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Maxtor 500GB external hard drive not visible

Posted on 2013-06-10
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Last Modified: 2013-07-13
Desktop PC with Windows 8. My Maxtor 500GB external hard drive has been working perfectly for maybe 4 or 5 years since I bought it. Suddenly it's no longer visible in Computer. The power is on as indicated by the plug in the wall, the other end in the external hard drive and the green light on the hard drive case. The USB connection must be OK because I've tried other peripherals on the same one. Is there anything I can do or should I just buy a new one?
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Question by:Martin Campbell
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by:JeremySBrown
ID: 39235830
You said that you've tried other peripherals on the same one. You mean that you tried another USB port on your mobo and it saw the USB drive?

Have you tried connecting it to another computer altogether to see if it shows up another computer?

Go to disk management and see if your computer recognizes or sees the USB hard drive.
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by:ScottCha
ID: 39235892
Another thing to try is removing the HD from the housing and connecting it directly to your computer.

It's possible the HD housing has gone bad but your hard drive and data may be fine.
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 39235976
(a)  Buy yourself one of these very-handy-to-have gadgets:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812232002

(b)  While waiting for it to arrive, CAREFULLY remove the hard drive from the case.   When external units fail, it can be either the hard drive, or the interfacing hardware/power supply on the external case.    So what you want to try is connecting the drive via another method.   You can simply connect it to an internal port on your PC; or you can use the "gadget" in (a) to connect it via USB.

(c)  Either connect the drive to an internal port;  or to a USB port using the gadget you just bought.   It MAY be visible then ... in which case it will work fine.     If it works, you can either just use it with the gadget when you need it;  or you can buy a case to mount it in.   If it doesn't work, just buy a new one :-)
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by:nobus
ID: 39236887
check if it shows in disk management - and has a drive letter
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Author Closing Comment

by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39239500
I just haven't got time to mess about with it so decided to buy a new one. When I have time ill  try a few other suggestions.
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Author Comment

by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39248702
Sorry JeremySBrown!
Sometimes I'm an idiot! Although I've already ordered a new external USB hard drive I  decided to try the old one in another computer. Yes, it showed up and works fine.  So to summarise: all other USB peripherals are working fine on the desktop PC, either directly or via a USB hub. The old external USB drive works fine on another PC using the same connector. It was always drive letter L. Trying it in a few other USD sockets on the desktop PC makes no difference. No matter which one I plug it into I always get the normal sound made whenever a peripheral is plugged into a USB socket. So I always get the sound but the drive letter never shows up. Has anybody got any suggestions please?
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by:JeremySBrown
ID: 39248715
You want the drive letter to be L?

Go to disk management, right click on the drive, select change drive letter and paths, click on the change button, keep assign the following drive letter, and from the drop down to the right select L, click OK.
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by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39248810
Update: I've now tried a small USB flash drive. Same story. Works fine on other computer but not on my desktop PC
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by:JeremySBrown
ID: 39248885
How many USB slots you have in your computer? Try another slot, if another slot recognizes the drive, you have a bad USB slot.
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by:JeremySBrown
ID: 39248894
If you have a USB flash drive, connect it to the same USB slot that the USB hard drive drive isn't not being recognize. If the USB flash drive is not being recognized, it sounds like a bad USB slot.
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by:nobus
ID: 39249627
did you check if it shows in disk management?
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by:garycase
ID: 39249637
Sounds like the USB controller in that PC is blown.    Try an inexpensive add-in USB card.   May even want to buy a not-quite-so-inexpensive add-in card that supports USB v3 :-)
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Author Comment

by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39249852
I'm just saying it WAS drive L on my desktop PC. I really don't care what letter it is as long as I can see it. All USB sockets on the PC and hub seem to behave is exactly the same way i.e. my camera and printer work fine but the external hard drive and the flash drive don't work. The conclusion seems to be that all the USB sockets on the PC and hub like printers and cameras but don't like storage devices even though these 2 storage devices work fine on another PC.

