Questions

External Hard Drives that Don't Show

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External Hard Drives that Don't Show

Inky960
I have a bunch of external hard drives. Seven of them. That's no problem, per se, but when my laptops (only 3 of those) won't recognize a couple of them, I have a problem I can't figure out.

Why the same two drives? A WD "MyBook" and a homemade 2.5" drive I made from an "enclosure" -- both of which worked perfectly until a few days ago. And the 2.5" will show up on my desktop PC, and on my neighbor's PCs... but not on either of my laptops.

Furthermore, when either of these "bad" drives is plugged in, my laptops won't shut down properly (they just hang there), nor will they boot up if I plug the hard drives in before powering on. They start to boot, but just hang.

This is maddening! What's suddenly going on? Any help will be most appreciated. And: not only what is going on, but What can I do?

I'm using Vista on one laptop and XP Pro on the other two, by the way.

Help!

Inky960
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    Jacky Howe

    Reconnect the Drive to your desktop PC and Click on Start, Run and type in cmd and press Enter.

    At the command prompt type in chkdsk volume:/r and press Enter.

    If it finds any problems it should correct them. When it has finished try it in the Notebook.

    If there is no sucess from that try this on the Notebook.

    Go into "Control Panel"
    Open "System"
    Click the "Hardware" tab
    Click "Device Manager"
    Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers section.
    Right-click every device under the Universal Serial Bus controllers and then click Uninstall to remove them one at a time.
    Restart the PC, and allow the computer to reinstall the USB
    controllers.
    Plug in the removable USB storage device, and then test to make sure
    that the issue is resolved

    Using a powered USB hub generally eliminates the problem.

    Some good advice for the not so faint hearted can be found here.

    http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=101&threadID=234993&messageID=2519330


    You can use the Hard Drive Makers Testing Utility to Test the Drive

    Hitachi / IBM - DFT "Drive Fitness Test"
    http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm
    Works with all manufacturers

    Western Digital "Data Lifeguard"
    http://support.wdc.com/download/index.asp#dlgtools
    Works with WD drives only


    Fujitsu "FJDT"
    http://www.fel.fujitsu.com/home/drivers.asp?L=en&CID=1
    Works with fujitsu models only

    Samsung "hutil"
    http://www.samsung.com/Products/Hard...ties/hutil.htm
    Compatability unknown...

    Seagate "Seatools"
    http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools
    Works with Seagate drives only

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    Inky960

    Wowzer - that's some helpful-sounding information! Thanks a big lot. Now let me give it all a shot, and I'll report back.

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    OH Smeg

    Because of the Improved Security incorporated into Vista it can not read External Drives formatted on anything but the newest Windows OS.

    If these drives are working on other computers and just causing problems on a couple of NB's then you have to consider the available Power from the USB Ports as a potential source of problems. If you have a Y USB Cable plug it into 2 USB Sockets and the External Drive and that may provide enough power for the external drive but if it doesn't you need to provide more power and preferably through a Powered USB Hub of if the enclosure has a socket for external Power you can plug in an external Power Source.

    If you have a Format Issue with Vista you need to copy the data off the drive under XP format it on a Vista computer and then copy the data back to the drive so it can now be used on a Vista and older Computer.

    Col

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    Inky960

    but the drive in question has worked since November of 2007 on this Vista laptop, with no problems, ever. And the little homemade enclosure drive DOES have a "Y" USB cable (the WD drive has an power adapter), and that doesn't seem to make any difference, with one lead in or two. It (the homemade)has always worked, too. Just last week, everything went berzerk and these two drives, of the several I have here, started not working.

    I want to die. <just kidding>

    Inky (Thanks, Smeg)

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    Inky960

    The External Drive *was* formatted on the Vista machine. In fact, except for about 5% of the time, this drive has been used with nothing but Vista.

    I'm at a loss, to put it mildly.

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    OH Smeg

    If you have any 3.5 Inch External Drives these all need a Power Adapter as they work on 12 V DC and USB Ports only supply 5 V DC so they can not work on a USB Ports Power alone.

    2.5 Inch Drives work on 5 V DC and somewhere around 500 Milli amps quite a few NB;s simply can not supply the required power to drive these well the current at least.

    If you have a drive that worked on a NB previously and fails to now it is possible that if left on all the time heat has affected the Circuit Board inside the Enclosure that is the USB to Drive Interface and the Zener Didoes have started limiting the amount of current that they pass. A new Enclosure will fix that problem and if you need it on a lot get one with Active Cooling so it needs to be metal with a fan in it and that will need an external Power Sources well.

