drives/storage devices that Windows XP can see.

Does XP see your USB drive?  Try to change the drive letter (if one is assigned or assign one if it isn't)  right click the drive > Change Drive Letter and Paths > Change > Assign the following drive letter > OK

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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13427618
Tronstek, that is the same as i suggested
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Expert Comment

by:Tronstek
ID: 13431445
You learn something new all the time.  I wasn't familiar with using diskpart for this.  I have always used the Administrator Tools GUI to get the job done.  Different means to the same end.  Thanks for teaching me something Nobus.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13436931
>>   You learn something new all the time   << Same goes for me !
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Author Comment

by:DanWomac
ID: 13439051
Okay fellas,

Thanks for all your suggestions. But before I could try any of them, I plugged the thing into my other puter and, low and behold it opened up. I was a little concerned because the first thing it did was an extensive file search for "autoplay". What gives here? Can I just remove this pesky file to stop that, oris this more complicated.

Thanks,
Dan
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 13439146
does your other puter have win xp also? and usb 2.0 both? it can also be a power problem, so connect it with a powered usb hub.
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Author Comment

by:DanWomac
ID: 13444067
Yeah, it is connected to a usb 2.0 powered, on an Xp.
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by:nobus
ID: 13447402
>>   Can I just remove this pesky file to stop that, oris this more complicated.  << what file are you talking about?
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Expert Comment

by:jltari
ID: 13447424
He thought there was an autorun.inf that'd cause the automatic search when a USB unit is plugged in.
The answer is no, there's no file.
On the contrary, when the message appears, if you read it carefully, you can answer the question so that it won't ask you later.
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Author Comment

by:DanWomac
ID: 13450005
to jltari:  Of all the suggestions and fixes, I want to be on the safe side. I was going to use this drive as a backup for an office network, so I belive the best course is to get a new enclosure. I just wanted to try to pull some files off of it beforehand. I have been able to access it for that purpose, but now I do not trust this cd/cdrw enclosure for such a critical purpose.


Thanks for the help.

Dan
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