External hard drive no longer recognised by Vista

By roger ·

I have a Philips 250 GB external hard drive (SPD5110CC) which has been working fine, until yesterday morning, when connected to a PC running Vista Home Premium SP1.

Now, when it is plugged in, it is not recognised by the PC and it causes Windows Explorer to hang( error message: Not Responding) and the computer to freeze. Unplugging the USB connection to the HD immediately restores the functionality of Windows.

The external HD still works without any problems on another PC running XP Home SP3 so it doesn't appear to be a mechanical fault with the HD.

I've also tried three different USB sockets on my Vista PC but it makes no difference. Furthermore, another external HD is continuing to function normally on my Vista PC.

A system restore has not solved the problem. Neither has deleting the INFCACHE.1 file from the Windows folder which others have suggested can become corrupted.

The Philips external HD is recognised for a few seconds on Device Manager (until the system hangs) but uninstalling and reinstalling it from the Device Manager has not sorted out the problem either.

The Philips drive didn't come with any dedicated drivers and up until yesterday has worked faultlessly under both Vista and XP.

I would appreciate any thoughts on what might be wrong.

Thanks, Roger

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All Answers

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Firstly forget about messing with the Computer Software here

by OH Smeg In reply to External hard drive no lo ...

This is an Electrical Problem not a Software problem.

Since this is a 3.5 Inch HDD it has it's own Power Pack so check that where you are plugging it in on this computer is actually working and that it is plugged in correctly. If there is no 12 V DC available to this case the drive will not work and will pull the 5 V DC Rail of the computer low causing it to freeze. The 5 V Rail is what the USB Port supplies from when you plug in a umpowered USB Device like a Thumb Drive.

If the Power Pack is correctly plugged in and has power then your only alternative here is to replace the USB Lead or look inside the USB Sockets that you are attempting to plug into there could be something in them but I would be looking at no power to the USB Enclosure from the external Plug Pack.


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Thanks Col, this makes sense ...

by roger In reply to Firstly forget about mess ...

Thanks Col,

What you say makes sense. I've tried different USB cables and different USB sockets but without solving the problem.

I can't see anything obviously wrong with the power supply but it is possible that it has stopped supplying the 12 volts or else there is a fault inside the HD.

However, as I mentioned, the external HD still works with my other computer, which is a laptop. Is it possible that it can draw enough power from the laptop to function without external power?

I'll probably cut my losses and buy another external HD.

Thanks, Roger

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NO USB Ports only supply 5 V DC

by OH Smeg In reply to Thanks Col, this makes se ...

A 3.5 Inch Drive requires both the % V DC for the Logic Circuits and 12 V DC for the Motor and associated hardware.

If this is working on a different computer but still plugged into the same power point I'm at a loss as it would have to be the USB Ports on the Computer no longer working. However if it is working on a different Power Point it could be either not fully plugged into the Socket/Power Strip or it could just be a bad socket on the Power Strip.


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Try reconnecting back to your

by Jacky Howe In reply to External hard drive no lo ...

PC running XP Home SP3 and turn off system restore on the drive. It is a long shot.

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I don't think that system restore is turned on for

by roger In reply to Try reconnecting back to ...

the external HD (and there doesn't seem to be an option to turn it on). However, wouldn't any system restore information be stored on the internal hard drive on the XP laptop - in which case it wouldn't make any difference to how the external HD behaved when plugged into my Vista machine.

Or perhaps I've misunderstood how system restore works?

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A lot of the time it is written to the external hard drive

by Jacky Howe In reply to I don't think that system ...

click Start | Settings | Control Panel and double-click the System icon. Select the System Restore tab and check to see if the external drive is listed. Select the drive and then select Settings to turn it off.

If that doesn't work backup all of the data on the drive and format it.

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External hard drive

by Kenogami In reply to External hard drive no lo ...

When you plug in your external hard drive, do you do it before the computer is turned on or after? If it's like my external hard drive and it is still on when my computer is turned on the computer will hang up and not fully start. I just leave my hard drive turned off and wait for the computer too fully start and then turn on the hard drive. Do have any other problems with your USB ports finding equipment that you plug in? If not then there is no problem with the USB ports. Try installing the drivers again for the hard drive. Vista does stupid things sometimes, I refuse to even look at computers with Vista installed, but I do have friends that I have to help. Go back to Xp and install it if you have the disk. Turn off updates and just use them from your other computer.

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Problem appears to have been solved!

by roger In reply to External hard drive no lo ...

Thanks everyone for your help - it is much appreciated. In the end I took up Jacky's drastic suggestion of re-formatting the external hard drive.

That has done the trick and the drive is now recognised by my PC and readable/writable by Vista.

It will be interesting to see whether the problem reoccurs at some point or whether it was a one-off. I'll make sure I always have an XP machine available to dig me out of the hole if it does happen again!

Cheers, Roger

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External HdDrive

by CisfRjsii In reply to Problem appears to have b ...

Roger... Please don`t put vauluable Info or Data on that hardDrive as you have a bad spot somewhere on the drive.

It may be visable as to how much, if you use Partition commander or likewise to examine the Drive. Find a New or Good replacement drive as you are eventually going to have a Failure on the drive.

It may be re-formattable for a few times and recover, But in the end you will Install another Drive into your case.

My Experience has been to re-format only to have the problem Return on my External 250 GB Drive. An Examination with Partition commander actually showed the corruption at the end of the Drive. It`s Been reformatted and looked good for at least three times. Finally I moved up to Installing a 500 GB into the existing case

Your machine will freeze when any Hardrive stalls

Test it for a while if you like, But at the minimal cost of larger drives, mine now has been replaced and the 250 GB sits on a shelf awaiting a sludge hammer before the trash container sees it.

Note: At 250 GB`s it takes some time before failure and you will have an extreemly lengthy time moving data.

On the other hand, however risky it may be, you may continue and hope for the best and or take other suggestions herein ...


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Thanks Ziggy, I'll bear that in mind.

by roger In reply to External HdDrive

I use the external HD for back-up but it's not my only back-up system because I'm a believer in the belt and braces approach.

While I can't rule out that there was a hardware problem on the external HD, it's puzzling that it was always accessible using XP but never with Vista.

I would have thought that a bad spot on the drive would have created problems with both OSs so I felt the problem was somehow linked to Vista.

Cheers, Roger

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