    You can also check whatever you are plugging your Power Sources into as that could have gone faulty and be reducing the amount of current available as well. Or even the Power Supply itself could be failing and failing to produce the necessary current while still producing the correct voltage. They do fail after all and fairly regularly as well.

    Col

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    Inky960

    Jeez, you got technical on me, Smeg, but I think I followed you basically. All the 3.5" drives I'm using (the WD drives, except the one inside the laptop) are all 3.5" and all run off power adapters. All the 3.5" drives use adapters, so yes, you're correct-o. The 2.5" is an 80 Gig Hitachi, an IDE drive that runs okay now off just the USB port.

    I'm about to conclude that the WD "MyBook" 320GB drive has gone bad. I checked (per your advice) all the plugs and power strips and made sure all were supplying power okay to other items, other appliances, so to speak. So what else could it be, but a bad drive? I'd still like to TRY to run scandisk on the thing, but how? And as I've lost my Wal Mart receipt, proof of purchase thingy, I don't know how I'm going to convince WD to do a damn thing to help me.

    Screwed,

    Inky

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    OH Smeg

    Available from here

    http://tinyurl.com/6g45c9

    You can try it on this drive when it is connected to the computer that it was working on.

    If the Partition Information has been damaged through Low Power you may be able to recover your Data with one of these applications but some of them are expensive. Just remember to save your Data to a different Drive if you need to recover any. If you save it back to the drive that lost it's Partition Information you will overwrite other data making it very hard to recover. Or you can use something like the On Track option which can rebuild the Partition Tables very quickly.

    http://tinyurl.com/273ay5

    http://tinyurl.com/rmvrv

    http://tinyurl.com/yvrsl

    http://tinyurl.com/yyk8cm

    http://tinyurl.com/382vm

    http://tinyurl.com/ynwnel

    http://tinyurl.com/nc4kx

    http://tinyurl.com/2wox7l

    http://tinyurl.com/374d8b

    http://tinyurl.com/djw6u

    http://tinyurl.com/f73se

    http://tinyurl.com/8bd3f

    http://tinyurl.com/afu2j

    While the last 2 are from the same company they are very different products. Win Hex should only be considered foe use by someone who knows Hex Inside Out while Davory is a great cheap General Purpose Application.

    Personally I prefer the On Track Option but it's anything but cheap. However because I use this type of software a lot it's paid for itself many times over by now, for a cheaper option Spin Rite from Gibson Research or Stella have both very good reputations by other TR members.

    Col

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    Inky960

    Jeez. Now when I connect the drive to the desktop PC, I get the same results as with the laptops: the desktop won't boot up and it won't shut down, when I boot it and then plug the drive in. So running chkdsk gets me an "invalid drive specification" -- oh, joy of my life! Heh.

    I tried uninstalling all the USB stuff in Device Manager, but Vista put it back as soon as I uninstalled it! I'd never seen anything like it. A new thing with Vista, I suppose. I haven't tried the device manager route with the XP laptop -- maybe I'll do that next, after I get good and drunk. <joke>.

    It's pretty obvious that the file system/structure/something is screwed up on this external drive -- no? But, how to straighten it out is a whole different ballgame. I'm stumped. Any other ideas? Anything?

    Desperate,

    Inky

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    Jacky Howe

    Is the Drive getting allocated a Drive letter.
    Invalid drive specification

    Explanation:

    The drive specification must be in the form of the drive letter followed by a colon (:). For example, B: and are valid drive specifications


    Try rebooting the computer without any USB devices attached. Then plug in the USB drive, right click on My Computer, select manage, and then click ?Disk Management.? If the drive is not present in the Disk Management window or if you are not able to access it, then the drive may have failed. In this window you should see all of your connected physical drives, their format, if they are healthy, and the drive letter.
    Change the drive letter of the drive. Right-click on the drive in the list, and from the resulting menu select "Change Drive Letters and Paths"
    Click on Change so you can change the drive letter. Click Change.
    Select a new drive letter from the drop down list, preferably the one that is not normally used for this drive. EG: U:
    Click Yes on the confirmation screen

    To disable power management on the USB hub:
    1. Right-click My Computer, click Properties, click the Hardware tab, and then click Device Manager.
    2. Double-click Universal Serial Bus controllers to expand it, right-click USB Root Hub, and then click Properties.
    3. Click the Power Management tab.
    4. Click to clear the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power check box, and then click OK.

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    Inky960

    I detached the USB drives, rebooted, plugged in the drive in question, got the "ding-bing" wav that lets me know something was plugged in... But when I went to: > Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management... and looked in the list of drives, the USB drive wasn't there. No sign. So if your theory is right, the drive has gone bad, right?