When I try to access disk management I get "You do not have access rights to the Logical Disk Manager on Office-PC"
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by:garycase
ID: 39249877
This comment:  "... Desktop PC with Windows 8. "

Together with this one:  "... My Maxtor 500GB external hard drive has been working perfectly for maybe 4 or 5 years since I bought it "

...  clearly indicate that the drive wasn't always used on this PC (since Windows 8 hasn't been available nearly that long)

Was it EVER working on this Widows 8 system?    If not, the system likely has a security policy that doesn't allow mass storage devices to be connected via USB ... nor do you have admin privileges to make changes in Disk Manager.

First, go to Regedit and navigate to the following:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR

Look at the current value of "Start".   It SHOULD be a 3 to allow mass storage devices.   If it's not, change it to a 3; then reboot the system.   Now try your external drive :-)

That may also resolve the Disk Management issue ... I don't know if it's automatically disabled by disabling USB mass storage or not.    If you still can't get to Disk Management to change the drive letter, post back and I'll suggest a couple other things to try.
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Author Comment

by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39249885
I logged in to my desktop PC as administrator and am now in disk management. No matter which USB socket I plug the external hard drive or flash drive into the only disk I can see in disk management is the C drive. If I do the same on another PC both of these appear in disk management.

It doesn't make sense.
Every USB peripheral works on the desktop PC except the external hard drive and the flash drive.
The external hard drive and the flash drive both work on another PC.
I'm betting my new external hard drive, when it arrives, won't work on the desktop PC.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39249889
did you check if it shows in disk management?
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Author Comment

by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39249909
Thanks garycase.
I bought the desktop PC in June 2007 with Vista. Upgraded it to Windows 7 when it became available. I upgraded it to Windows 8 on October 27th 2012. The Maxtor external hard drive is 4 or 5 years old and has always been on this PC except occasionally used to transfer file to my laptop when I went on holidays each year. I've been using Acronis True Image to do daily backups of my Documents folder to the Maxtor for a few years. Windows 8 forced me to upgrade True Image to its latest version which had problems which were fixed. It has been doing daily backups up to the 18th May 2013. So unfortunately that can't be the explanation. I wish it was. Regarding the flash drive, I only occasionally use it, say once a month. I think it's quite possible that stopped working at the same time as the Maxtor i.e. after 18th May 2013.

Just to be sure, I won't try your other suggestion until my new external hard drive arrives.
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by:garycase
ID: 39249911
What is the current value of Start at
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR ??

Just run RegEdit, then navigate to HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR

and look on the right side to see what value Start currently has.    If it happens to be a 4, your USB mass storage connections are DISABLED.   All you have to do if that's the case is as I outlined above => just change it to a 3, then reboot.   [Right-click on Start, select Modify, and give it the new value (3) ]

By the way, if Start if 4, NO other external drive will work on that PC until you change it :-)
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by:garycase
ID: 39249917
"... Just to be sure, I won't try your other suggestion until my new external hard drive arrives. " ==> ???XXX   Why Not?   If you're referring to the value of Start, at least take a look at it !!

If it's 4, you'll know for sure that's the problem (and there's certainly no reason not to change it to a 3 and fix it => you can always change it back if you want to :-)
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by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39250496
New external hard drive arrived (WD My Passport 2TB). Of course it doesn't work on the desktop PC and does work on another PC.

I took your advice, ran RegEdit........... I got 0x00000003 (3)

Now what?
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by:garycase
ID: 39250634
Since Start is already 3, it's not disabled.    Try toggling it ==> i.e. set it to 4;  reboot the PC;  then set it back to 3 and reboot again.    Sometimes these parameters get internally corrupted ... and a "kick" can resolve it.

