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Having trouble seeing External Hard Drive through USB

Posted on 2006-10-28
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hi experts,

I have Windows XP professional, latest computer. I have an external hard drive connected through a USB that work fine until 2 weeks ago. Now I cannot read files from it anymore.

It is like it is trying to access something. I have Norton Ghost on my computer and I think after several times of trying to put a backup on this drive from Norton Ghost I think this is what made it stop working.

The external hard drive is a CMS USB 2.0 I know the drive still works and I hear the audio whenever I plug it in and unplug it like it is trying to connect, however it does not cycle through with the autoplay and then open windows expolorer so I can look at the files. And now it does not even register as a drive under "MyComputer"

What could it or my computer be looking for? What can I change to read the drive to access my files on the drive?

Thanks
Steve
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Question by:stevenp17
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:phototropic
ID: 17825979
You could try downloading TweakUI:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

Look for your ext. drive and make sure the check box is ticked...
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Author Comment

by:stevenp17
ID: 17826017
Hi I downloaded the Tweak utility and all my drives are checked. It is still not seeing it ...it has the red question mark on it what use to be drive G
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:phototropic
ID: 17826068
Do you have a card reader installed?  There may be confusion about drive letters.  Try assigning a drive letter you know you will not need in Disk Management.

This post about partitioning is from the Maxtor site:

https://maxtor.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/maxtor.cfg/php/enduser/olh_adp.php?p_faqid=1335&p_sid=o-OVN5Zh&p_lva=

Good luck!
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Author Comment

by:stevenp17
ID: 17826368
Hi

Here is what I found when I did it

http://stevenporcaro.com/disk.jpg

I have to keep studying this I do not want to mess something up. I do not have a card reader and I still do not see the drive at all
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Expert Comment

by:glenn_1984
ID: 17826715
Did you try it on another PC?

Sounds like drive corruption or a drive letter conflict.
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Author Comment

by:stevenp17
ID: 17826730
Yes I did try it on another PC and that did not work either
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 17827275
how big is the external drive it may take a while for windows to read the drive contents before detecting it?
Could also happen if any usb devices were not removed right, windows may see some as mass storage devices and has a safey remove icon on the taskbar.
if not stopped windows may not release its grip causing loss of files and usb coruption.

boot to safemode with no usb plugged in. No external drive
look in device manager open VIEW unhide devices>any yellow question marks or unknown devices?
then uninstall the usb and any multiple devices. save reboot.
Then plug in teh external drive?
Is this in an enclosure?


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Author Comment

by:stevenp17
ID: 17827852
The drive is 75GB like I said it it had worked fine and then I think it stopped working because of Norton Ghost..but who knows

I will try the boot in safe mode, right now in device manager and my computer the drive is showing up but I still cannot see anything on it. I am trying to change it back to the origianl drive letter right now.

Next steps is I will try the safe mode boot
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Author Comment

by:stevenp17
ID: 17827867
Is this an enclosure? I am not sure what that means
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Author Comment

by:stevenp17
ID: 17827882
I would love to know how I can be in "manage" under "my computer" change the drive letter and it says healthy but I cannot do anything.

How in the heck can it be healthy and active if I cannot access it, these are sort of worthless tools are they not?
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 17827889
what format is the drive fat or ntfs?
so if you explore the drive it is empty?
Why would it stop working because of Norton ghost? ghost is used to place an image on a disc?
did you install an image on this hdd? backup your entire hdd? using this norton ghost? and CMS USB 2.0
 >CMS Data Transfer Kit For 2.5" Laptop Drive (USB 2.0)
http://www.cmsproducts.com/detail.aspx?ID=801

are you sure the  ghosted image transfered okay?

try booting from it?? change the bios boot order.


external enclosure is a case you insert certain type of hdd. Another way to slave to an external hdd.
Some of these have a power switch.



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Author Comment

by:stevenp17
ID: 17830284
The only reason I blame Norton Ghost is becasue this drive was working fine until maybe 2 weeks ago Norton Ghost asked me if I would like to store "recvoery points" on this drive (G) external through USB instead of the fixed PC hard Drive D.

I said yes but it neve seemed to be working properly. I kept getting alot of delayed write errors.

I cannot see the drive only lately it seems to be at least connecting, but i still cannot see it. I do nto think this will ever be fixed.

Like someone said windows is looking for something on this drive. What I mean by that is sometimes I fire up the drive and it will hold se of my programs and not allow my PC to move forward this is only sometimes

This is a CMS USB 2.0 drive and I never used it as a backup just as a place to store copies of files so I had a back but i would just copy there
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Expert Comment

by:glenn_1984
ID: 17831146
Can Norton Ghost Read the image file?
If so, you could copy the data off and reformat the drive.
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 17831627
What brand is this hdd? Seagate?

And does it require a special usb or firewire or can it be slaved normally?

Try this, as you have a desktop??
Unhook this slave from the USB, check the pin on the rear is in slave, unpower your desktop, take off the side case and pull out the ide ribbon and power from the master cdrom/dvd rom whatever  plug these into the hdd just let it hang or sit it ontop of the tower, put the power cable back into the tower( always unpower it) now boot.
Its a bit slower but once in windows after a short pause windows  should find new hardware, your hdd. Explore it. Defrag it scan it..
Go to control panel administrative tools computer management disc manager and check it out, format it if you like from here.
Look at the illistrations to get an idea if you were not aware of this before.
You can even backup your files from this technique.
Using windows backup tool at start all programs accessories system tools back-up.
You can even create multiple partitions.
http://www.theeldergeek.com/hard_drives_05.htm
http://www.theeldergeek.com/partitioning_during_cd_install.htm


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Author Comment

by:stevenp17
ID: 17846053
Ok I will try some of the suggestions here, I do not want to go to crazy. Rememebr this worked, when I started having Norton Ghost write my recvoery points on it that is where I probably interupted something.

Right now my computer is not seeing the drive anymore when I plug it in. Yesterday I ran that free demo from ZAR and I did see many files still available however I did not follow through yet, so I will run it again as I think I may recover the files but if I cannot access the drive the normal way to copy my files what the heck good is that.
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 17846795
slaving it thru the cdrom may help to show the files as is, Norton may not have been correctly imaging the recovery points? unless it  has created a new recovery point each time I woudl try slaving it as per suggestion cdrom.. and save off what I can.
then practice uisng the Norton Ghost  with a safe knowledge your files are moved off.
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Author Comment

by:stevenp17
ID: 17873374
Hi all,

Well I fixed the problem I followed alot of suggestions, however time is money and what finally fixed the issue is I was able to use that Zero Assumption Recovery program and purchased it. The external hard drive still does not work but I recovered probably over 98% of my data on the drive.

I thought someone on this thread suggested it and maybe it got removed, I am not sure how to assign my points.
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 17874869
Morning well that is good news, I just re-read everything and cant see anyone mentioning Zero Assumptiom Recovery program,
dont believe any suggestion relevent to this question would be removed unless you have posted this twice.
 I think you have resolved it yourself Steve. Well done. Or have saved off the files safely.
If you wish to split points for efforts that would be nice too.
Appreciate your feedback it is always good to have this so that others can benefit from this experience.
Unless soemone objects your wellcome to ask for a refund as you solved it yourself.
Cheers Merete

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