    Oh, crap. Tell me it ain't so. This is a 320 GB drive, not even a year old, and has about 200 GB of irreplacable stuff on it. Now I learn the lesson of Why you shouldn't trust Big Drives. The bigger the drive, the bigger the catastrophe when they fail.

    Duh.

    But I'm not giving up yet. It seems that if I get the ding-ding wav, as I always have, there must be SOME hope. I know there isn't a shred of logic in what I just said, but I'm hoping all the same. Hehe. When it's 200 GB of stuff, you turn to religion or whatever it takes.

    Ahem.

    Thanks, guys.

    Inky

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    jerang@

    Indeed it could be the USB drivers have been corrupted. The
    other way to have them restored is by deleting the
    usbstor.inf file then restarting the machine.
    Here's the blog post for instructions:
    http://tinyurl.com/66hnlf

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    Inky960

    I'll give this a shot.

    Inky.

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    Inky960

    ...it seems. I followed the URL and the procedure there had me delete a file called "infcache.1" in the C:\windows\inf director. That wasn't easy, but once (well, twice) I did that and still no dice with the Western Digital MyBook 320.

    Maybe it's time to pronounce it dead, though I hate to do that, when it still obviously spins away and makes the sound that Vista supplies for "found new hardware" - the little ding-ding wav file, so promising-sounding.

    But it just won't show up. The homemade drive, which was also being stubborn and not showing, is now showing! So I don't know what to do. It seems that if I could simply run a scandisk on this damned thing, all would straighten itself out and work like God intended it to work. Hey-ho. That's a lot of data down the drain.

    Thanks anyway, to all of you.

    Inky.

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    nepenthe0

    1) If there was a time when your computer was working OK and all USB devices were detected, then try booting into Safe Mode by tapping the F8 key during the early boot phase (POST = Power On Self Test). One of the options will be:

    Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)

    Select this with your keyboard arrow keys, then hit Enter.

    2) If this doesn't fix the glitch, perhaps there is a restore point further back in time that you can access via System Restore. If so, try it.

    3) You may need to repair the OS installation from the Vista DVD. As a precaution, back up your data first (to a USB flash drive, external hard drive, or CD).

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    Inky960

    I use Acronis True Image, and I actually took the whole shebang back a whole MONTH... and the problem isn't but two weeks old at the most. Still, though, no dice.

    It's the dangedest thing. I'm thinking you're right, that I might have to restore from scratch, but given what I did with Acronis, I don't see how that would necessarily help, either. I really don't think the drive is at fault, but I can't figure out what it could be.

    HP doesn't give you a Vista CD (no Mgf. does nowadays that I know of), and I don't own one.

    What a mess.

    Thanks for all the help.

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    Inky960

    Try it from this angle: Why won't the laptops shut down OR boot up, when this WD drive is plugged in?

    This in light of the fact that my desktop PC will boot up and shut down all day long with the same drive plugged in to it.

    Of course, when the desktop boots, there's no drive showing (now) in My Computer, or in the Disk Management part of Administrative Tools. But the desktop PC boots up and shuts down! Ieeeeeeeeeeeeek!

    XP Pro on the Desktop and on one of the laptops. Vista on the other laptop. Neither laptop will shut down or boot up with the drive attached.

    So, Sherlock? : )

    (If you're all just sick of this, I really do understand.)

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    nepenthe0

    You cannot have the external hard drive simultaneously connected to 2 computers. Each operating system will try for 100% control, and they will fight with each other. Perhaps this is what's happening?

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    Inky960

    I've been using only one OS at a tiem, one computer at a time. I know with all the mayhem of mangled descriptions, it could have sounded that way, but no. One drive to one PC.

    Thanks anyway!

    Inky

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    Jacky Howe

    but it looks like your Drive has gone to Hard Drive Heaven. If the PC locks up when trying to detect the Drive it has had it.

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    Inky960

    ...when it's true.

    And it probably is true, bad as I hate to admit it. I can't figure why, though, my desktop boots and shuts down just fine with the "bad" drive attached. XP Pro there, same as one of the "stubborn" laptops.

    Jeez.

    But I'm throwing in the towel. I might do a fresh FRL of the Vista laptop and see what happens, but not right now.

    Thanks for all your help, guys. :)

    Inky

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    OH Smeg

    The drive is ripping too much power out of their systems to allow them to work correctly.

    There is a Low Voltage Condition on either the 5 or 3 CV DC Rails and possibly both. The 5 VDC Rail should feed the RAM and the 3 VDC feeds the CPU so if power on one of these lines goes low the system stops working correctly. Hence the inability to shut down or start up.

    There may also be a Electronic Failure in the Interface between the HDD and the USB Lead which is stopping the drive from working. What happens when you plug this in is that Vista sees some of the electronics in the Interface and then gives a audible & visual warning then waits for the electronics of the drive to identify itself. Windows then loads the correct Driver to allow you to access the Drive.