If that doesn't work, you have a more significant problem than a simple registry configuration issue.
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by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39251484
Tried to change it to 4 but got "Cannot edit Start: Error writing the value's new contents.
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by:garycase
ID: 39251540
Try running Regedit in administrative mode [right-click on it and choose "Run as Administrator"] and see if you can change the value then.
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by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39257783
garycase, that allowed me to change the value to 4. I then restarted and check if the new external hard drive was visible. It wasn't. I changed it back to 3 and restarted again. Still no luck.
Has everybody run out of ideas?
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Author Comment

by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39257824
I had another look in Disk Management. I attach a screenshot. I don't think I saw that list when I looked a few days ago. In fact I see the new "WD My Passport" drive now. Surely that's a step in the right direction. But everything in the list has a yellow triangle with the black exclamation mark. I right clicked on this and got Properties as the only option. I also attach a screenshot of this. Does garycase or anybody else have any idea what to do about what it says?
Disk-Management-screenshot-1.JPG
WD-My-Passport-Properties-1.JPG
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by:garycase
ID: 39257853
Open a command prompt in administrative mode; then run the following command:

sfc /scannow

This will take a while ... note the summary and see if it says it found and repaired any issues.

Repeat the same command until it doesn't find anything to repair.
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Author Comment

by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39269016
I've done  the above 6 ties now and got attachment 1 each time. Running the 7th time now.

I got attachment 3 twice. Both times it seems to have been because I switched off, went out, and an hour or so later switched on again. I always thought this was the same as rebooting but it seems not. Anyway, so far no new drive visible in Computer.
Capture-1.JPG
Capture-3.JPG
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by:garycase
ID: 39269316
Did you look at the CBS.log file it created to see if there are any clues there as to what's not being repaired okay?
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by:garycase
ID: 39269317
Just to confirm this isn't some strange issue with the USB ports themselves, I'd download a bootable Knoppix disc; burn it; and boot to it ... then plug in your external drive and see if it detects/sees it.
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Author Comment

by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39278354
I've now got done this 12 times getting the same result. Something must be happening because each time I restart it says: "...configuring.....xx% done. Don't switch off computer."
The CBS file won't open it or upload it to here.
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Author Comment

by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39278423
download a bootable Knoppix disc; burn it; and boot to it ... then plug in your external drive and see if it detects/sees it.

This sounds like I need to know more details. I've just watched a few YouTube videos about it and I'm out of my depth. Can you give me a link to get the right version please?
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by:garycase
ID: 39278924
This should work -- you download the ISO, then burn it to a CD ... then just boot to the CD.

http://download.cnet.com/Knoppix/3000-18513_4-75186118.html
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Author Comment

by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39280728
Thanks! I'll have to leave this till the weekend.
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by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39289235
I've downloaded Knoppix and burned it to a CD. Chaos weekend so I still haven't tried booting from it.
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Author Comment

by:Martin Campbell
ID: 39322876
garycase, Sorry for the delay. I finally got time to try Knoppix. you were right of course. When I clicked on the the one and only icon on the Knoppix desktop It showed a few items like Desktop, the 300GB internal hard etc. I plugged in my new extrnal hard drive and it appeared in this window. Then I tried the old external hard drive. Yes, it showed up too and I could see its contents including my last backup before the problem. This was dated 18/05/13 which was correct.
So, now what? I presume that helps to point you in a certain direction.
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by:garycase
ID: 39322962
Well ... what that proves is that it is NOT a hardware issue ... but some strange configuration issue in Windows 8.   I'd ask a new question in the Windows 8 section ... I'll add a comment or two; but others may have more direct experience with this issue and Windows 8 -- a new question will get their attention.

One thing that COULD be an issue is a corrupted USB stack.   I'm not sure how to reset this in Windows 8 ... but one thing you should do is go to Device Manager; expand the "Disk Drives" and for EVERY device that's listed with an "HS- ..."  and shows a yellow mark right-click and Uninstall it.    Then reboot and see if this clears the problem.
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