Flash runtime error with USB external disk: virus or malware or hardware fault?

WHen I connect up my USB external disk to my Thinkpad, the Thinkpad (with uptodate PCCilin)
can't detect it  from Explorer though a message pops up at the right bottom corner that says
"Samsung HD300" detected

WHen I connect it up to my Dell Inspiron 6400, takes a while & then a message "Flash
runtime error) & the Dell rebooted.

How can fix this or determine if it's virus/malware or hardware fault?

Quite a lot of data in it
sunhuxAsked:
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nobusCommented:
can you open it from disk management ?
if so, copy the data and reformat it
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:

I right-click on My Computer, click Manage &
under Storage, click "Disk Management" & it
took about 1 minute showing "Connecting to
Logical Disk ... Manager"

I: drive appeared to the external USB disk, showing
as "Disk 1", "279.46Gb Online but Explorer still can't
see it, neither could I access it from MSDOS prompt.

How do I copy it from Disk Management?

I'll attach a screen dump shortly
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Attached the  Flash 'run-time error 53'  &  "Disk Management" screen dumps
USBDiskerrscrdmp.JPG
DiskMgtUSBscrdmp.jpg
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
At MSDOS prompt, the error I got is :

C:\> dir i:
The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error.
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nobusCommented:
here a fix :  http://www.pcaholic.com/blog-computer-chat/runtime-error-53/
since ity is usb resetting the usb drivers can help too :
Download devcon :  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/311272
then run :   devcon enable @usb\*
OR :
Remove all USB drivers with:     https://filedb.experts-exchange.com/incoming/ee-stuff/6853-RENEWUSB.zip      ---> Now reboot and test.
Delete the "UpperFilters" and "LowerFilters" registry values from:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{36FC9E60-C465-11CF-8056-444553540000}
you can also reset the usb :
rundll32.exe setupapi,InstallHinfSection DefaultInstall 132 C:\WINDOWS\inf\usbstor.inf
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
http://www.pcaholic.com/blog-computer-chat/runtime-error-53/
tells me to 'uninstall' but what do I uninstall?  So I've downloaded
from the above link a "Driver Detective" tool instead but when I run
it, it asks for Registration & sort of licence key. So did not progress
further with Driver Detective

I've downloaded devcon, unzip it (by running the .exe downloaded) &
run the command
"devcon enable @usb\* "  :

Should I reboot my Dell Inspiron 6400 first.  Anyway, before rebooting,
tried accessing & got a a different error this time

C:\devcon\i386>devcon enable @usb\*
USB\ROOT_HUB\4&10D90B96&0                                   : Enabled
USB\ROOT_HUB\4&2263344D&0                                   : Enabled
USB\ROOT_HUB\4&27A8915E&0                                   : Enabled
USB\ROOT_HUB\4&3932BA15&0                                   : Enabled
USB\ROOT_HUB20\4&1A83CD01&0                                 : Enabled
USB\VID_04B3&PID_3107\5&18BD802A&0&1                        : Enabled
USB\VID_12D1&PID_1003\5&1BB9C9F4&0&1                        : Enabled
USB\VID_12D1&PID_1003&MI_00\6&35F0F58&1&0000                : Enabled
USB\VID_12D1&PID_1003&MI_01\6&35F0F58&1&0001                : Enabled
USB\VID_12D1&PID_1003&MI_02\6&35F0F58&1&0002                : Enabled
10 device(s) enabled.

C:\devcon\i386>dir i:\
The volume does not contain a recognized file system.
Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the v
olume is not corrupted.


What do I do next?
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
After rebooting the Dell Inspiron 6400, with the USB disk connected, the Dell
stops & freezes with all its LEDs'  lights off.  Have to pull out this disk & the
Dell continues booting & presented the login screen.

Btw, I've also done the USB reset below :
rundll32.exe setupapi,InstallHinfSection DefaultInstall 132 C:\WINDOWS\inf\usbstor.inf
& connect up the USB disk & it still gave the "Run-time error 53" once the disk is plugged in"

I recalled I was able to use Acronis boot CD to boot up & take image backup this Dell
(& my brother's Dell notebook as well) to this external USB disk.

So I decided to try this time :
Acronis boots up while USB disk is connected & in the main screen, Acronis could
detect this disk but when I tried to backup a small partition on the Dell to this disk, it
freezes.  I then tried to backup this USB disk to my Dell's local disk & it displays a
message "there may be a problem with this disk & it could only be backup sector by
sector".  Then Acronis freezes too while attempting to read this USB disk.

The Acronis boot CD has the latest drivers & was working previously with this same
Dell & the this USB disk.  Since Acronis does not start up Windows at all (it's sort of
a Linux miniOS),  can we safely conclude there's a problem with this disk & not my
Dell?

To be prepared for the worst eventuality, anyway I could copy out the data from
this USB disk?  I've heard of professional recovery services (of bad/crashed disk)
 but if anyone here can tell me how to do this, appreciate it.
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nobusCommented:
if you can take the disk out of the usb case, and hook it directly to IDE or sata, you may be able to copy your data (can be the usb interface is bad)

But in such cases, i start by testing ram and disk (to be sure about the basics) - ram : www.memtest.org
you can test your disk   (non destructive) - pick the one you need from  :
http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287

or download ubcd - contains all tests you need :  http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

>>  Since Acronis does not start up Windows at all (it's sort of  a Linux miniOS),  can we safely conclude there's a problem with this disk & not my Dell?  <<   not squite sure, since it also freezes; to me it looks more like a hardware problem (that's why i suggested testing ram and disk -> C drive too)
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