    If there is no communication from the Electronics on the HDD itself the procedure falls over in a heap and there is nothing identified in either the Device Manager or the Drive Manager. If the HDD itself has a problem it will come up as either a Blank Drive or a RAW Partition.

    So all that may be involved here is to pull the enclosure apart and fit the HDD inside the WD Enclosure to a Standard USB Enclosure or a Desktop Computer and it may be quite readable. It may just be the Interface Board with a blown component on it.

    Col

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    Inky960

    Oh yeah, I'd love to rip that sucker apart and see whether I could save the data that's on it. I'm losing a lot of stuff I won't get back, and if it wouldn't void the warranty (I found the purchase info - hurrah!) I'd do just that. I'd dig into it with pliers and butter knives and ice picks--get my stuff back!

    But it's $129 worth of drive, and to get a new one from WD is good enough consolation for having lost some stuff, I guess.

    About your suggestion earlier to use the WD Lifeguard diagnostics, I have all that stuff, but right now the disk won't boot on ANY PC, none, zip, nada.

    Your information is amazing, Smeg.

    Happy trails...

    Inky

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    nepenthe0

    Seagate Seatools:

    http://tinyurl.com/yvq99t

    Download the iso file and create a bootable CD using the free utility CDBurnerXP:

    http://cdburnerxp.se/

    Also, check out the nifty Coolmax USB adapter:

    http://tinyurl.com/4an8u9

    This was favorably reviewed here at TR:

    http://tinyurl.com/6qdmhg

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    Inky960

    As I told Smeg above, the dirve won't even show, NOW, in any of my PCs. So diagnostics aren't gonna help much.

    When I said earlier that my desktop will boot and shut down with the drive attached, I didn't mean to imply that the drive showed as a drive in My Computer, or anywhere else. It isn't recognized at all.

    I think the thing is just officially dead.


    Inky

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    nepenthe0

    http://tinyurl.com/4bxdz6

    It's available through TigerDirect.com:

    http://tinyurl.com/4an8u9

    Just plug the sick hard drive into the Coolmax adapter, connect the USB cable to a functional computer, and run diagnostics on the unhealthy drive.

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    Inky960

    I didn't know there was such a thing. I have until July 31st to get the
    "dead" drive to Irvine, CA, where Western Digital lives, so I might have time to experiment with this. I'll let you know if I do. I'll jump over there right now (I'm working from a live Linux CD, so I might reboot into Windows [credit card info stored there] and THEN go to Tiger Direct.)

    Thanks again.


    Inky

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    Inky960

    Well, it appears that I can't test the WD "MyBook" with the CoolMax tool, because I can't get to the IDE drive inside the plastic enclosure. The drive it 100% unservicable. Just no way, other than busting it to pieces with a hammer (and that thought has its appeal) that one could get the drive out of its black platic housing. Crap.

    Inky

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    Inky960

    no cigar. It's a newer model than this, I think. The model I have has NO visible "holes" that might be screw heads, painted black. I used my fingernails to pry the case away from the center unit, and it WILL pull away a bit. This leads me to think it *might* snap apart, then back together. But I'm afraid of breaking it, which would invalidate the warranty for sure. I'd really like to get at that data though!

    Out of options again.

    Inky

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    Inky960

    Yep, more like it, but still not exactly. Mine doesn't have the firewire ports, and the WD logo is smaller and down in one corner, not centered and large. Opening it might be the same, however.

    Remember though - I'm more interested in NOT voiding my warranty. Having the cake and eating it too would be ideal, but I don't know how to do that. And the UPS guy is supposed to be here this evening to grab the drive and take it west, young man.

    But damn, I'd like to have all that data back.

    Inky

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    Jacky Howe

    you can't always have your cake and be able to eat it.

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    nepenthe0

    Where do you find this stuff? I copied the link and pasted every page into MS Word for later formatting and .pdf conversion.

    Another thanks to True Blue for absolutely brilliant advice!

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    nepenthe0

    Inky - I reformatted the material in True Blue's post:

    http://tinyurl.com/ytzsc9

    It's a 1MB .pdf file which you might like to have. If so, send me a peer mail with your e-mail address and I'll attached the .pdf compilation with my reply.

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    Inky960

    This is going off-topic, but just to say, I'd like to have one of these CoolMax things. I bought another brand just a month ago and it literally fell apart in my hands and I've been soured to the idea ever since. But if this was favorably reviewed here at TR, maybe I should buy one.

