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LaCie 500GB External Hard Drives - not working

Posted on 2011-03-03
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
OK.  Here's a weird one.  I have a customer running Windows 2008 SBS and they have 6 (six) 500GB External Hard Drives from LaCie.  3 of the drives work just fine in the server, but 3 do not, they cause explorer/disk manager/etc to lockup until the drive is removed from the system and the light on the drive blinks steadily/fast.  Those same 3 problematic drives work flawlessly in any other computer I've tried them on.  I can remove and create partitions, copy and delete files, etc.  Yet, when I put them back in the server, they lockup.  I know the drive letters of the 3 bad drives are still F: because it wants to format F: when I unplug the drive.  I changed the drive letter of the other three working drives to Z: and they all three show up as Z: even though I only changed one of them.  Yet, the three "non-working" drives still try and load in as F:  I even tried removing the NTFS partition from one drive in hopes that 2008 would allow it onto the system, but that also did not work.

Any ideas?

Update - the drive that I removed the NTFS partition on, showed up while I was typing this question.  I formatted it NTFS as Z: and it was showing up.  After turning it off and back on, it did the lockup again, but while typing this update came up and asked me to format the Z: drive.  I did that to no avail.  It also briefly prompted me that the device was operating at USB 1.1, but all of the ports are USB 2.0, I've tried them all front and back, and it's a Lenovo Server right at a year old.  Drives worked fine until around August of last year.
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Question by:tganus
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Expert Comment

by:WBGames
ID: 35031367
What kind of Lacie is it ?

is it the NAS one ?
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Author Comment

by:tganus
ID: 35031395
No, it's one of their slim "Design Neil Poulton" drives.  Just a standard external USB drive.

Update - I have also tried new USB cords, and new power supplies.
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by:noxcho
ID: 35034499
Do you connect them all at once?
I would try to connect these "faulty" drives via powered USB hub to this server and see how it goes. Sometimes lack of the power on USB port could cause these issues.
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Expert Comment

by:WBGames
ID: 35037222
Seems like it has issues assigning letters to the drive .

Plug them one by one and assign them letter starting from Z: and going down just to be sure they have never been used .

Do all of that from computer disk management.
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Author Comment

by:tganus
ID: 35056440
That's just it.  The 3 bad drives lock up.  I am unable to assign drive letters to them because they don't show in Disk Management.  
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Author Comment

by:tganus
ID: 35056448
"lock up" means that Explorer and associated programs "lock up" until I power off or unplug the bad drives.
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by:noxcho
ID: 35056480
Did you connect the drives via powered USB hub? If not then do it.
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Author Comment

by:tganus
ID: 35057875
Noxcho,

Thanks for the help.  I'll do this as soon as possible.  However, if that works, I would wonder why the drives are fine on other PCs without powered USB hubs.
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Accepted Solution

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noxcho earned 500 total points
ID: 35057936
Different PCs have different power supply units. So the power they can give to USB concentrators is limited by the power that PSU can give.
That's why some of the external USB drives have second connector for power unit. If you do not want to use it then one should get a powered USB hub that provides enough energy to USB drive support.
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Author Closing Comment

by:tganus
ID: 35108349
Well, I made it back up there and I hooked up a USB hub to the server.  Before I hooked up the "bad" drives to the hub however, I thought I'd see if they would work normally - and they did.  Never had to use the USB hub.  I'm not sure if hooking up the hub and loading the drivers for it got the server out of whatever funk it was in or what.  Just wanted to post back and let you know what happened.  So far, the 3 rogue drives are working fine.  Weird.
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 35108704
Thanks for feedback. Your issue was due to lack of power on USB controller of the drives.
Have a nice weekend
Nox
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