    Also, I compliment your resourcefulness. How DO you find all this stuff? You and True Blue must have a secret you aren't sharing with the rest of us. ; )

    BTW: the adapter I bought cost MORE than the CoolMax. From NewEgg, no less.

    Inky

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    nepenthe0

    Whether you're aware of it or not, your experience troubleshooting this hard drive is just the kind of stuff that will make you an expert on the subject.

    One day, you will see another Inky960 posting a query on the same subject, or very similar, and you will provide the solution, because you will know the answer.

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    Jacky Howe

    Reconnect the Drive to your desktop PC and Click on Start, Run and type in cmd and press Enter.

    At the command prompt type in chkdsk volume:/r and press Enter.

    If it finds any problems it should correct them. When it has finished try it in the Notebook.

    If there is no sucess from that try this on the Notebook.

    Go into "Control Panel"
    Open "System"
    Click the "Hardware" tab
    Click "Device Manager"
    Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers section.
    Right-click every device under the Universal Serial Bus controllers and then click Uninstall to remove them one at a time.
    Restart the PC, and allow the computer to reinstall the USB
    controllers.
    Plug in the removable USB storage device, and then test to make sure
    that the issue is resolved

    Using a powered USB hub generally eliminates the problem.

    Some good advice for the not so faint hearted can be found here.

    http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=101&threadID=234993&messageID=2519330


    You can use the Hard Drive Makers Testing Utility to Test the Drive

    Hitachi / IBM - DFT "Drive Fitness Test"
    http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm
    Works with all manufacturers

    Western Digital "Data Lifeguard"
    http://support.wdc.com/download/index.asp#dlgtools
    Works with WD drives only


    Fujitsu "FJDT"
    http://www.fel.fujitsu.com/home/drivers.asp?L=en&CID=1
    Works with fujitsu models only

    Samsung "hutil"
    http://www.samsung.com/Products/Hard...ties/hutil.htm
    Compatability unknown...

    Seagate "Seatools"
    http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools
    Works with Seagate drives only

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    Inky960

    Wowzer - that's some helpful-sounding information! Thanks a big lot. Now let me give it all a shot, and I'll report back.

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    OH Smeg

    Because of the Improved Security incorporated into Vista it can not read External Drives formatted on anything but the newest Windows OS.

    If these drives are working on other computers and just causing problems on a couple of NB's then you have to consider the available Power from the USB Ports as a potential source of problems. If you have a Y USB Cable plug it into 2 USB Sockets and the External Drive and that may provide enough power for the external drive but if it doesn't you need to provide more power and preferably through a Powered USB Hub of if the enclosure has a socket for external Power you can plug in an external Power Source.

    If you have a Format Issue with Vista you need to copy the data off the drive under XP format it on a Vista computer and then copy the data back to the drive so it can now be used on a Vista and older Computer.

    Col

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    Inky960

    but the drive in question has worked since November of 2007 on this Vista laptop, with no problems, ever. And the little homemade enclosure drive DOES have a "Y" USB cable (the WD drive has an power adapter), and that doesn't seem to make any difference, with one lead in or two. It (the homemade)has always worked, too. Just last week, everything went berzerk and these two drives, of the several I have here, started not working.

    I want to die. <just kidding>

    Inky (Thanks, Smeg)

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    Inky960

    The External Drive *was* formatted on the Vista machine. In fact, except for about 5% of the time, this drive has been used with nothing but Vista.

    I'm at a loss, to put it mildly.

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    OH Smeg

    If you have any 3.5 Inch External Drives these all need a Power Adapter as they work on 12 V DC and USB Ports only supply 5 V DC so they can not work on a USB Ports Power alone.

    2.5 Inch Drives work on 5 V DC and somewhere around 500 Milli amps quite a few NB;s simply can not supply the required power to drive these well the current at least.

    If you have a drive that worked on a NB previously and fails to now it is possible that if left on all the time heat has affected the Circuit Board inside the Enclosure that is the USB to Drive Interface and the Zener Didoes have started limiting the amount of current that they pass. A new Enclosure will fix that problem and if you need it on a lot get one with Active Cooling so it needs to be metal with a fan in it and that will need an external Power Sources well.

    You can also check whatever you are plugging your Power Sources into as that could have gone faulty and be reducing the amount of current available as well. Or even the Power Supply itself could be failing and failing to produce the necessary current while still producing the correct voltage. They do fail after all and fairly regularly as well.

    Col

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    Inky960

    Jeez, you got technical on me, Smeg, but I think I followed you basically. All the 3.5" drives I'm using (the WD drives, except the one inside the laptop) are all 3.5" and all run off power adapters. All the 3.5" drives use adapters, so yes, you're correct-o. The 2.5" is an 80 Gig Hitachi, an IDE drive that runs okay now off just the USB port.

    I'm about to conclude that the WD "MyBook" 320GB drive has gone bad. I checked (per your advice) all the plugs and power strips and made sure all were supplying power okay to other items, other appliances, so to speak. So what else could it be, but a bad drive? I'd still like to TRY to run scandisk on the thing, but how? And as I've lost my Wal Mart receipt, proof of purchase thingy, I don't know how I'm going to convince WD to do a damn thing to help me.

    Screwed,

    Inky

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    OH Smeg

    Available from here

    http://tinyurl.com/6g45c9

    You can try it on this drive when it is connected to the computer that it was working on.

    If the Partition Information has been damaged through Low Power you may be able to recover your Data with one of these applications but some of them are expensive. Just remember to save your Data to a different Drive if you need to recover any. If you save it back to the drive that lost it's Partition Information you will overwrite other data making it very hard to recover. Or you can use something like the On Track option which can rebuild the Partition Tables very quickly.

    http://tinyurl.com/273ay5

    http://tinyurl.com/rmvrv

    http://tinyurl.com/yvrsl

    http://tinyurl.com/yyk8cm

    http://tinyurl.com/382vm

    http://tinyurl.com/ynwnel

    http://tinyurl.com/nc4kx

    http://tinyurl.com/2wox7l

    http://tinyurl.com/374d8b

    http://tinyurl.com/djw6u

    http://tinyurl.com/f73se

    http://tinyurl.com/8bd3f

    http://tinyurl.com/afu2j

    While the last 2 are from the same company they are very different products. Win Hex should only be considered foe use by someone who knows Hex Inside Out while Davory is a great cheap General Purpose Application.

    Personally I prefer the On Track Option but it's anything but cheap. However because I use this type of software a lot it's paid for itself many times over by now, for a cheaper option Spin Rite from Gibson Research or Stella have both very good reputations by other TR members.

    Col

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    Inky960

    Jeez. Now when I connect the drive to the desktop PC, I get the same results as with the laptops: the desktop won't boot up and it won't shut down, when I boot it and then plug the drive in. So running chkdsk gets me an "invalid drive specification" -- oh, joy of my life! Heh.

    I tried uninstalling all the USB stuff in Device Manager, but Vista put it back as soon as I uninstalled it! I'd never seen anything like it. A new thing with Vista, I suppose. I haven't tried the device manager route with the XP laptop -- maybe I'll do that next, after I get good and drunk. <joke>.

    It's pretty obvious that the file system/structure/something is screwed up on this external drive -- no? But, how to straighten it out is a whole different ballgame. I'm stumped. Any other ideas? Anything?

    Desperate,

    Inky

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    Jacky Howe

    Is the Drive getting allocated a Drive letter.
    Invalid drive specification

    Explanation:

    The drive specification must be in the form of the drive letter followed by a colon (:). For example, B: and are valid drive specifications


    Try rebooting the computer without any USB devices attached. Then plug in the USB drive, right click on My Computer, select manage, and then click ?Disk Management.? If the drive is not present in the Disk Management window or if you are not able to access it, then the drive may have failed. In this window you should see all of your connected physical drives, their format, if they are healthy, and the drive letter.
    Change the drive letter of the drive. Right-click on the drive in the list, and from the resulting menu select "Change Drive Letters and Paths"
    Click on Change so you can change the drive letter. Click Change.
    Select a new drive letter from the drop down list, preferably the one that is not normally used for this drive. EG: U:
    Click Yes on the confirmation screen

    To disable power management on the USB hub:
    1. Right-click My Computer, click Properties, click the Hardware tab, and then click Device Manager.
    2. Double-click Universal Serial Bus controllers to expand it, right-click USB Root Hub, and then click Properties.
    3. Click the Power Management tab.
    4. Click to clear the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power check box, and then click OK.

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    Inky960

    I detached the USB drives, rebooted, plugged in the drive in question, got the "ding-bing" wav that lets me know something was plugged in... But when I went to: > Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management... and looked in the list of drives, the USB drive wasn't there. No sign. So if your theory is right, the drive has gone bad, right?

    Oh, crap. Tell me it ain't so. This is a 320 GB drive, not even a year old, and has about 200 GB of irreplacable stuff on it. Now I learn the lesson of Why you shouldn't trust Big Drives. The bigger the drive, the bigger the catastrophe when they fail.

    Duh.

    But I'm not giving up yet. It seems that if I get the ding-ding wav, as I always have, there must be SOME hope. I know there isn't a shred of logic in what I just said, but I'm hoping all the same. Hehe. When it's 200 GB of stuff, you turn to religion or whatever it takes.

    Ahem.

    Thanks, guys.

    Inky

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    jerang@

    Indeed it could be the USB drivers have been corrupted. The
    other way to have them restored is by deleting the
    usbstor.inf file then restarting the machine.
    Here's the blog post for instructions:
    http://tinyurl.com/66hnlf

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    Inky960

    I'll give this a shot.

    Inky.

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    Inky960

    ...it seems. I followed the URL and the procedure there had me delete a file called "infcache.1" in the C:\windows\inf director. That wasn't easy, but once (well, twice) I did that and still no dice with the Western Digital MyBook 320.

    Maybe it's time to pronounce it dead, though I hate to do that, when it still obviously spins away and makes the sound that Vista supplies for "found new hardware" - the little ding-ding wav file, so promising-sounding.

    But it just won't show up. The homemade drive, which was also being stubborn and not showing, is now showing! So I don't know what to do. It seems that if I could simply run a scandisk on this damned thing, all would straighten itself out and work like God intended it to work. Hey-ho. That's a lot of data down the drain.

    Thanks anyway, to all of you.

    Inky.

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    nepenthe0

    1) If there was a time when your computer was working OK and all USB devices were detected, then try booting into Safe Mode by tapping the F8 key during the early boot phase (POST = Power On Self Test). One of the options will be:

    Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)

    Select this with your keyboard arrow keys, then hit Enter.

    2) If this doesn't fix the glitch, perhaps there is a restore point further back in time that you can access via System Restore. If so, try it.

    3) You may need to repair the OS installation from the Vista DVD. As a precaution, back up your data first (to a USB flash drive, external hard drive, or CD).

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    Inky960

    I use Acronis True Image, and I actually took the whole shebang back a whole MONTH... and the problem isn't but two weeks old at the most. Still, though, no dice.

    It's the dangedest thing. I'm thinking you're right, that I might have to restore from scratch, but given what I did with Acronis, I don't see how that would necessarily help, either. I really don't think the drive is at fault, but I can't figure out what it could be.

    HP doesn't give you a Vista CD (no Mgf. does nowadays that I know of), and I don't own one.

    What a mess.

    Thanks for all the help.

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    Inky960

    Try it from this angle: Why won't the laptops shut down OR boot up, when this WD drive is plugged in?

    This in light of the fact that my desktop PC will boot up and shut down all day long with the same drive plugged in to it.

    Of course, when the desktop boots, there's no drive showing (now) in My Computer, or in the Disk Management part of Administrative Tools. But the desktop PC boots up and shuts down! Ieeeeeeeeeeeeek!

    XP Pro on the Desktop and on one of the laptops. Vista on the other laptop. Neither laptop will shut down or boot up with the drive attached.

    So, Sherlock? : )

    (If you're all just sick of this, I really do understand.)

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    nepenthe0

    You cannot have the external hard drive simultaneously connected to 2 computers. Each operating system will try for 100% control, and they will fight with each other. Perhaps this is what's happening?

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    Inky960

    I've been using only one OS at a tiem, one computer at a time. I know with all the mayhem of mangled descriptions, it could have sounded that way, but no. One drive to one PC.

    Thanks anyway!

    Inky

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    Jacky Howe

    but it looks like your Drive has gone to Hard Drive Heaven. If the PC locks up when trying to detect the Drive it has had it.

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    Inky960

    ...when it's true.

    And it probably is true, bad as I hate to admit it. I can't figure why, though, my desktop boots and shuts down just fine with the "bad" drive attached. XP Pro there, same as one of the "stubborn" laptops.

    Jeez.

    But I'm throwing in the towel. I might do a fresh FRL of the Vista laptop and see what happens, but not right now.

    Thanks for all your help, guys. :)

    Inky

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    OH Smeg

    The drive is ripping too much power out of their systems to allow them to work correctly.

    There is a Low Voltage Condition on either the 5 or 3 CV DC Rails and possibly both. The 5 VDC Rail should feed the RAM and the 3 VDC feeds the CPU so if power on one of these lines goes low the system stops working correctly. Hence the inability to shut down or start up.

    There may also be a Electronic Failure in the Interface between the HDD and the USB Lead which is stopping the drive from working. What happens when you plug this in is that Vista sees some of the electronics in the Interface and then gives a audible & visual warning then waits for the electronics of the drive to identify itself. Windows then loads the correct Driver to allow you to access the Drive.

    If there is no communication from the Electronics on the HDD itself the procedure falls over in a heap and there is nothing identified in either the Device Manager or the Drive Manager. If the HDD itself has a problem it will come up as either a Blank Drive or a RAW Partition.

    So all that may be involved here is to pull the enclosure apart and fit the HDD inside the WD Enclosure to a Standard USB Enclosure or a Desktop Computer and it may be quite readable. It may just be the Interface Board with a blown component on it.

    Col

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    Inky960

    Oh yeah, I'd love to rip that sucker apart and see whether I could save the data that's on it. I'm losing a lot of stuff I won't get back, and if it wouldn't void the warranty (I found the purchase info - hurrah!) I'd do just that. I'd dig into it with pliers and butter knives and ice picks--get my stuff back!

    But it's $129 worth of drive, and to get a new one from WD is good enough consolation for having lost some stuff, I guess.

    About your suggestion earlier to use the WD Lifeguard diagnostics, I have all that stuff, but right now the disk won't boot on ANY PC, none, zip, nada.

    Your information is amazing, Smeg.

    Happy trails...

    Inky

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    nepenthe0

    Seagate Seatools:

    http://tinyurl.com/yvq99t

    Download the iso file and create a bootable CD using the free utility CDBurnerXP:

    http://cdburnerxp.se/

    Also, check out the nifty Coolmax USB adapter:

    http://tinyurl.com/4an8u9

    This was favorably reviewed here at TR:

    http://tinyurl.com/6qdmhg

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    Inky960

    As I told Smeg above, the dirve won't even show, NOW, in any of my PCs. So diagnostics aren't gonna help much.

    When I said earlier that my desktop will boot and shut down with the drive attached, I didn't mean to imply that the drive showed as a drive in My Computer, or anywhere else. It isn't recognized at all.

    I think the thing is just officially dead.


    Inky

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    nepenthe0

    http://tinyurl.com/4bxdz6

    It's available through TigerDirect.com:

    http://tinyurl.com/4an8u9

    Just plug the sick hard drive into the Coolmax adapter, connect the USB cable to a functional computer, and run diagnostics on the unhealthy drive.

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    Inky960

    I didn't know there was such a thing. I have until July 31st to get the
    "dead" drive to Irvine, CA, where Western Digital lives, so I might have time to experiment with this. I'll let you know if I do. I'll jump over there right now (I'm working from a live Linux CD, so I might reboot into Windows [credit card info stored there] and THEN go to Tiger Direct.)

    Thanks again.


    Inky

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    Inky960

    Well, it appears that I can't test the WD "MyBook" with the CoolMax tool, because I can't get to the IDE drive inside the plastic enclosure. The drive it 100% unservicable. Just no way, other than busting it to pieces with a hammer (and that thought has its appeal) that one could get the drive out of its black platic housing. Crap.

    Inky

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    Inky960

    no cigar. It's a newer model than this, I think. The model I have has NO visible "holes" that might be screw heads, painted black. I used my fingernails to pry the case away from the center unit, and it WILL pull away a bit. This leads me to think it *might* snap apart, then back together. But I'm afraid of breaking it, which would invalidate the warranty for sure. I'd really like to get at that data though!

    Out of options again.

    Inky

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    Inky960

    Yep, more like it, but still not exactly. Mine doesn't have the firewire ports, and the WD logo is smaller and down in one corner, not centered and large. Opening it might be the same, however.

    Remember though - I'm more interested in NOT voiding my warranty. Having the cake and eating it too would be ideal, but I don't know how to do that. And the UPS guy is supposed to be here this evening to grab the drive and take it west, young man.

    But damn, I'd like to have all that data back.

    Inky

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    Jacky Howe

    you can't always have your cake and be able to eat it.

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    nepenthe0

    Where do you find this stuff? I copied the link and pasted every page into MS Word for later formatting and .pdf conversion.

    Another thanks to True Blue for absolutely brilliant advice!

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    nepenthe0

    Inky - I reformatted the material in True Blue's post:

    http://tinyurl.com/ytzsc9

    It's a 1MB .pdf file which you might like to have. If so, send me a peer mail with your e-mail address and I'll attached the .pdf compilation with my reply.

    Rick/Portland, OR

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    Inky960

    This is going off-topic, but just to say, I'd like to have one of these CoolMax things. I bought another brand just a month ago and it literally fell apart in my hands and I've been soured to the idea ever since. But if this was favorably reviewed here at TR, maybe I should buy one.

    Also, I compliment your resourcefulness. How DO you find all this stuff? You and True Blue must have a secret you aren't sharing with the rest of us. ; )

    BTW: the adapter I bought cost MORE than the CoolMax. From NewEgg, no less.

    Inky

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    nepenthe0

    Whether you're aware of it or not, your experience troubleshooting this hard drive is just the kind of stuff that will make you an expert on the subject.

    One day, you will see another Inky960 posting a query on the same subject, or very similar, and you will provide the solution, because you will know the answer.

    Rick/Portland, OR